• Route: Ozarks
  • Ride Year: 2021
  • Hometown: Denton, Tx

About: Hello my name is Riley! I’m a third year business honors student from Denton. Here’s some condensed info about me.

Aliases: Kenneth Karma, Doctor Slowdown

Likes: yoga, meditation, Austin, Denton, Doja Cat, Wheatsville, Chinatown Market, Extra Vitamins, Walt Whitman, The Tejas Club, Life Savers Gummies, Alan Watts, Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, Medieval Times, Willie Nelson, Jackson Twyman, my dog, my family, my friends, Positivity, Good Will Hunting, things that are pickled that are NOT pickles, Outkast, Glass Animals, A Knight’s Tale, and you :)

Dislikes: meanness, pickles, those who attempt to ruin all my fun with a loudly serious disposition

Spotify Profile:

Goal in Life: To write poetry that will touch the world far after I'm gone

Why I Ride

I ride for my grandfather, who gave me my middle name (my favorite of my three names). I never got to meet him, but he shines through all of the people who did. I hope one day the people that I leave behind will talk about me half as brightly as my family talks about Papa Loyd.

I ride for Saylor Snowden, a close family friend, who is bravely fighting the fight and John, Hunter, and Barb.

I ride for Aunt Virginia, Aunt Joy, Uncle Ronnye, and Uncle Bill.

I ride for Charlie Vinson, David Matlock, and Mason, brothers lost in the fight. YiT

I ride for my friend Brandon Lively. Brandon and I met in elementary school, and we became close friends over Xbox Live in middle school. My middle school split each grade into two cohorts, and unluckily Brandon and most of my close friends from elementary school ended up in the opposite cohort as me. But, Xbox Live was this incredible service, and every day we would play zombies, search and destroy, worms, and assassin’s creed together. Brandon struck me as someone who was alive and awake. Next to him, the rest of us were asleep, zombies walking through a grey world. He was brash and loud and energetic in a way most people simply can’t be. Brandon was one of the funniest people I ever met. We used to tease him for the way he ran and pronounced “Michael Jackson.”

When that friend group was finally made whole again at our high school, Brandon started missing a lot of days of class. We learned he had been diagnosed a brain tumor, and all of us were too young, self-centered, and naïve to comprehend the gravity of what we were told. When he was in school, he was as loud and funny as ever, but he would wear a beanie even in the hottest months and he never looked like he was getting enough sleep. None of us, especially me, knew how to talk about any of these issues. Our usual boundary-less joke-making found a wall we couldn’t jest around, let alone talk seriously about.

Sophomore and junior year, he was almost entirely absent. One day we went to visit him. Some people had been over the night before and remarked at his chipper lucidity. But the next day was different. The house was somber. Brandon’s mom told us that he would be dying that night. He had taken a turn for the worst in the last 24 hours, and this would be the last time we would ever see him. He wasn’t lucid when we went inside. He was in a fetal position and the physical effects of the disease were never more apparent. He didn’t look like the energetic young man I loved and admired for his courage and outspokenness. He looked tired. All around him were Marvel decorations from the Make-a-Wish foundation, but in the context they looked depressing and foreboding. We decided to stay with him the whole night. His parents seemed happy for the company despite the many family members already there. We introduced ourselves to many aunts and uncles who all wore the same tired expression. It was the first time in my life I felt like I was truly in an “adult” room. We stayed up and told stories about Brandon to each other possibly because we couldn’t think of anything else to do in this situation. But when he passed around somewhere between 2 and 4 am on a Friday, I think we had all dozed off a little. We woke up to his dad over his body crying. We said our goodbyes and left Brandon with his family behind a curtain hiding the living room. When his mother and her mother came into the dining room, they were distraught. We sat on a couch still ringing with the thought that our friend died, that we could all die at any moment. And, his mother began, for lack of a better term, venting. I in no way blame her, but the things she said were dreadful. I can’t remember many of them, possibly because of the trauma or possibly because I don’t want to. Her daughter, Brandon’s sister, was a few feet away, and I remember thinking that she shouldn’t be hearing any of this. Brandon’s dad was in the garage coping alone. Cancer is an awful disease. What it did to that family is beyond understanding or processing.

