A Little More Perfect

Text by Justice Anthony Kennedy


No union is more profound than marriage,
for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.
In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.
As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage.
Their plea is that they do respect it,
respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves.
Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness,
excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions.
They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law.
The Constitution grants them the right to marriage.



Three Reflections of Sister Dorothy

Words by Evan Mack


I. Have I Not Wept?

Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor? The oppressed retreat from me as I come here to help them.

How can I raise the poor from the dust and lift them from the ashes

If they see me as a hand for the wicked?

I tried and failed. What did I do wrong?

Have I not wept? Am I not pained enough? Have I not grieved enough? They cried for my help. They cried out to me.

And my words, only words could not comfort them.

I’ll try again. And this time, I won’t fail!

I must seek to follow Christ and give up what is mine.
In the spirit of the Lord I will sacrifice.
I cannot help the poor unless I’m one of them. Together, we’ll walk the path of God!


II. The Mountain Top

I don’t know what will happen now.

We’ve come so far, but it’s not quite over yet,

And my role in this is almost over now. And I know.

But I’ve been to the mountaintop.
I have seen the promised land, so I don’t mind.

I lived a full life and the journey’s been long. I may not get there. I may not see the end.
But I know, it will happen.

We will go to the mountaintop. We will see the promised land.

We will reach the mountaintop.

I could die. I could lose my life for the struggle.
I am scared, but won’t be afraid.

I fear no evil, as you are with me Lord.
I have so much to gain, if I die, then let me die!

Then we’ll reach the mountaintop.
We will reach the promised land.
We will reach the mountaintop.


III. Will They Listen?

Will they listen?
Will the listen today?
Will they hear the cries of the poor?

I hope they listen.
I hope they listen to me. So many years, no one has heard.
O God, O God, let them hear. Make them hear the cries of the poor.

Make them listen.
Make them listen to me to guarantee a life for tomorrow. Think of tomorrow and all we can achieve.

O God, O God, this dream may die.

Today, if they don’t see what all these years of struggles mean to me,
If someone shows us mercy and restores my people’s dignity.

O God, give me strength, as I am their voice.

I’ll make them listen. I’ll make them listen to me to guarantee this dream can survive!



Preach Sister, Preach

I. Simone de Beauvoir
This has always been a man’s world, and none of the reasons that have been offered in explanation have seemed adequate. One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.


II. Mae West

There are no good girls gone wrong—just bad girls found out. When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better. There are no good girls gone wrong—just bad girls found out. Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.


III. Gilda Radner

I’d much rather be a woman than a man.
Women can cry, they can wear cute clothes, and they’re the first to be rescued off sinking ships.


IV. George Eliot

I’m not denyin’ the women are foolish. God Almighty made ‘em to match the men.


V. Lucille Ball (1)

A man who correctly guesses a woman’s age may be smart, but he’s not very bright.


VI. Daphne de Maurier

Women want love to be a novel, men a short story.


VII. Lizz Winstead

I think, therefore I’m single.


VIII. Leslie Jones

It’s hard to date now. Remember back in the day all you had to ask a man was: Are you single?...Now? It’s a whole interview. Are you single? Are you on drugs? Are you gay? Are you sure?


IX. Ann Landers

Women complain about sex more often than men. Their gripes fall into two major categories:

Not enough.

Too much.


X. Gloria Steinem

A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after.

XI. Lucille Ball (2)
The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.


XII. Natasha Scripture

The notion that wearing makeup is antifeminist is silly.
Cleopatra pretty much invented the eyeliner, and she ruled a kingdom.


XIII. Tina Fey

If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: who cares?


XIV. Ellen DeGeneres

Follow your passion. Stay true to yourself. Never follow someone else’s path...unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path. By all means, you should follow that.



The Secret Ocean

Poems by Mark Jarman


I. The Children

The children are hiding among the raspberry canes.
They look big to one another, the garden small.
Already in their mouths this soft fruit
That lasts so briefly in the supermarket
Tastes like the past. The gritty wall,
Behind the veil of leaves, is hollow.
There are yellow wasps inside it. The children know.
They know the wall is hard, although it hums.
They know a lot and will not forget it soon.

When did we forget? But we were never
Children, never found where they were hiding
And hid with them, never followed
The wasp down into its nest
With a fingertip that still tingles.
We lie in bed at night, thinking about
The future, always the future, always forgetting
That it will be the past, hard and hollow,
Veiled and humming, soon enough.


II. After Disappointment

To lie in your child’s bed when she is gone
Is calming as anything I know. To fall
Asleep, is to admit that you have never been
So tired, so enchanted by the spell
Of your grown body. To feel small instead
Of blocking out the light, to feel alone,
Not knowing what you should or shouldn’t feel,
Is to find out, no matter what you’ve said
About the cramped escapes and obstacles
You plan and face and have to call the world,
That there remain these places, occupied
By children, yours if lucky, like the girl
Who finds you here and lies down by your side.


III. The Secret Ocean

When you were little girls, I brought you here

To light weaving on water among trees,

With one of you beside me, walking along,

The other on my shoulders, talking to herself.

We found this place beside a baseball field

In a flood plane flooded by meadowlarks.

We pitched our half-hour camp.
A speckled dancing

Took place upon the wavelets and the air,

A water strider sort of dance, a shifting

Greened by the leaves like lenses overhead.

I think I named it after one of you,
Claire’s Secret Ocean, Zoe’s Secret Sea,

Far from the actual oceans you’d not seen yet.

Neither of you knew that we were there
To calm and change the color of my thought,

To ease its glaring pressure for a moment.

And we have been together other places
For the same reason, which I can now reveal—

There have been times I thought my head would crack,

Only to have you both demand ice cream.
It’s been a long time since we’ve walked together

For reasons you didn’t have to understand.

If you were younger, I wouldn’t be less fearful,
Now that the monster shadowing you is not

The wounded ego of your harmless father,

But something that would harm you if it could.
I think of that first, stunned day

Outside of Eden, going through the motions— No—learning motions no one had yet dreamed of.

And menace, like a new electric nimbus,

Surrounding everything, invisibly. And no one to walk with but each other.

And yet it could be that these private walks

To places like the secret ocean, trailing
Beside a darkened, mute, distracted parent,

Were preparations for new valleys of the shadow,

Fearing no evil, because someone was with you.


The Road and the End

Poem by Carl Sandburg

I shall foot it
Down the roadway in the dusk,
Where shapes of hunger wander
And the fugitives of pain go by.

I shall foot it
In the silence of the morning,
See the night slur into dawn,
Hear the slow great winds arise
Where tall trees flank the way
And shoulder toward the sky.

The broken boulders by the road
Shall not commemorate my ruin.
Regret shall be the gravel under foot.
I shall watch for
Slim birds swift of wing
That go where wind and ranks of thunder
Drive the wild processionals of rain.

The dust of the travelled road
Shall touch my hands and face.



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