User Profile

Josh Simmons

josh@books.josh.tel

Joined 1 year, 2 months ago

Technicolor geek. Slow reader. Main social presence: @josh@josh.tel / josh.tel/@josh

I try to post a poem every day.

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Josh Simmons's books

Currently Reading (View all 70)

Amanda Gorman: Call Us What We Carry (2021, Penguin Random House) No rating

& SO by Amanda Gorman

It is easy to harp, Harder to hope.

This truth, like the white-blown sky, Can only be felt in its entirety or not at all. The glorious was not made to be piecemeal. Despite being drenched with dread, This dark girl still dreams. We smile like a sun that is never shunted.

Grief, when it goes, does so softly, Like the exit of that breath We just realized we clutched.

Since the world is round, There is no way to walk away From each other, for even then We are coming back together.

Some distances, if allowed to grow, Are merely the greatest proximities.

Call Us What We Carry by  (Page 25)

Mary Oliver: Devotions (2020, Penguin Books) No rating

Throughout her celebrated career, Mary Oliver has touched countless readers with her brilliantly crafted verse, …

Poppies by Mary Oliver

The poppies send up their orange flares; swaying in the wind, their congregations are a levitation

of bright dust, of thin and lacy leaves. There isn't a place in this world that doesn't

sooner or later drown in the indigos of darkness, but now, for a while, the roughage

shines like a miracle as it floats above everything with its yellow hair. Of course nothing stops the cold,

black, curved blade from hooking forward— of course loss is the great lesson.

But also I say this: that light is an invitation to happiness, and that happiness,

when it's done right, is a kind of holiness, palpable and redemptive. Inside the bright fields,

touched by their rough and spongy gold, I am washed and washed in the river of earthly delight—

and what are you going to do— what can you do about it— deep, blue night?

Devotions by  (Page 291)

Ada Limón: Bright dead things (2015) No rating

"Bright Dead Things examines the chaos that is life, the dangerous thrill of living in …

The Plunge by Ada Limón

I bet the steady well never complains about all the flash dipping in, coins, coins, and more coins. This life is a fist of fast wishes caught by nothing but the fishhook of tomorrow's tug. I shoved my money in the water once, threw it like a guaranteed ticket to cash; it never came true, not the wish, nor the towering person I was bound to be. But the back-of-the-throat thrill was real, when the surface's shine broke. It was enough to go back again and again, and throw my whole jonesing body in.

Bright dead things by  (Page 67)

Joy Harjo: An American Sunrise (Paperback, 2019, W. W. Norton & Company) No rating

For Those Who Would Govern by Joy Harjo

First question: Can you first govern yourself?

Second question: What is the state of your own household?

Third question: Do you have a proven record of community service and compassionate acts?

Fourth question: Do you know the history and laws of your principalities?

Fifth question: Do you follow sound principles? Look for fresh vision to lift all the inhabitants of the land, including animals, plants, elements, all who share this earth?

Sixth question: Are you owned by lawyers, bankers, insurance agents, lobbyists, or other politicians, anyone else who would unfairly profit by your decisions?

Seventh question: Do you have the authority by the original keepers of the lands, those who obey natural law and are in the service of the lands on which you stand?

An American Sunrise by  (Page 74)

Mary Oliver: Devotions (2020, Penguin Books) No rating

Throughout her celebrated career, Mary Oliver has touched countless readers with her brilliantly crafted verse, …

I Go Down to the Shore by Mary Oliver

I go down to the shore in the morning and depending on the hour the waves are rolling in or moving out, and I say, oh, I am miserable, what shall— what should I do? And the sea says in its lovely voice: Excuse me, I have work to do.

Devotions by  (Page 45)

Nikita Gill: Fierce Fairytales (2018, Hachette Books) No rating

Man Up, Hercules by Nikita Gill

When I was a child, my worst nightmare was to see my father cry. Until I was older, I never really thought nor asked why.

It occurs to me now that the world around me doesn't want men to feel. It emphasizes stoicism till they bottle up their feelings, only one part of them is allowed to be real.

And if ever one of them falters, 'man up' becomes the dark magic to charm them back into line. 'Man up' is that villain who shows up with lackeys 'grow a pair' and 'boys don't cry' uninvited to parties.