I ride for you and for all the stories of cancer, life, and love that have or will be shared with me.

I like quotes, music, and poems so I think I will leave some here as they find and change me (until I find the word limit on this page). And, I hope you don't find these random or off-putting. To me, they speak to why I ride and why I live and what I value:

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect" - Kurt Vonnegut

"Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead." - Charles Bukowski

"Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I'm not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you've felt that way." - Charles Bukowski

"The more one studies attempted solutions to problems in politics and economics, in art, philosophy, and religion, the more one has the impression of extremely gifted people wearing out their ingenuity at the impossible and futile task of trying to get the water of life into neat and permanent packages." - Alan Watts

"If we thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at that end, and the thing was to get to that thing at that end. Success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played." - Alan Watts

Sometimes with one I love I fill myself with rage for fear I effuse unreturn’d love,
But now I think there is no unreturn’d love, the pay is certain one way or another
(I loved a certain person ardently and my love was not return’d,
Yet out of that I have written these songs).
- Sometimes With One I Love, by Walt Whitman

Youth, large, lusty, loving—youth full of grace, force, fascination,
Do you know that Old Age may come after you with equal grace,
force, fascination?

Day full-blown and splendid—day of the immense sun, action,
ambition, laughter,
The Night follows close with millions of suns, and sleep and
restoring darkness.
- YOUTH, DAY, OLD AGE AND NIGHT. by Walt Whitman

“But even if your bread straight
Big house, nice car, gotta keep your head straight
People that be gossipin' constantly only dead weight
Wiser assessments of situations will carry you to your best days
Put away a portion of your profit when you get paid
And do not be afraid of change
It could be a segue
To a better something
But have patience
And always make time for family and celebration
And every good thing in life requires dedication
Like career, wife, kids, and it's spiritual
The point of our existence isn't physical
Make sure there is love in your livin' room
And make sure that you there for the ones that you give it to
And grudges'll do you no good
Life is too short to be stressin'
Love your friends for who they are
If they there when you're down
Then you should keep 'em around
And then return that favor tenfold
Everything you hidin' will be exposed
So you should probably keep it a thousand youngin' and let go
Embrace humiliation it's humblin'
And take every situation for what it is
Love is free so don't be possessive
Love is a combination of lettin' go and holdin' tight
You'll learn when to do which
And get more love than you know what to do with
And you gon' make mistakes 'cause homie you only human” - Kota The Friend

Roaming in thought over the Universe, I saw the little that is
Good steadily hastening towards immortality,
And the vast all that is call'd Evil I saw hastening to merge itself
and become lost and dead.
- Roaming In Thought by Walt Whitman

“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” - Kurt Vonnegut

“Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold.” -Shakespeare

"A materialist is someone obsessed with utensils and afraid of perfume"

“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.” – Alan Watts

"If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery--isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you'll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is." - Charles Bukowski

"Shell-shattering ideals left us blinking kneedeep in the cracked crust of our pie-in-the-sky personalities. Suddenly we were before one another and behold: we were beautiful. Naked and helpless and sensitive as a snake after skinning, but far more human than that shining knightmare that had stood creaking in previous parade rest. We were alive and life was us." - Ken Kesey

"The yoga of a man driven to the cliff edge by the grassfire of an entire nation's burning material madness. Rather than be consumed by this he jumped, choosing to sort things out in the fast-flying but smogfree moments of a life with no repeat." - Ken Kesey

“Unity is cool, uniformity is missing the whole point” - Earthgang

“You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.” – Alan Watts

“It was a movie about American bombers in World War II and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this: American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation.
The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers , and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans though and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new.
When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again.” - Kurt Vonnegut

"We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing." - Charles Bukowski

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater." - J.R.R. Tolkien

“Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.” - Alan Watts

“He needed that little extra hug you can only get from strangers”

"Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the Gods made for fun" - Alan Watts

“No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now. I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” – Alan Watts

