Reading Can Change Your Life (Or At Least Your Friday Night)/Patisotagami*

“So last night I went with my friends to this bar
The same bar they’ve been going to for two years

Drinking the same overpriced drinks they always drink
Making the same chit-chat with the same guys who always come up to them

Listening to the same unbearable music
And people were making fewer intelligible comments with each passing minute

And the air was so thick with insecurity and false bravado
And I looked at my watch and realized I’d already been there for two hours

And I looked around at all the gaming and fretting and distraction and sadness of it all
And what popped into my mind was the time you used the expression ‘American Samsara’

And then I remembered that April day you asked for two volunteers
And one person was to be herself and asked a question to the other person

And I was the other person who was supposed to channel Chân Không
And in that bar with its mindlessness and midnight mayhem

I breathed in
And breathed out

Just like
Chân Không would

Breathe in
Breathe out

In
Out

Deep
Slow

Calm
Ease

Smile
Release

Present moment
Only moment

And I walked out the door
And back home

Smiling.”

Chân Không

–from Dear Layla Welcome to Palestine

* “swimming against the current”

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