The Best Way

When I woke up this morning,
I never really got out of bed.
Just lying there with you,
Just lying there with you [in my head].

This awful decision
to leave town at two
to drive through the night
for work in the morning

It’s killing me.

I can’t shake
the picture of us last night
out of my head.
It’s haunting me
in the best way
and it won’t let me sleep.

I keep on reaching
out for your hand
only to find my pocket.
I miss your skin
I miss the way we talk and the cigarette smoke on our breath. ,
the way you moved on Sunday in your sexy black dress.
the way our thoughts wrap so comfortable around each other.

They better each other.
[We better each other.]

In the best way.

Happy Birthday, Nate

I’ve spent a lot of today trying not to think of the fact that today is Nate Henn’s birthday. Partly because it’s still raw and painful, partly because it makes me take an honest look at myself and evaluate how I’m doing emotionally, and partly because I don’t know what to do about it.

For instance, I’ve spent the last hour trying to decide whether to make a Facebook status saying “Happy Birthday, Nate” or not. I haven’t, but maybe I will as the night goes on.

I sat down to write to try to sort out my thoughts – a few years have gone by since Nate’s passing and there are a couple of things that I keep coming back to in my head.

Nate and I were extremely unlike each other. When I found out we would be touring together, I was initially worried, thinking “What in the HELL are these people doing putting me on a team with such a bro jock?! “It was such an unusual experience that we were about to embark on, too. A 10 week tour with 3 people that weren’t even from this country. We had to see the country through new eyes, as though we were seeing it for the first time. And we realized, that, yes, buffets really are awesome because you can get as much food as you want as many times as you want and they just keep refilling your soda until you leave. And yes, parts of the United States are incredibly complex and impressive, while other areas are as sparse as Central African villages. As the only two people who had toured before, we had the benefit of experience, and we counted on each other to shoulder the weight of leading the team whenever things went wrong. And, boy, did things go wrong. And what I began to see as such wide differences between me and him eventually became a kinship, where we were working 24 hours a day to make sure that this team and this tour didn’t self-destruct. I began to respect this man. And not just because he blasted Brand New and Dashboard as loud as possible. But because we trusted each other, and we fought hard together to make that tour successful.
I’ve been coming back to that word: respect. I can’t get it out of my head. The truth is, I have so much respect for him, for his life, his work ethic, his family. He was such a bold soul, and he wasn’t afraid to lay it all on the line. One of the most exhausting parts of tour is leaving your teammates, and I remember as we hugged and cried with Angela and Allysen and Hannah and Inno and Christo that our biggest concern was making sure that the rest of the team was okay. We didn’t really worry about each other though, because we knew that we were both strong and had incredible friends to support us. So, when we turned to say goodbye to each other, we both kind of shrugged and said, “Welp, we made it.” And we said goodbye, but it wasn’t really goodbye. Because we both knew that we had pretty big lives ahead of us, and that our lives would cross during another adventure.

See you next adventure.

And then I think about Tyler Dunning, and his unhealthy obsession with Peter Pan. I think of Peter saying “To die would be an awfully big adventure.” And maybe it is. All I know is that I miss this man that has become a part of me.

I’ve been dealing with feelings of guilt for what I should have said or done before he died. I’ve been dealing with anger at God, Planet Earth, Karma, and Horoscopes for him being in the wrong place during that bombing. I think I’m moving past that, slowly. So slowly.

But I hope that as we move into this next year, that I – that we, as a community, as a planet – can remember this man, remember his commitment to global justice, and respect him and his life by living as best we can – by never settling, by never giving up, and by always loving and working toward a better world.

Thanks, Nate. Happy Birthday. We’ll pour one out for you.

This ALMOST makes me want to go back to college: How to Cite a Tweet

We’ve all been wondering, and here’s the answer:

Last Name, First Name (@TwitterName) “Full text of Tweet.” Date. Time. Tweet.

So, for instance:

Pappalardo, Brian (@BrianPappalardo) “Getting all organized for the Little Rock #kony2012 lobby meetings. If you wanna be part of it, let me know.” Mar 31, 2012. 11:10 AM. Tweet.

(See what I did there?)

Gang Wars: Bangin’ in Little Rock

Today, my friend Michael Gallup and I went to this place called Watershed. I went in thinking that they were an organization that feeds homeless, but as we talked to the head guy, Rev. Stewart, it turns out that they’re primarily focused on children – making sure that they’re fed and mentored and that they stay out of gangs.

I was caught a little off guard.

I mean, I knew that gangs existed around here, but I guess it never crossed my mind that we might be able to play a role in steering kids away from gang violence here in Little Rock.

Rev. Stewart brought up a documentary that was popular in the nineties about gang violence in Little Rock. I’ve watched some of it, and so far it’s really blown my mind. I’m hoping to finish it tomorrow.

We’re still processing our trip today, and I’m interested to see how we can work together to do some good here.

Why Sen. Boozman Rules

From Sen. Boozman’s Site:

WASHINGTON D.C. –U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined over thirty of his colleagues in support of a bipartisan resolution condemning the crimes against humanity committed by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and underscoring support for U.S. and international efforts to help regional forces remove Kony and his top LRA commanders from the battlefield.

“I’ve had the opportunity to travel to the northern Uganda where at the time, the LRA was actively terrorizing villagers, abducting kids to serve as child soldiers and sending them back to their village to murder and mutilate their families and neighbors.  I’ve met some survivors of Kony’s atrocities and while the crimes against humanity he ordered seem unimaginable, they are very real,” Boozman said. “While the ability of the LRA to carry out attacks has been dramatically reduced, and they have been chased out of Uganda, it is imperative for the security of the region, and the protection of basic human rights, that we capture Kony and end the LRA’s atrocities that continue throughout the region.”


Random Phone Calls from the Entire English Department

About a week and a half ago, my phone rang. So I answered it.

It happened to be the English department at Cabot High School. I’m going to assume that you don’t know what Cabot High School is or why I would be excited about this, so I’ll tell you.


When I first left town to begin working on the LRA, I really wanted to get my part of the state involved in seeing this conflict come to an end. Not because this movement needs them. Not really.

I mean, in a roundabout way, it does. But, when you’ve rallied the whole entire world around this issue, what does a little school in the woods in Arkansas really have to offer?

But there’s something to be said for the transformation that happens in the mind of a ninth grader who’s never been asked to care about something so big, something so far away. She begins to believe that, as a matter of fact, she can do…it. Whatever “it” is. These kids come alive, and I’ve seen it over and over and over, and that’s what I want for my community. Continue reading