“I live in a queendom, ruled by a womb-iverse,” - Erykah Badu

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” - Robin Williams

“No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” - Mary Shelley

“The whole series of my life appeared to me as a dream; I sometimes doubted if indeed it were all true, for it never presented itself to my mind with the force of reality.” - Mary Shelley

"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." - J.R.R. Tolkien

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - J.R.R. Tolkien

“Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.” - Mark Twain

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." - J.R.R. Tolkien

PIPPIN: I didn't think it would end this way.
GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.
PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?
GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.
PIPPIN: Well, that isn't so bad.
GANDALF: No. No, it isn't.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." - Maya Angelou

"We can't plan life. All we can do is be available for it." - Lauryn Hill

“The answer is never the answer. What's really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you'll always be seeking. I've never seen anybody really find the answer. They think they have, so they stop thinking. But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer.” - Ken Kesey

“We'd just shared the last beer and slung the empty can out the window at a stop sign and were just waiting back to get the feel of the day, swimming in that kind of tasty drowsiness that comes over you after a day of going hard at something you enjoy doing -- half sunburned and half drunk and keeping awake only because you wanted to savor the taste as long as you could.” - Ken Kesey, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

“But he won’t let the pain blot out the humor no more’n he’ll let the humor blot out the pain.” - Ken Kesey

“People think love is an emotion. Love is good sense.” - Ken Kesey

“I'd take a look at my own self in the mirror and wonder how it was possible that anybody could manage such an enormous thing as being what he was.” - Ken Kesey

“Because he knows you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy.” - Ken Kesey

“If this glorious birth to death hassle is the only hassle we are ever to have ..if our grand exhilarating fight of life is such a tragically short little scrap anyway,compared to the eons of rounds before and after-then why should one want to relinquish even a few precious seconds of it?” - Ken Kesey

“Truth doesn't run on time like a commuter train, though time may run on truth. And the Scenes Gone By and the Scenes to Come flow blending together in the sea-green deep while Now spreads in circles on the surface.” - Ken Kesey

"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance." - Alan Watts

"Never pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command." - Alan Watts

"One is a great deal less anxious if one feels perfectly free to be anxious" - Alan Watts

“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.” - Mark Twain

"But I'll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you'll come to understand that you're connected with everything." - Alan Watts

“After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her.” - Mark Twain

"Quit, don't quit. Noodles, don't noodles." - Master Oogway

"Resist much, obey little" - Walt Whitman

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.” - Mark Twain

"What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life." - Walt Whitman

"This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body" - Walt Whitman

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large -- I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman

“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” - Mark Twain

"We were together. I forget the rest." - Walt Whitman

"Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour." - Walt Whitman

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” - Mark Twain

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” - Mark Twain

"I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world." - Walt Whitman

"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. So medicine, law, business, engineering... these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love... these are what we stay alive for." - Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.” -Mark Twain

O Me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.
- Walt Whitman

"It’s fall coming, I kept thinking, fall coming; just like that was the strangest thing ever happened. Fall. Right outside here it was spring a while back, then it was summer, and now it’s fall—that’s sure a curious idea." - Ken Kesey

"You’ve got to say ‘yes’ to your destiny. Life’s happening right now, look around you. There goes some life. Come on, Mamma, live!” – Dave Chappelle

"The person who was holding me back from my happiness was me." - Keanu Reeves

"The woods are lovely dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep." -Robert Frost

"The course of true love never did run smooth" - Shakespeare

"Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy." - Saadi

“Sometimes fear does not subside and you must do it afraid.” - Elisabeth Elliot

“Don't fight your demons. Your demons are here to teach you lessons. Sit down with your demons and have a drink and a chat and learn their names and talk about the burns on their fingers and scratches on their ankles. Some of them are very nice.” - Charles Bukowski

“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.” -Captain Jean-Luc Picard

"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." -Marcus Aurelius

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” - Mark Twain

"But who prays for Satan? Who in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most, our one fellow and brother who most needed a friend yet had not a single one, the one sinner among us all who had the highest and clearest right to every Christian's daily and nightly prayers, for the plain and unassailable reason that his was the first and greatest need, he being among sinners the supremest?" - Mark Twain

“It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.” - Mark Twain

“There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy.” - Mark Twain

“When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.” - Mark Twain

“If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it.” - Mark Twain

"Blessed is the who quickens those who have forgotten how to live"
- Ronen Melloul, a brother of mine, sent me these words from the Torah.

