she is me when i am

March 21, 2013

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I been meaning to write this story but I neva did cause the phrase Bow Down always sounds wrong, no matter how you try to say it. So over the top, soo too much, so fascist and thas not the look I’m trying to effect but how can it be that things happen no matter what you intend?

It all began way back when I was sixteen reading Jackie Collins on summer break, lounging in my chaise chair slowly getting gold in the afternoon rays and I’m on page two and Jackie talkinn about this panther prowling through the Vegas airport named Lucky Santangelo and she’s walking like she owns it and—

Thas all it took to get me hooked. My first real addiction. Ownership. My body, my world, my dominion over which I can do unto as I wish. Own it. Own everything, every last drip drop. It went straight to my head like Dinah Washington said, ohh lawdamercy on the earth that stood beneath my hips when I set them to work. I started and I neva stopped. Even when I’m not doing it people notice, especially men. Men. Yes. I didn’t get this was about them but of course it is, that’s what the scene in the airport was about. First impressions are everything.

Now this is my point, cause I do go on. It’s like this. I started walking when I was sixteen, seventeen, eighteen years old. I started doing it, and by twenty one I was up in heels, traipsing across town in hours after and kept going forth til I was daytime doing up and down Fifth Avenue for miles at a time in these roachkillers aint no one trying to rock without a ride.

And by the time I’m twenty-three, twenty-four I’m noticing that people drop their heads when they see me, like they don’t even know they are doing it until after it’s been done and they were like What the fuck just happened. Awwwkward. I see people fight the feeling, heads flailing in indignation to the side, or even that woman on Grove that time who tossed her nose so hard into the sky I swear I felt the whiplash lock. Soo not a good look, when I’m not trying like that.

No doubt there are times when I let it all go and I swear I am Rihanna because if not she, who else. Who else feels alla that, in all this FTW way? In all this glory of 2013 to just Be Free, like right and wrong don’t even matter none. And when I’m in there, I am nowhere else, and people around me exist but it’s none of my business cause I am just passing through, soaking up all the sun, air, water, and earth as I sway back and forth across the Brooklyn Bridge.

But yea back to the beginning, full circle we come. I wouldn’t write Bow Down except Beyonce be talking about it. But my point is, It’s a happening. It’s not a demand or a command or even an exaltation. Really, it’s humbling and not so flattering so much as it is imperious. I’m not saying, Don’t be imperious. I’m saying The Imperial don’t really talk about it.

Sometimes I feel sad, like I feel people’s fear of me, or something lesser in themselves because they don’t own every last inch of their being. But I believe we’re all Lucky, if we want to be. Lucky is not my idea, She is an attitude, an aspiration, an affect. She is not a thirst or hunger or desire even. She is openness, a channel, a vessel, to a power that makes the walk feel so good. She is Me when I am One with the Universe.

Photograph by Jianai Jenny Chen

Photograph by Jianai Jenny Chen

The Kingdom of Eternal Night, the first novel by former art book publisher Miss Rosen, has just been published on a blog of the same name, serialized in thirty nine parts, reminiscent of nineteenth-century authors such as Charles Dickens who established themselves by first publishing serialized novels in monthly magazines and newsprint.

A gripping portrait of decadence at the end of the second millennium, The Kingdom of Eternal Night mixes drugs, sex, violence, and degradation with the spoils of a lost generation. The Kingdom of Eternal Night is the story of unlove, of what happens to abused children when they become young adults.

At the age of 25, Jade Fontaine has a Master’s Degree and no marketable skills, a mortgage she does not pay, a drug problem, and an unfinished novel inspired by Oscar Wilde’s last play, Salome. Hell bent for leather, Jade crosses path with Nino DiNapoli—an ex-con, gay prostitute, junkie, and stick-up kid who is swinging from the bottom rung of the ladder just trying to stay alive. He was sexually abused and debased, then abandoned by his mother and raised in juvenile halls and jails since the age of fourteen. Now in his early 20s, Nico is lost and alone. No one ever taught him anything except that love can destroy your life.

Set over the course of three days in New York City during the summer of 1998, the novel moves at a fast pace, with the history of the characters unfolding on each page. It is the fusion of dramatic action, dream sequences, and flashbacks that provide an intense sequence of seemingly unrelated events that culminate in the tragic but inevitable demise of one of the protagonists.

