Wednesday, February 23

Longer --- So Thursday evening, upon escaping my last day of work for the week, I met up with Robbie. We went on a delicious escapade to a sports store to buy us some ping pong paddles! We frolicked and were quite joyous - and then we actually played ping pong! Later that night, we discovered the best sound for working out triceps (it's something like buoydeh buoydeh real fast, but it's difficult to transcribe...) We proceeded ot play a scrumptuous game of go, which went on for several hours.

Then... hahaha! Then! Then, we set off for our greatest adventure of the year (so far): Orion, Robbie and I left for Baltimore, where we picked up three more brilliant, warm souls, who accompanied us on our voyage to Stamford, CT, for the sixth yearly NEBY Fest!!! Oh, man, what a road trip! To our party were added the beautiful Adarsh (recently-declared Baha'i from India), Nina, and Ruth - all three Micah students. The latter we immediately named the Santa Maria, and Nikki, with whom we met up later, we named the Pinta! We had such a joyous time, the 6 of us. Santa Maria demanded my life-story, which I improvised for the riders, and then, each person in turn told her or his life-story, which provided splendid entertainment for most of the trip! (It was interrupted during the time we spent slaloming between steel train-track columns, terrifyingly gung ho vehicle, and positively oblivious pedestrians, within a small part of NYC.)

The two main reasons I had for attending NEBY Fest were (a) to see and meet Counsellor Stephen Birkland (there are two branches to the Baha'i administration: one is the democratically elected, which provides directives for communities, the other is composed of the "learned", including "counsellors", who are greatly deepened in the Baha'i Faith and are entrusted with the task of advising Baha'i institutions, communities and individuals - both branches sheltered under the wings of the Universal House of Justice), and (b) to expand my network of contacts - particularly performers and other artists. Both of these goals were exceeded: I had a dozen questions answered by Counsellor birkland's talk, I spoke with him personally and was infused with his regenerating energy, I met tons of people (artists and otherwise) and obtained contact information for several of them.

Many more wonderful things happened at this conference, making it altogether another addition to my collection of life-changing events. Highlights include live performances by Omnisoul and Vienna Teng, a talent show where Orion, Robbie and I each performed a poem, meeting up again with such wonderful souls as Omid, Sarah, Martin (who gave stupendous performances),Haley, Caity, Shin and Will, great dinners and lunches with different groups of friends, and even a bonus solitary time!

Of note also was my meeting with Nikki, an amazing friend I had met briefly in Baltimore, but who this time blew me away: her spontaneous, uninhibited, extravagant expressions of living exceed even mine. Never before had this central aspect of my personality been so fully reciprocated by a single individual. Hence, the two of us spent wonderful time dancing, singing, babbling, galavanting, etc. She ended up declaring her faith in Baha'u'llah on the second day of the conference, after investigating the Baha'i Faith for maybe nine months.

Over all, though, the majority of the experiences will never be told or relayed, as they continuously piled up in my mind, heart and soul, affecting the course of my life, and my perspective on existence. Perhaps many of these things... in fact, most likely many of these things will eventually be conveyed in the future performance projects I will undertake. - Speaking of which, NYU has been scratched from my list of possibilities, as my application was declined (it was a gamble from the start, as they only accept 40 students each year...)

Wednesday, February 16

Cancer --- Hey! where did my post from last week go?!?

I had a splendid dinner with my friend Anousheh Khalili tonight! Her new CD came out in December, so I got a few signed copies for myself and others, as well as a couple more for me to try and sell at NEBY Fest.
Yes! We're leaving for the NorthEastern Baha'i Festival on Friday, which should be a blast. Between Richmond and Baltimore, we're driving a good 10 or 11 people up to Connecticut! I'm very very very excited.

I went out clubbing this last weekend with Shawn and Rudy and his friend who was visiting from out of town. A couple of us are planning to go see Sasha up in NYU on April 1! That should be excellent. Plus Tori Amos might hold a concert in DC on April 6 (her CD comes out this coming Tuesday!).