We tell our sons stories about heroes like Hercules, but forget to mention how Hercules' rage caused him to murder his entire family.

And by telling them stories where anger becomes the only acceptable way they can express themselves, we are teaching them shouting, punching, yelling is all they can ever do to release themselves from hell.

And this is how cursed phrases like 'man up' contribute to the greatest killer of men under 45.

Repression leads to depression, depression leads to trying to find ways to be alive and after years of being told not to feel, the only way to truly feel it all becomes suicide.

We have created nooses with words and watch passively as our sons tighten them around each other's necks.

So I will tell my son, I will say, Cry, let the dam burst, and let the rivers you are holding back run free. It will release everything that hurts you and finally you will be able to breathe.

The definition of who you are as a man is too powerful to be swayed by a phrase, it doesn't have to be proven through self-hate.

When they tell you to 'man up' look them in the eyes and just say, 'I will not, no.' Become the earth, the rebellion your heart needs for your love of yourself to grow.

Fierce Fairytales by  (Page 127)

Mary Oliver: Devotions (2020, Penguin Books) No rating

Throughout her celebrated career, Mary Oliver has touched countless readers with her brilliantly crafted verse, …

The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice— though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. "Mend my life!" each voice cried. But you didn't stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations— though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones. But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice, which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do— determined to save the only life you could save.

Devotions by  (Page 349)

@gastarbajterica@dju.social I look forward to your responses every day! Really enjoyed the cadence on this one, almost left me breathless toward the end which seemed very much intended by the author.

Note to self: revisit hashtags in BookWyrm. It seems to render yours appropriately when they come through, though not when I tried including them in my original posts. Would love to make this more discoverable for fellow travelers.

Brad Aaron Modlin: Everyone at this party has two names (2016, Southeast Missouri State University Press) No rating

If a Tornado Strikes, We'll Live in Its Eye by Brad Aaron Modlin

If broken bricks whirlwind around us. If a green sky and a train sound and kitchen knives and engine parts. If basement pipes and something steel from the roof. If no bathroom or ditch to hide in. If her bare arms and dangerous tin cans from Thursday's recycling. If the bedside lamp we clicked on-off-on-off-on every morning. If nails flying by. If a refrigerator tries to land on our skulls. If she needs someone smarter or stronger or funny. If checkbooks and the books we took too much of each other's time to read. If we're both so damn exhausted. If one in two houses ends in tornadoes.

If I tell her about the couple at the Greyhound station on my way home from Birmingham. If cyclone dirt in my eyes, and hair in her eyes, and her hair in my face. If glass shards like fish scales. If a crumpled chimney like ours. If it's our neighbor's house. If we've forgotten what our house looked like. If she stands so close she's standing on my toes. If I say, At the bust station, I saw a husband and wife asleep on each other. If backs on the terminal floor, they pointed their legs at opposite walls. If each rested their head atop the other's. If she's on my toes. If she doesn't scrunch her eyes to answer me, and say, But that can't physically happen.

Everyone at this party has two names by  (Page 80)

Mary Oliver: Devotions (2020, Penguin Books) No rating

Throughout her celebrated career, Mary Oliver has touched countless readers with her brilliantly crafted verse, …

For Tom Shaw S.S.J.E (1945-2014) by Mary Oliver

Where has this cold come from? "It comes from the death of your friend."

Will I always, from now on, be this cold? "No, it will diminish. But always it will be with you."

What is the reason for it? "Wasn't your friendship always as beautiful as a flame?"

Devotions by  (Page 8)

Lisel Mueller: Alive Together (Paperback, 1995, Louisiana State University Press) No rating

Why I Need the Birds by Lisel Mueller

When I hear them call in the morning, before I am quite awake, my bed is already traveling the daily rainbow, the arc toward evening; and the birds, leading their own discreet lives of hunger and watchfulness, are with me all the way, always a little ahead of me in the long-practiced manner of unobtrusive guides.

By the time I arrive at evening, they have just settled down to rest; already invisible, they are turning into the dreamwork of trees; and all of us together— myself and the purple finches, the rusty blackbirds, the ruby cardinals, and the white-throated sparrows with their liquid voices— ride the dark curve of the earth toward daylight, which they announce from their high lookouts before dawn has quite broken for me.

Alive Together by  (Page 39)