Words for a Pandemic

Paris Cafe Spring 2011

“I began to talk. I talked about summer, and about time. The pleasures of eating, the terrors of the night. About this cup we call a life. About happiness. And how good it feels, the heat of the sun between the shoulder blades.”
~ Mary Oliver, from New and Selected Poems, Volume Two

Sit lightly to life


Drink good coffee

Listen to the words in the silence

Hold a friend’s hand 

Kiss deeply

Walk barefoot in the rain 

Interpret life

Be creative

Be subversive

Be art

Paint your story

Sleep in


Read books

Write what you heard in the silence


Notice beauty 

Give up control

Break the rules 

(They are merely social constructs)

Savor red wine at twilight

White wine in the afternoon

 Escape when you must


(It means you are human)


Sigh deeply



Softly touch a lover

Eat your favorite food

Watch the sunrise

Get a tattoo

Skinny dip in a river

(Let the water baptize your fears)

Stay awake all night

Sleep all day

Drive all night

Be passionate

Be strong

Be weak

Ask for help

Fall asleep by a fire

Listen to music

Dance wildly

Dance slowly


French kiss life

Take risks

Hug often

Do nothing for a day

(Your worth is in being not doing)

Experience a birth

Experience a death

(Grace is present at both)

Help someone make it through the night

Wipe a tear from a cheek

Fear not

Don’t worry


Smile at a stranger

Give away what you love the most

(It will return in a mysterious way)

Sleep alone

Sleep with someone special

Heal when you can

(Yourself and others)

Be a balm to pain

A tonic to grief

A friend who can sit in silence

Be present

Know yourself

Believe you are worthy of love

Accept your own acceptance

Life is fleeting

Live without regrets

Make poetic memories

Life on a Beach in Cuba, 2018