April 4, 2012


Spite can be heavy. Especially when you carry it on your face in the form of a beard. According to my Daily Mugshot, this particular beard has been growing for almost fifty days, and it may just be the longest I have ever grown one? It is no longer itchy and I feel pretty damn good about it.

Everyone still tells me how terrible it looks. Today one lady asked, "What does Mairin think about it?" To which I answered, "She hates it."

"Obviously!" She says. She might have well said, Obviously, she hates it, because you look like crap. But that's the thing, I don't feel like I look like crap. I actually feel pretty good. I feel like I look how I feel. What started off as spite, is slowly transforming into a quiet zen-like contentment. A strange sense of calm and comfort. Like this is who I am. This is what I should look like right now. I am nearly thirty-eight, I have two kids, I teach middle school kids about things like art, poetry, and film. This person should have a pretty wicked beard. End of story.

Every man who has ever grown a beard knows what a commitment it is, and with this beard I feel I have crossed over into uncharted territory. So in honor of this newly found optimism, I have decided to follow Sava's advice and end the #spitebeard movement, so I can begin the #lovebeard movement. As if Sava's sage wisdom wasn't enough, it has come to my attention that April is National Poetry Month. (Which coincidently coincides with the poetry units I am teaching at school.)

What is a poet without a fierce beard? I wanted to close this post with a few shout-outs to my favorites. Starting with the raucous avuncular Walt Whitman:

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The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab
and my loitering.
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yaws over the roofs of the world.
The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow'd
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.

from Song of Myself

I have already mentioned Ginsberg, but how can you say the words poetry and beard and not think of this mug:

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America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I'm sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don't think he'll come back it's sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke?
I'm trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I'm doing.

from America

And of course the original beatnik saint- Rumi

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Again I am raging, I am in such a state by your soul that every
bond you bind, I break, by your soul.
I am like heaven, like the moon, like a candle by your glow; I am all
reason, all love, all soul, by your soul.
My joy is of your doing, my hangover of your thorn; whatever
side you turn your face, I turn mine, by your soul.
I spoke in error; it is not surprising to speak in error in this
state, for this moment I cannot tell cup from wine, by your soul.
I am that madman in bonds who binds the "divs"; I, the madman,
am a Solomon with the "divs", by your soul.
Whatever form other than love raises up its head from my
heart, forthwith I drive it out of the court of my heart, by your soul.
Come, you who have departed, for the thing that departs
comes back; neither you are that, by my soul, nor I am that, by your soul.
Disbeliever, do not conceal disbelief in your soul, for I will recite
the secret of your destiny, by your soul.
Out of love of Sham-e Tabrizi, through wakefulness or
nightrising, like a spinning mote I am distraught, by your soul.

from "Mystical Poems of Rumi 2

Am I somehow suggesting that since I have a beard, I am some kind of poet sage? I doubt it. That would be too daft, but let's face it the beard doesn't hurt. Happy poetry month everyone. Get lost in the world of words and let your #lovebeard grow.

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