11.30.21

46

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:03 pm by Administrator

in many years the season
trods out from the trees, stately,
in a procession of the dutiful.

she smiles, beneath a crown of flaming color
and in her wake, she leaves a train
as soft and light as a field of velvet.

but this year, i awoke in the field
parched from summer, reddened by the sun
and she was already beside me

naked and with a wildness in her eyes,
cool and damp where she touched my skin
with her fingertips, her elbows, her thighs.

i look, but there is no one beyond,
and she is astride me, breathing,
breathless, without words.

as beautiful as she is, she is having me
without my consent, and it is strange
to be had so suddenly and without feeling.

when she is done, i am flush and wet
in the areas where we conjoined,
cold and numb elsewhere.

“i never knew you like this,” i say.
she looks me in the eye, as if suddenly
taking notice of what i am

and i see her soften to sadness,
to the edge of a whisper,
to the hint of a chilling wind.

11.19.21

the bodhi tree

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:17 pm by Administrator

every morning that i drive to my clinic, i am distinctly aware of the way that i feel about the day ahead. it is always the toughest day of my week. sometimes, i feel that it comes so close to breaking my spirit. even after nineteen years of seeing patients, the job gets no easier for me, and sometimes it drives me to despair. and this is without a doubt due to the nature of the work: spending time with poor, suffering people, absorbing their anger and pain, managing the secondary trauma that i accumulate on account of joining their life journeys. the secondary trauma in primary care is unique and unlike the experience one might have with acutely ill patients in the hospital or as a paramedic in the community. it is the grind of seeing patients relentlessly suffer through the many intricate and stubborn barriers that our healthcare system erects to block their access to the people that can most help them. it is the steadily building frustration and futility of absorbing the anger of patients that we cannot save. it is the grueling experience of disappointing their hopes and watching them deteriorate on account of innumerable inimical factors that one cannot control.

my drive to my clinic takes me down a stretch of road lined with beautiful trees. there are two trees in particular, planted on a median strip, that are magnificent, framed as they are against the backdrop of the mountains in the distance. i never fail to be struck by the view. and as i drive under their boughs, i never fail to feel touched by the essence of those living trees and the leaves that they surrender in the fall season. lately, i have come to sense the great awareness of those trees, a quality that builds upon but is not limited to the uncountable invisible interactions those trees have with the air and with the soil deep in the earth where their branches silently and profoundly extend. but this contemplation is for another time. it suffices to say that the trees have extended great kindness to me over the years, and they have reminded me that consciousness is not as human or fleeting as i have been led to believe. there is a grand consciousness pervading this universe, and even after this suffering form that i call myself ceases to exist, the consciousness that i think of as myself will not cease to be connected to everything here.

in their season, these trees shed everything that we think of as their beauty and grandeur. we look at this and feel both awe and sadness, because it looks like death of a kind. but the trees have told me that they are not the leaves, and the passage of the leaves does not signify sadness or loss for them at all. every year, they surrender their leaves and become bare, twisting, dark, and solitary, because it pleases them to do so, and because it demonstrates a profound truth that resonates throughout the universe: that form does not fully capture what life is, and that emptying oneself of form is how the living experience the truest connection with other life. when i consider this, in the context of the daily ritual of observing and sharing in the suffering of human beings, i am reminded that i am not the complete and intact being who is being assaulted by the complaints and feelings of lesser people; rather, i am the one who will be simple, aware, and without direction. i will hold up my leaves and all the beauty and wisdom they might appear to represent; then i will surrender those leaves and be as nothing, and i will be no less of myself for it. giving, receiving, living, dying, prospering, and suffering—these are words and ideas that we put to the very simple process of growing these leaves and then surrendering them. it is without necessity or meaning, but it is all that living is

11.16.21

NFL Mock #4

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:03 pm by Administrator

i think that over the past week i’ve landed on a new understanding of what the eagles should do with their three first-round picks in the 2022 draft. Here are the relevant developments that have influenced my position:

1. garrett wilson really is that good. his domination of purdue was impressive on so many levels, and as if expectations weren’t high enough, he seems to be taking his game to even higher levels. don’t look now, but wilson is putting himself on the same level as top-10 receivers in recent years—and i think he merits the hype. meanwhile, the eagles are enjoying a breakout season from devonta smith but so clearly lack any legitimate 2nd receiver on the roster. never mind the recent wasted picks on jj and jalen; the eagles owe it to jalen hurts to upgrade one of the worst wide receiver groups in the NFL.

