Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beads for Development

When my girlfriend Halie went to Burkina Faso last year, I thought she would have an amazing time. I wasn't expecting her to co-found a women's beadmaking collective in a small village to empower the women and make the village more sustainable. But that's exactly what she did.

I'm so blown away.

Check out the amazing jewelry and support the women of Saint Jean, Burkina Faso at

Beads For Development Store

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Allison DePasquale, a friend of mine from UCLA, is in Haiti right now. The following is a conversation that she had with Meredith Pierce, a mutual friend. Meredith deleted her own dialogue, leaving just Allison's words about what was around her, and I found it very resonant and wanted to share it. If you feel the same, please donate to help in the relief efforts.

[1/21/10 2:39:27 PM] Allison DePasquale: its starting to feel like reality, the first week was a dream

[1/21/10 2:40:54 PM] Allison DePasquale: i kept thinking i just had to get through that one day, and then i would wake up and port au prince would be back

[1/21/10 2:41:11 PM] Allison DePasquale: but now its hit that this is the next several years + that this world is like this

[1/21/10 2:42:49 PM] Allison DePasquale: it was one minute, and everyone's life is changed

[1/21/10 2:42:53 PM] Allison DePasquale: i cant comprehend it

[1/21/10 2:43:58 PM] Allison DePasquale: haitians are very religious

[1/21/10 2:44:16 PM] Allison DePasquale: and every shock we have, the whole city would scream "jesus, please jesus" in creole

[1/21/10 2:44:30 PM] Allison DePasquale: and i swear, it felt like it was god shaking the earth, and i dont even believe that

Thursday, January 7, 2010

We can only handle so much

Look at our language.
Awesome is good.
Awful is bad.
Some awe is great.
But being full of awe is terrible.

my dad says it's ridiculous to try and understand
the whole big world
with these little brains that fit inside our relatively tiny heads.

it doesn't take too much awe to be too much, does it?

Fishing in Montana

I was in Montana for the holidays, where I learned how to fish.
On the second to last day, standing in the snow on the banks of the river with half numb fingers, I caught the first fish of my life.
The experience filled me with so much awe and respect.
It was the polar opposite of trivial.

Taking one life and making it into sustenance for mine. The death of the fish was very real. But it was also an experience that overflowed with life.

Don't Go

Boot camp? I thought you were joking.

You’re not. I listened too your explanation,

“It’s good discipline and I don’t have to join afterwards,” you said.

OCS Training, I never thought

I would be roommates with a marine.

I don’t get this.

I know how good a person you are,

Mind and heart, what part of you wants to sacrifice yourself for this?

You are no bully.

And now I am scared.

Scared to see you run off and join.

Embarrassed that I can’t stop you.

I closed my eyes that night and I saw you. Us. I imagined us as soldiers.

On the move, outside Tikrit sitting there in the aftermath of a car bomb,

The morning breaking into sweltering heat that we will not see the end of.

This is an open wound in a closing tomb

We will not get better.

We will not go home.

This is where our bodies have ruined

And our minds following soon

This is our last

Our time come to past.

Tense breaths give way only to no breath

This is an open wound in a closing tomb.

Desert sand blows over the body

Wiping clean the surface

U.S, army issued fatigue(s) already hidden disappear(s) completely

This is my nightmare matt. That you are at war lying on your back lost,

the human cost.

Earth shatters, what matters dematerialized

Mothers hold stitched material flags

Raise banners for lost sons

Burned up in dark deserts

This is my nightmare of dads in Baghdad body bags.

Our need to believe our political leaders is weakness of mass destruction

Led into biblical deserts but we will not walk out after forty years

We will not be stronger for it

We will just get the realization in hot desert sun that

This is where it ends.

I remember when we invaded Iraq.

I went to see Chicago that night with my parents.

Thinking about the war…and all that Jazz.

Conflict seemed distant and unreal

Like it could be playing in the next theater.

That was I how I wanted it.

Now It’s in my apartment.

Matt, I don’t want this.

Matt, you don’t want this.

You are too good a person to shift gears in killing machines…

Until you break, this game kills you or leaves you PTSD broken.

If you lose, someone dies.

I you win, someone dies.

I know you don’t want this.

I know your gentle soft nature.

Your selflessness, loyalty, your bravery,

You are the most honorable person I know.

And I know that’s what they want from you.

I know you’re intelligence, Matt how can you not see where they would take you?

How can you want to take part?

Take apart your own body and mind,

“I’ll be fine” you say

but what about the day you realize,

That you won’t make it this time.

And I’ll choke on my words burning my throat

because I would never dare say I told you so.