Valentines Day turned out to be quite enjoyable! We had out "Sushi & Go" night, with a whole new set-up, and I got royally defeated. Plus I had most delightful phone conversations with three of the loves of my life!
Brie cheese works surprizingly well with other stuff on a sandwich, by the way.
Choir was awesome. I love the company. We're now working on a few songs, mostly for Ridvan (the commemoration of when Baha'u'llah publicly declared His Mission and Station).

On top of working out three times per week, Robbie and I have also picked up ping-pong again (a year-and-a-half wait since we were last able to play). The YMCA rocks.
Everyone's sick at work. It's a drag: the energy level is painfully low, but at least our new office space is nice, and I have my view (from several feet away) out the window onto the lake.

I've watched a couple of episodes of "Bleach", a recently-released Anime from Japan, which is fun, engaging, and deep, exploring among other things our relationship with the dead. Peter will be hooking me up with some more after my trip to CT.

What it is is what it is. Si six scies scient six cypres, six-cent-six scies scieront six-cent-six cypres. Si ton tonton tond ton tonton, ton tonton tondu sera. Quand ta tata tata ta tata, ta tata tatee a ete.

Wednesday, February 2

Everything is Everything

I wish to cry a truth from every mountain top,

Be free, be free, be free at last from its demands.

But no. Thinking it will be enough to go out merely belting from the top

of my lungs that


Is foolish drooling, sooner cooling than fueling mutual vision.

And so, these words.

Though I may look at this flower for its own solitary qualities,

The potent latent fragrance that it sends,

The failing health and ailments that it mends,

And how it bows and cowers in the winds,

All reflect the self-same beauty and the power of every flower,

proclaiming yet again that everything is everything.

'Cause if everything is everything, then each and every next thing is also everything.

This truth must be vindicated for me to reach the valley of contentment.

Oh, for the peace of knowing that "What is just is. What is just is."*

I've no choice

but to voice

without poise

but with noise


Like some vigilante banshee man who can't just rant his slanted rant but pants and pants a rancid chant of rampant slander!

Take a breath, but do not run.

I will speak 'til I am done,

And my words are lost to none.

A brother killed because he stands out,

Kept poppin' pills until he blacked out,

But all his thrills were just his last shout

Over the hilss to those on that rout,

To give'em chills and even cast doubt

In their minds, so that rhymes about crimes give'em time

To define the breath of death

That their brother left for them.

My bed sheets, of a green that may seem not to mean anything,

Are not clean, or obscene, nor, I deem, do they cling, neither sting;

They but lean, and thus seen do they mean everything!

For one soul I express all my love.

My dearest darling, you float far above

All the things of this world.

In fact, you are just like a pearl!

Then your love is all love - is this pearl - is the world...

I didn't cut my fingernails today... I even brought my fancy scissors home from work, and somehow now find no (or little) embarrassment admitting that I never use clippers - I guess 'cause it expresses my personality: ethical but practicle; slightly prim, but also slightly raw - kind of like the universe...

Morbid cataract clings renitent,

As Superficial acquiessence claims the insubstancial soul

Of a decrepit penitent;

A sordid reminder of the subjugating influence

Of a noncommittal attitude toward virtue

- Or even freedom.

And now he's dead, our

Profligate perspective posits

Posthumous excuses,

So we decline what the design prescribes,

Or redefine what the design proscribes.

Or do we.

Perhaps this truth is best expressed in Rumi's words:

"There is a strange frenzy in my head

of birds flying,

every particle circulating on its own

- is the one I love everywhere?"

I will now repeat the line

Until I hear someone say, "fine!"


*I sing "What is just is" to the tune composed by the band Lamb, on their track, "Just Is".
Sweexteen --- I was in bed 16 hours last night!!! I'm going out to get some medication.

I'm definitely going to NEBY Fest this year for the first time (a Northeastern Baha'i Youth conference). And I already know of several other people who are going as well. I will soon post the poem I performed on Monday night. It was a huge success at the 3rd Just Poetry Slam, here in Richmond at the Firehouse Theatre. There were a few friends that came to support me and Robbie (who made his first appearance on stage with his own very successful piece). Many came up to me after the performance to compliment me and even ask questions or offer commentaries! I got a very high score, too - notably a 10.0 and a 9.9! Perhaps most importantly, I got to dialogue with some of the amazing poets that were there, and extend my network of artists quite a bit.