2. jalen hurts is improving. now that we’re past the midpoint of the season and can judge him for the highs and the lows, it should be obvious to everyone now that jalen hurts is solid, sometimes spectacular, and never out of his league. he’s a stronger bet to succeed than any of the quarterbacks coming out in the 2022 draft, and he’s also making russell wilson and deshaun watson look like unnecessary risks for a team that’s on a good trajectory. we should use our picks to support hurts, not to replace him.

3. our defensive ends are looking less and less impressive by the week, and there’s absolutely no doubt now that derek barnett cannot be a candidate for an extension. we have no replacements for him on this roster. we have to draft our defensive end of the future. the 2022 defensive end group isn’t just thibodeaux and everyone else. it’s a potentially elite group at the top that features blue chippers like aidan hutchinson, george karlaftis, and kingsley enagbare—guys that each might have been highly acclaimed pass rushers in other draft classes.

so with that all that in mind, here’s where i’m landing with the eagles in the 1st round: a defensive end, a defensive back, and a wide-out to complement devonta smith. we’ll get our o-lineman in round 2, when plenty of exciting talent (i.e. zion johnson, andrew voorhees, sean rhyan) will still be on the board, and i imagine we’ll take a safety or linebacker in round 3 or day 3, wherever there’s value.

2022 Mock Draft: 1st Round

1. Detroit: Kayvon Thibodeaux
2. Houston: Derek Stingley
3. Jacksonville: Evan Neal
4. NY Jets: Aidan Hutchinson
5. New York Giants: Kyle Hamilton
6. Philadelphia (from Miami): Garrett Wilson *
7. Washington: Malik Willis
8. Carolina: DeMarvin Leal
9. New York Giants (from Chicago): Ikem Ekwonu
10. New York Jets (from Seattle): Kenyon Green
11. Philadelphia: George Karlaftis *
12. Minnesota: Kingsley Enagbare
13. Denver: Matt Corral
14. Atlanta: Jordan Davis
15. Philadelphia (from Indy): Kaiir Elam *
16. New England: Chris Olave
17. Pittsburgh: Carson Strong
18. Kansas City: Drake Jackson
19. Miami (from San Francisco): Treylon Burks
20. Las Vegas: Tyler Linderbaum
21. Dallas: Myjai Sanders
22. New Orleans: Ahmad Gardner
23. Cincinnati: Charles Cross
24. Tennessee: Nakobe Dean
25. Green Bay: Jameson Williams
26. Arizona: Trent McDuffie
27. Cleveland: Drake London
28. LA Chargers: Andrew Booth
29. Baltimore: Sean Rhyan
30. Tampa Bay: Darian Kinnard
31. Detroit (from LA Rams): Isaiah Spiller
32. Buffalo Bills: Roger McCreary

11.10.21

Mock Draft #3

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:46 pm by Administrator

i’m still betting that the eagles will close this season on a 6-2 tear and make playoffs, then beating the cowboys in the wild card round to cap a season of spectacular surprises. jalen hurts will develop touch and accuracy in the passing game, jalen reagor will emerge as a viable 2nd receiver, and davion taylor and k’von wallace will break out as legitimate defensive starters in the latter half of the season.

however, in this mock draft, i assume for arbitrary reasons that the eagles underperform down the stretch and end up 7-10, good for 11th in the draft order. i have them picking 6th (courtesy of miami), 11th, and 15th (courtesy of indy). i think this is a reasonable estimation of where the eagles will be drafting in april, as miami is unlikely to be a bottom 5 team based on projected wins, and as indianapolis is likely going to post a losing record over their very difficult final stretch of the season. regardless, eagle fans do not need to worry about the colts yielding us a pick worse than 18th, as it is nearly impossible to see them getting past all of las vegas, new england, kansas city, and pittsburgh for that last AFC playoff berth.

here’s the 1st round, and i’ll get into details about our picks afterwards.