“I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate wilfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.”
― Robert Frost

“And were an epitaph to be my story I'd have a short one ready for my own. I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover's quarrel with the world.”
― Robert Frost

"We pray for the winds to disperse the chocking air of sadness,
for cleansing rains to make parched hopes flower,
and to give all of us the strength to rise up to the sun.

We pray for love to encompass us
for no other reason save that we are human,
For love through which we may all blossom into persons
Who have gained power over our own lives

We pray to stand up, we fallen;
To be healed, we suferers;
We pray to break the bonds that keep us from the world of beauty;
We pray for opened eyes,
We who are blind to our own authentic selves.

We pray that we may walk in the garden of a purposeful life,
Our own powers in touch with the power of the world."
-from The Torah (not to misrepresent myself, I am not personally jewish, but these words are beautiful and inspiring for us all)

So often it has been displayed to us, the hourglass
with its grains of sand drifting down,
not as an object in our world
but as a sign, a symbol, our lives
drifting down grain by grain,
sifting away — I'm sure everyone must
see this emblem somewhere in the mind.
Yet not only our lives drift down. The stuff
of ego with which we began, the mass
in the upper chamber, filters away
as love accumulates below. Now
I am almost entirely love. I have been
to the banker, the broker, those strange
people, to talk about unit trusts,
annuities, CDs, IRAs, trying
to leave you whatever I can after
I die. I've made my will, written
you a long letter of instructions.
I think about this continually.
What will you do? How
will you live? You can't go back
to cocktail waitressing in the casino.
And your poetry? It will bring you
at best a pittance in our civilization,
a widow's mite, as mine has
for forty-five years. Which is why
I leave you so little. Brokers?
Unit trusts? I'm no financier doing
the world's great business. And the sands
in the upper glass grow few. Can I leave
you the vale of ten thousand trilliums
where we buried our good cat Pokey
across the lane to the quarry?
Maybe the tulips I planted under
the lilac tree? Or our red-bellied
woodpeckers who have given us so
much pleasure, and the rabbits
and the deer? And kisses? And
love-makings? All our embracings?
I know millions of these will be still
unspent when the last grain of sand
falls with its whisper, its inconsequence,
on the mountain of my love below.
- Hayden Carruth
(this poem was given kindly to me by David)

"Change is the essential process of all existence." - Spock

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o’ the great;
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The scepter, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;
And renownèd be thy grave!
- William Shakespeare

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!"" - Hunter S. Thompson

"Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously." - Hunter S. Thompson

“No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride...and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well...maybe chalk it up to forced consciousness expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.” - Hunter S. Thompson

“Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives... and to the "good life", whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.” - Hunter S. Thompson

“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.” - Hunter S. Thompson

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” - Harper Lee

“The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience” - Harper Lee

“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” - Bob Dylan

“Take it that you have died today, and your life’s story is ended; and henceforward regard what further time may be given you as an uncovenanted surplus.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” – Marcus Aurelius

“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can't tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own - not of the same blood and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are unnatural.” – Marcus Aurelius

“When another blames you or hates you, or people voice similar criticisms, go to their souls, penetrate inside and see what sort of people they are. You will realize that there is no need to be racked with anxiety that they should hold any particular opinion about you.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good” – Marcus Aurelius

