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 My People
by Patti Smith

We have come to a time where it is necessary to put our toys aside. Our pleasure toys, our war toys, our benevolent toys. All may be put aside. And not paper nor script nor plume nor lens nor gun nor electric guitar. Everything aside. The rosary, the ark, all of our history, our needs, our aspirations. All aside for one thing. An ear to hear. A sound to utter.

We must lay aside the plow, the net, the schoolbook. Our loves our family, we must lay aside for a few precious moments. Where we are each none but ourselves possessing our own heart, our own mind and our own voice. Each of us a man alone, and hearing with that lone ear and crying out that lone cry. Each of us joined and rejoined by the other. The whole of humankind having no desire save the opportunity to participate in having a clean slate, an empty canvas, an unburdened sky.

Each of us accounting for ourselves, affirming that we have an individual voice, with no affiliation, nothing but to be one self just as every other, every other being. We will be unto ourselves one voice and in that measure be the measure of all. One voice of a people composed of millions of individual voices.

And what shall we utter?



Gloria Steinem
The truth will set you free.
But first, it will piss you off.
Marianne Williamson
A Return to Love
As quoted by Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inauguration
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the Glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
will be accepted on authority.
Only the evidence of the senses and the
call of his desires will be his authorities.
Chalres Simic
Errata (excerpted)
Remove all periods
They are scars made by words
I couldn't bring myself to say
William Shakespeare
O day and night,
but this is wondrous strange!
Sex and Lucía
Bullseye, butterfly.
Willem Dafoe
I aspire to get to a place where I am not dependent on external things to tell me how I feel—not to be chasing after stuff—to be deeply centered and deal with life with the same kind of grace and a certain kind of equanimity. Pain is something inevitable in life and suffering has to do with how your mind works; what your mind identifies with. If you can get the right perspective on things then you are free. And if you are free, then you can be generous; if you are generous, then you can make beautiful things.
Jean-Paul Sartre
The Words
What I like about my madness is that it has protected me from the very beginning against the charms of the ‘elite’: never have I thought that I was the happy possessor of a ‘talent’; my sole concern has been to save myself—nothing in my hands, nothing up my sleeve—by work and faith. As a result, my pure choice did not raise me above anyone. Without equipment, without tools, I set all of me to work in order to save all of me. If I relegate impossible Salvation to the proproom, what remains? A whole man, composed of all men and as good as all of them and no better than any. 
Jean Paul Sartre
The Words
When i took up a book, I could see that though I opened it and shut it twenty times, it did not deteriorate. Gliding over that incorruptible substance, the text, my gaze was merely a surface accident; it did not disturb anything, did not wear anything away. I, on the other hand, passive and ephemeral, was a dazzled mosquito, pierced by the rays of a beacon. I would put the light out and leave the study: invisible in the darkness, the book kept sparkling, for itself alone. I would give my works the violence of those corrosive flashes, and later, in ruined libraries, they would outlive man.
Norman Maclean
A River Runs Through It
One of life’s quiet excitements is to stand somewhat apart from yourself and watch yourself quietly becoming the author of something beautiful ... .
Joe Banks
Joe Versus the Volcano
I bribed them to sing a song that would drive us insane and make our hearts swell and burst.
Sam Shepard
More Urgent Emergencies
Neither of us could understand where the blood was coming from when all we were doing was kissing.
Walt Whitman
This is what you shall do
This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone 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.
Thomas Mann
...he walked along the gravel path, holding his arms in a careful, prim posture; and something in his gait suggested that it cost him an effort to walk slowly—the effort of a man intent upon concealing the fact that he is inwardly running away.
The eye—it cannot choose but see;
we cannot bid the ear be still;
our bodies feel, where’er they be,
against or with our will.
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters
The bride’s father’s uncle and I brought up the rear. Whether he had intuited that I was his friend or simply because I was the owner of a pad and pencil, he had rather more scrambled than gravitated to a walking position beside me. The very top of his beautiful silk hat didn’t quite come up as high as my shoulder. I set a comparitively slow gait for us, in deference to the length of his legs. At the end of a block or so, we were quite a good distance behind the others. I don't think it troubled either of us. Occasionaly, I remember, as we walked along, my friend and I looked up and down, respectively, at each other and exchanged idiotic expressions of pleasure at sharing one another’s company.
Seymour: An Introduction
I want your loot.
T.S. Eliot
Prufrock's overwhelming questions
Do I dare? Do I dare?
Do I dare disturb the universe?

