Posts Tagged ‘happiness’




I wake up happy, as if the happiness

were already seeded before I woke.

As if all I have to do to love the day

is breathe. So I breathe. And love

meets me right where I am.

There are days we know we are lucky—

lucky just to wake. Perhaps it’s because

we have known dismal days when

just rising felt like strike three.

But today,I rise with happiness as present

as the dark before the dawn—not

because I deserve it, but because

it’s as natural as the milky way

spilled across the sky, as

normal as the night itself

stretched out like a blanket

to warm the sleeping world.

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And who could explain why tonight

a bowling alley opened up inside my heart

and an invisible hand kept sending the ball down


the lane and it was strike after strike after strike.

The gutters, so empty, decided to get up

and play, too, and we all drank a beer


and toasted to the way strange things happen.

Oddly enough, I was chopping carrots and kale

this whole time, and could not help myself


from feeling as if I should celebrate.

Outside, the tips of the mesas

were pink, fleeting, of course, but it left


an indelible stamp on me, and meanwhile,

as the yellow onions made me cry,

the sound of ten pins crashing down


came again and again

and again, and I just

couldn’t shake this feeling


that something wonderful was happening,

the scent of garlic filling the room, the sky

turning gray, turning black.




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Climbing higher

than you thought

you could

to the top

of something

you don’t understand

to leave a sacrifice

of more than

you thought

you could give,

it’s enough

to make you

wildly alive,


even happy.



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January 8, 2018




A hundred years ago today

Mississippi became the first state

to ratify the eighteenth amendment,

the prohibition of alcohol.

And as I sip my sake,

I toast them—

not because I think

they were right,

but because I have a glass

in my hand and the sake

is dry and cool, tastes

of plum and pear,

and I am in the mood

to drink to everyone,

to our health, to our bliss,

to our rights to our own opinions,

and to whatever it is in us

that makes us believe

that we might do something

to make the world

more wonderful,

misguided and lost

though we are.

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We begin with simple words.

Fat. Ugly. Good. Tall.

Gordo. Feo. Bueno. Alto.

How odd to break the world

into adjectives—

how human this longing

to describe a thing,

as if to explain it is to know it.

Easy. Big. Blonde.

Facil. Grande. Rubio.

I imagine a language

where instead of delineating

how different we are,

it had only shades of sameness.

Would we still find ways

to fight? To judge? To grade

and order and assess?

What if it were only ever a day—

not a good day, not a bad day,

just a day. And the woman—

not a fat woman, not a blonde woman,

just a woman—moved through that day

and met a man. Would they

be happier if they didn’t live

happily ever after, if they just lived,

their hearts not even knowing

you could fill in all that lovely silence

with adjectives and adverbs—

it would rain sometimes.

And the flowers would bloom.

Dinner would be served.

They would look in the mirror and smile.


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Because you didn’t show up in sequins,

your friend walks you into her closet

and pulls out the low-cut black and white number

with sequins and beadwork and scalloped sleeves.

Nothing to do then but say thank you

and slip into it, say yes to the wine

as it’s offered, say yes to the disco ball

and the surging beat, say yes to the night

and the happiness that catches you off guard.

You won’t be able to keep it, no, but

for a while it’s possible to be so content

you forget to ask for more.



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After the frost,

the sweet peas

rise from the dirt

like little green angels

with bowed heads

and tiny green wings—


it’s enough to make

a woman believe

small miracles can happen

if only she plants

the seed.

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There’s some stupidity in that,

Michael said as he paused from his work.

I had just been quoting a famous poet

who talked about being shamelessly happy,

and Michael, leaning on his broom

on a stoop of a store, said,

why not just be gloriously happy

or wonderfully happy,

and darned if that moment

the day didn’t shine brighter

as if all I had to do was ask for it.

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Big Escape



I thought if I made myself small enough

I could fit inside the box labeled happiness,

and I folded my dreams into neat little squares

and kept them on a shelf labeled later.

But life leaks.

Happiness knows no box.

And who is this woman unfolding the dreams,

wrapping them into blue turbans, green capes,

and magic carpets of every hue flying out of the box.

Where is she going?

Dang, she looks familiar.


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learning to choose rain—

not because I want rain

but because it’s raining

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