2022 Mock Draft: 1st Round

1. Detroit: Kayvon Thibodeaux
2. Houston: Derek Stingley
3. Jacksonville: Evan Neal
4. NY Jets: Aidan Hutchinson
5. Washington: Matt Corral
6. Philadelphia (from Miami): Kyle Hamilton *
7. New York Giants: DeMarvin Leal
8. Carolina: Malik Willis
9. New York Giants (from Chicago): Chris Olave
10. New York Jets (from Seattle): Kenyon Green
11. Philadelphia: Kingsley Enagbare *
12. Minnesota: George Karlaftis
13. Denver: Sam Howell
14. Atlanta: Jordan Davis
15. Philadelphia (from Indy): Ikem Ekwonu *
16. New England: Garrett Wilson
17. Pittsburgh: Carson Strong
18. Kansas City: Drake Jackson
19. Miami (from San Francisco): Kaiir Elam
20. Las Vegas: Tyler Linderbaum
21. Dallas: Adam Anderson
22. New Orleans: Ahmad Gardner
23. Cincinnati: Charles Cross
24. Tennessee: Myjai Sanders
25. Green Bay: Drake London
26. Arizona: Trent McDuffie
27. Cleveland: Treylon Burks
28. LA Chargers: Andrew Booth
29. Baltimore: Jaxson Kirkland
30. Tampa Bay: Darian Kinnard
31. Detroit (from LA Rams): Isaiah Spiller
32. Buffalo Bills: Noah Daniels

this is the second draft in which i have the eagles taking ikem ekwonu, the 6′4″ 320 pound absolute bully of an offensive lineman coming out of the wolfpack. he’s going to continue to have a featured place in my eagles mocks, for a variety of reasons. first, he’s one of 10 players in this draft that i consider to be transformational players; he has a shot at being a pro bowler in the NFL. second, the eagles continue to struggle with continuity and consistency at the guard positions on the line, and we really owe it to landon dickerson to stop using him as a rotational guard. third, we need to move on from brandon brooks, who is overpaid and no longer reliable.

i think that the eagles need to come out of round one with a premiere defensive back, an effective edge rusher, and a dominant interior o-lineman. i put those three positional needs ahead of linebacker and wide receiver (the 4th and 5th most imminent draft needs) because of the intersection of need with value in this draft class. to put it simply, i’m not sure that the quality of linebackers and receivers in this draft class warrants a day one investment, particularly when the top linemen in this class are so notable. kingsley enagbare in particular looks like a prototypical fit for the eagle offense, based on his measurables and his play style. pound for pound, he will exceed derek barnett in power, speed, and skill and amp up a philadelphia pass rush that has been inconsistent and sometimes pitifully bad. one could legitimately point to cornerback and linebacker as more obvious deficiencies on this roster, but i’d argue that our edge group has never looked so bad, and in the absence of pressure we will never have a chance at a lock-down defense.

if the eagles pick 6th or 7th and both stingley and hamilton are off the board, demarvin leal will be a popular projection to the eagles, but i’d sooner trade down from that pick than take leal. we already have a hybrid 6′3″ 290 pound athletic freak on the d-line in milton williams, and demarvin leal would simply be a redundant and difficult fit for our d-line group. i might even prefer drake jackson for the eagles to demarvin leal for this very reason.

i’m still a fan of nakobe dean, but when it comes down to it, a potentially elite interior offensive lineman is more important to the future of the eagles than a solid linebacker. if we end up taking hamilton, enagbare, and ekwonu as i’ve projected here, then my picks on day two would focus on linebacker and receiver. i’d have my eyes on alabama’s #1 receiver jameson williams in round two, and i’d look for demarvion overshown in round three