And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?

To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball,
To roll it toward some overwhelming question.

Do I dare eat a peach?
Jack Kerouac
Big Sur
Go on die salt light
You billion yeared
rock knocker
Always happening, never happened.
David Sedaris
Barrel Fever
It is confusing when a stupid man plays dumb.
Fourteen seconds ago everything was fine. I was struck by how it was struck by my windshield, or birdshield as it was. I was struck by its brazen flight to its death. Ahh shit. Shit. Shit. A key. Another key in life’s mystery. If it hadn’t been for the glass, he could’ve flown into me.
Hans Christian Anderson
The Emperor’s New Clothes
“Am I stupid?” he thought. “I can’t believe it, but if it is so, it is best no one finds out about it. But maybe I am not fit for my office. No, that is worse, I’d better not admit that I can’t see what they are weaving.”
Tom Waits
Champagne for my real friends and real pain for my sham friends. 

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They bury their paws in the stones
and make for my heart as their home
Massive Attack
And I donít have no fear
Iíll take on any man here
Thatís the way it should be
Iíll stand in front of you
Take the force of the blow
Green Gloves
The National
Get inside their beds with my green gloves
Get inside their heads, love their loves
Cinderella through the room, I glide and swan
'cuz I'm the best slow dancer in the universe
Hard Times
Gillian Welch
C'mon you Ashville boys
turn up your old-time noise
Kick 'til the dust
comes up from the cracks in the floor
Purple Haze
Jimi Hendrix
Excuse me while I kiss the sky
We are stardust
Billion year-old carbon
We are golden
Caught in a devil's bargain
And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden
Love Is Won
Lia Ices
O you know I need yer mystic mind
For you are leading us towards the un-blind
We know that magic is a part of life
Love is won when we aren't bound by time
O love is won when we're bound and still feel free
Maybe Not
Cat Power
We all do what we can
So we can do just one more thing
We can all be free
Maybe not with words
Maybe not with a look
But with your mind
The Moon
Cat Power
The moon is not only beautiful
it is so far away.
The moon is not only ice cold
it is here to stay.
Nowhere Near
Yo La Tengo
All I know is when you smile
I believe in everything.
Lay, Lady, Lay
Bob Dylan
Whatever colors you have in your mind
I'll show them to you and you'll see them shine
Count Every Star
The Ravens
Count every star in the midnight sky
Count every rose, every firefly
Count every leaf on a willow tree
Count every wave, every wave on a stormy, stormy sea
You're the One that I Want
John Farrar
Meditate in my direction.
Cactus Tree
Joni Mitchell
There’s a man who sends her medals-He is bleeding from the war-There’s a jouster and a jester and a man who owns a store-There’s a drummer and a dreamer-And you know there may be more-She will love them when she sees them-They will lose her if they follow-And she only means to please them-And her heart is full and hollow-Like a catus tree-While she’s so busy being free.
L.E.S. Artistes
You don't know me
I am an introvert an excavator
I'm duckin' out for now
a face in dodgy elevators
Creep up and suddenly
I found myself an innovator
The Ship Song
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Come loose your dogs upon me
And let your hair hang down
You are a little mystery to me
Every time you come around
I'm In Touch With Your World
Ric Ocasek
You can tuck it on the inside
You can throw it on the floor
You can wave it on the outside
Like you never did before
You get the diplomatic treatment 
You get the force fed future 
You get the funk after death 
You get the wisenheimer brainstorm 
I'm in touch with your world
Galaxie 500
I don’t want to go to your parties
I don’t want to talk to your friends
I don’t want to vote for your president
I just want to be your tugboat captain 
North Dakota
Lyle Lovett
I drank myself some whiskey
And I dreamed I was a cowboy
And I rode across the border
To learn the ways of love 
Cynical Girl
Marshall Crenshaw
Well I hate TV
There’s got to be somebody other than me
Who’s ready to write it off immediately
I’m lookin’ for a cynical girl 
Invisible Sun
There has to be an invisible sun
It gives its heat to everyone 
Elvis Costello
Green Shirt
Who put these fingerprints
on my imagination? 
Good Fortune
PJ Harvey
Things I once thought unbelievable
in my life have all taken place
When we walked through Little Italy
I saw my reflection come right off your face
I paint pictures to remember
You’re too beautiful to put into words
I'm Always in Love
Jeff Tweedy
When I fold the cold