“You are a little soul carrying about a corpse” – Marcus Aurelius

The 18th century bawd who sells her daughter’s virginity
to an Earl. The tired CIA operative who says, “just do it,”
then half a village dies. The plantation owner’s wife.
The lonely CEO of the pharmaceutical company
who screams like a banshee when an employee’s baby
pukes milk on her pantsuit. The detective who clicks
her Zippo underneath the incriminating photo of her boss.
The “complex” one who lets her servant girl be whipped.
Who dumps the radioactive material in the reservoir.
Who is given a chance to apologize to a crying friend
and instead pauses and says, “fuck off.” Who is unable
to report her violent husband before he murders someone.
Unable to stop the drone pilot from pressing the button.
Scared of losing her promotion. Covers her ears. Utters
lines like “I believe you are mistaken, my dear” and
“This is above your pay-grade, kid, keep your nose out.”
Who says, “Fine! Fucking fine!” when the partner who
loves her but can’t live like this anymore says, “I love you
but I can’t live like this anymore.” Who thinks the truth
would spoil everything. Who burns the crucial letter.
Whose cleavage is angry and heaving. Who drinks
miniature vodkas in the hotel bath and nearly drowns.
Who wears her new husband’s dead ex-wife’s earrings
to the christening. Who can’t forgive her stepson
for existing. Who lets the suicide call go to voicemail.
Who walks to the AA meeting, is met at the church gate
by the greeter who says, “welcome” to which she replies,
“fuck you, creep” and keeps on walking. Who is sick
in the sink. Who suddenly feels the weight of her actions.
Who hyperventilates into a paper bag. Who splashes water
on her face in a public bathroom, glares at the mirror
and says, “Wise up.” Who knows her narrative arc is peaking,
knows there’s goodness in her somewhere, the viewers
have glimpsed it in close-ups and now they’re halfway
through the final episode and she’s got twenty-two minutes
to wrangle a denouement, fall on her dagger, hand over
the list, clear her spiritual debt in a single payment. Look
at her standing on your porch-step, holding out her heart
like an injured bird and begging you to ruin her.
- The Final Episode, By Caroline Bird

"Once upon a time in China, there was a farming family, and they were having dinner. The oldest son came in late, and they asked him, "why are you late for dinner?"

"Oh," he said, "I've been helping the wheat to grow."

They came out the next morning and all the wheat was dead. It turned out the son had pulled each stalk up a little bit, to help it grow.

The point is that growth always occurs in a being as it does a plant, and it is perfect at every step. No progress is involved in the transformation of an acorn into an oak, because the acorn is a perfect acorn, and the sapling is a perfect sapling, and the big oak is a perfect oak, which again produces perfect acorns. At every stage perfection is there, and it cannot be otherwise." - Alan Watts

when you break thru
you’ll find
a poet here
not quite what one would choose.

I won’t promise
you’ll never go hungry
or that you won’t be sad
on this gutted

but I can show you
enough to love
to break your heart
- Song for Baby-O, Unborn, BY Diane De Prima

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.   
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
- Phenomenal Woman, by Maya Angelou

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” - Douglas Adams

“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.” - Douglas Adams

“The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.” - Douglas Adams

“Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.” - Douglas Adams

“This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.” - Douglas Adams

“What to do if you find yourself stuck in a crack in the ground underneath a giant boulder you can't move, with no hope of rescue. Consider how lucky you are that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your current circumstances seems more likely, consider how lucky you are that it won't be troubling you much longer.” - Douglas Adams

“Don't you understand that we need to be childish in order to understand? Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn't developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don't expect to see.” - Douglas Adams

“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.” - Douglas Adams

“There's always a moment when you start to fall out of love, whether it's with a person or an idea or a cause, even if it's one you only narrate to yourself years after the event: a tiny thing, a wrong word, a false note, which means that things can never be quite the same again.” - Douglas Adams

Do you want to improve the world?
I don't think it can be done.

The world is sacred.
It can't be improved.
If you tamper with it, you'll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you'll ruin it.

There is a time for being ahead,
A time for being behind;
A time for being in motion,
A time for being at rest;
A time for being vigorous,
A time for being exhausted;
A time for being safe,
A time for being in danger.

The master sees things as they are,
Without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way,
And resides at the center of the circle.
- from my brother Ronen

do we not talk about it

every day: the ways
we were changed
by the gift
in someone’s touch—your body,
suddenly a bright instrument
played by an otherwise
silent divinity."
From a poem by Tim Seibles