You're my favorite thing

What do I mean by "the poetry and music of life?"

 I've always viewed poetry and music as real-life miracles because of the feelings, the visions and dreams they inspired, the way they keep me moving in the right direction, and they help define "right" as well. 

“Aha!” moments, we are offered so much in life. I collect as many of these as I can.

As a journalist, I make it my mission to share other people's "Aha!" moments, at least as much as my own and I try to find people who also recognize the importance of such experiences: philosophers, artists, scientists, musicians, comedians, poets, be they well-known celebrities, like Bill Cosby or Steve Martin or the people I encounter in my everyday life.    

From my little place in the world, I’ve been able to pick the brains of people I idolized as a kid: Daryl Hall and John Oates, Pete Seeger, Roseanne Cash, Huey Lewis, Richie Havens,  Aimee Mann, Wynton Marsalis, and Al Green are a few of the musicians.

Jane Hirshfield, Coleman Barks, Dara Wier, Charles Simic and Cole Swensen are a few of the poets.

And as time went on, I collected insights from my contemporaries as well, like poets Matt Rohrer, Joshua Beckman and Sarah Manguso, as well as younger musicians like Silversun Pickups, David Wax Museum and Josh Ritter.     

Whenever I get the chance, I document palpable magic. But I am not talking about esoteric, special knowledge. I am documenting choices that we can all make, from wherever we are in our own lives!

Never Again The Same

Speaking of sunsets,
last night's was shocking.
I mean, sunsets aren't supposed to frighten you, are they?
Well, this one was terrifying.
People were screaming in the streets.
Sure, it was beautiful, but far too beautiful.
It wasn't natural.
One climax followed another and then another
until your knees went weak
and you couldn't breathe.
The colors were definitely not of this world,
peaches dripping opium,
pandemonium of tangerines,
inferno of irises,
Plutonian emeralds,
all swirling and churning, swabbing,
like it was playing with us,
like we were nothing,
as if our whole lives were a preparation for this,
this for which nothing could have prepared us
and for which we could not have been less prepared.
The mockery of it all stung us bitterly.
And when it was finally over
we whimpered and cried and howled.
And then the streetlights came on as always
and we looked into one another's eyes?
ancient caves with still pools
and those little transparent fish
who have never seen even one ray of light.
And the calm that returned to us
was not even our own. 

James Tate

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