in my jet-lag palm
When I soak so long
I forget my mother
Tears Are In your Eyes
Yo La Tengo
Please tell me how 
you know tomorrow
by staring at your shoes
I Better Be Quiet Now
Elliott Smith
I had a dream as an army man
with an order just to march in my place
while a dead enemy screams in my face 
Shawn Colvin
It’s really hard to make your peace
So give me some credit for the hell I’ve paid
This world’s a blessing and a beast
Every day 
A Perfect Indian
Sinead O'Connor
he’s shy and he speaks quietly
he’s gentle and he seems to me
like the elf arrow
his face worn and harrowed
is he a daydreamer like me? 
Man in a Shed
Nick Drake
Well the story is not so very new
The man is me and this other guy is you
So leave your house and come into my shed
Please stop my world from raining through my head
Please don’t think I’m not your sort
You’ll find that sheds are nicer than you thought
Beautiful Mind
The Verve
Beautiful mind, or a beautiful body
I know which one I’m gonna end upon
You say you will but you never promised thoughts
You say I didn’t, I could, I’m sure I would if I knew that 
Try Whistling This
Neil Finn
and if i can’t be with you
i would rather have a different face
if i can’t be near you 
i would rather be adrift in space
if the gods desert us 
i will turn this chapel into flames
if someone tries to hurt you 
i would put myself in your place 
This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)
David Byrne
Out of all those kinds of people
You’ve got a face with a view
I’m just an animal—lookin’ for a home
to share the same space for a minute, or two
And you’ll love me till my heart stops
Love me till I’m dead
Eyes that light up, eyes that look through
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head 
She’s worried, she’s worried, she’s worried
She said too much
And talking, I’m talking, she’s talking
Like books I’ve read
It’s easy, it’s easy, it’s easy
to shut yourself off
Never on the record, it’ll never show up
She wants to be, to be anonymous
I sign, I sign, I sign anonymous
Feel safe inside, inside those well-drawn lines
Boyfriend, a car, a job, my white-girl life
Isn’t it a Pity
George Harrison
Some things take so long
But how do I explain
When not too many people 
Can see we’re all the same
And because of all their tears
Their eyes can't hope to see
The beauty that surrounds them
Isn’t it a pity
Isn’t it a shame
Fuzzy Wuzzy
Sexy, long sweater dresses
Chocolate, knee-high leather boots. 

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Riddle of the World
Alexander Pope
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan 
The proper study of Mankind is Man. 
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state, 
A Being darkly wise, and rudely great: 
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side, 
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride, 
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast; 
In doubt his mind and body to prefer; 
Born but to die, and reas’ning but to err; 
Whether he thinks too little, or too much; 
Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus'd; 
Still by himself, abus'd or disabus'd; 
Created half to rise and half to fall;
Great Lord of all things, yet a prey to all, 
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd; 
The glory, jest and riddle of the world.
Alexander Pope
Happy the man, whose wish and care 
A few paternal acres bound, 
Content to breathe his native air 
In his own ground.

Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire; 
Whose trees in summer yield shade, 
In winter, fire. 

Blest, who can unconcern’dly find 
Hours, days, and years, slide soft away
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day. 

Sound sleep by night; study and ease 
Together mixed; sweet recreation, 
And innocence, which most does please 
With meditation. 

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown; 
Thus unlamented let me die; 
Steal from the world, and not a stone 
Tell where I lie. 

since feeling is first
e.e. cummings
since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a far better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
—the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says

we are for eachother: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

somewhere i have never travelled
e.e. cummings
somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me 
though i have closed myself as fingers, 
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose 

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines 
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals 
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

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