Posts Tagged ‘tolerance’



The duty of a musician is for us to take anything that happens on stage and make it part of the music.

—Herbie Hancock, Master Class



No wrong notes in jazz, said the musician

and the poet insisted, no wrong words.

No wrong leaf, said the tree,

and field said, no wrong grass.

No wrong time, promised the friend

and the river said, no wrong rock.

And the heart said, no wrong love,

but the mind said, no, that’s wrong.

And the wrong love replanted itself like grass

and grew wild in all the wrong places

like a gorgeous weed, like a tap-rooted song

until the whole field was beautifully wrong, wrong.


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And here they are, the wild violets.

How they leap into gardens uninvited,

their tiny purple faces unapologetic, open.

How they thrive amidst the other plants

chosen by the gardener. They do not mind

not being the chosen ones. They thrive.

Tenacity can be so small, so beautiful.


I may not be a powerful woman,

but I have some wild violet in me,

some willingness to insist on renegade beauty,

some desire to be soft and yet persist,

some certainty that the garden

is big enough for us all.

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Over time, the body,

when bitten enough,

can build up a tolerance

to mosquito bites

so that they no longer itch.


Then—though you might

be bitten a hundred times

on each arm

and again on each leg—

you won’t be bothered.


This comes to mind

when you walk in the store

and see by chance the person

whose words and glares have bitten you

ten thousand times before.


Shit. You forgot your long sleeves.

But this time, when you leave

the coffee aisle where you’ve both

been perusing the dark roast,

you notice nothing.


Nothing at all. No rise.

No ire. No welt. No itch.

No need to swat. No need to scratch.

Nothing at all. And you laugh

and wonder if the laugh is disguising


a pain response, but no,

you’re just laughing

because you’re proof that sometimes

after having been bitten enough

a tolerance comes—


and it doesn’t happen often,

but it happens. Call it grace.

Call it luck. Call it paying your dues.

Whatever it is, it feels so good

you may never cover up again.



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