Serialized into 39 parts, each chapter of the novel is illustrated by a photograph as it begins. The photograph is essential, not just to breaking the monotony of the text on the screen but to the energy of the story itself. Many of the gems selected for The Kingdom of Eternal Night came from the treasure troves of artists including Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Erwin Blumenfeld, Rene Burri, Jean-Claude Claeys, Bruce Davidson, Sergio Larrain, Daido Moriyama, William Mortensen, Nadar, and Francis Wolff, as well as photographers close to Miss Rosen including Jianai Jenny Chen, Eric Johnson, Colleen Plumb, Ruby Ray, and Lilla Szasz.

Miss Rosen notes, “When I began The Kingdom of Eternal Night, I dreamed of it as a finished book, an object that could be held by the hand, page turned in rhythm with the scene as it unfolds. But necessity dictated otherwise. Intervention became innovation in the creation of the Internet Novel. It is not an e-book. It is not for sale. It is free to be read by anyone fluent in English. What’s more, the form allows for changes to be made, should I be so inclined. ‘Art is never finished,’ as Da Vinci said.”

Miss Rosen, photograph by Cass Bird for Paper Magazine.

Miss Rosen, photograph by Cass Bird for Paper Magazine.

Author Profile

Miss Rosen is a writer, editor, curator, event producer, and publicist based in New York. Currently the features writer and book reviewer for Le Journal de la Photographie, Miss Rosen has previously contributed stories to Code (Netherlands), Staf (Spain), Swindle, Telegraph (UK), L’Uomo Vogue, and Whitewall magazines.

From 2000–2009, Miss Rosen was Senior Vice President of Marketing & Publicity for powerHouse Books, a photography and illustrated book publisher now based in Brooklyn. In 2005 she launched Miss Rosen Editions, her own imprint focusing on contemporary urban culture. She published 15 art, photography, memoir, and fiction titles with authors including Boogie, Martha Cooper, and Charlie Ahearn.

As curator, Miss Rosen has organized several exhibitions including the Lucie Awards’ “Best of Show” (2009); “Nature of a City” launching the Timberland store in New York (2009); “That 70s Show” (2007) and “No Sleep ‘til Brooklyn” (2006), both at powerHouse Arena, Brooklyn; “Ricky Powell: Public Access” (2005) and “Peter Sutherland: Autograf” (2004), both at colette, Paris, and at the former powerHouse Gallery, New York.

In conjunction with the exhibitions that she curated for the Arena, Miss Rosen launched powerHouse magazine (2006–2009), a twice-yearly publication organized around a single theme, which was in equal parts a provocative cultural investigation, innovative exhibition catalogue, and sophisticated product brochure.

As Vice President of Marketing & Publicity, Miss Rosen conceptualized and executed campaigns for some 45 books annually. Her career highlights include the Vandal Squad panel discussion at the powerHouse Arena, (2009); “We B*Girlz: A 25th Anniversary Breakin’ Event at Lincoln Center Out of Doors” (2006); the graffiti episode of NBC’s “The Apprentice” (2005); and the Hilhaven Lodge party at Robert Evans’ Beverly Hills estate (2003).

Photograph by William Mortensen

Photograph by William Mortensen

sweet dreams

March 9, 2013

For the first time in my life, I had the dream of being naked in public. I dreamed I was jogging through Central Park, wearing pink panties. At some point, I grabbed my breasts, partly to cover them, partly to stop them from bouncing up and down.

I remember in the dream, finally having the courage to look at other people. When I did, I realized most of them were undressed as well, though all of them were wearing more clothes than me. Strange thing was, no one even glanced my way.

I realized, as self conscious as I felt, maybe I was also an exhibitionist; after all, I left the house in this skimpy little outfit. I remember feeling proud of my body and ashamed at the same time, fascinated by how emotions are not mutually exclusive. And so it was then that I understood the real risk I took—

What the hell was I doing jogging through Central Park without any shoes on?

When I saw Erykah Badu’s video for Window Seat, all those emotions came back vividly. My fear. My pride. And the realization inside: The world cannot see what is stripped bare right before its eyes.

upon my lips ~

February 21, 2013

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tha smella weed is in my hair and my skin and my very being. It smells like early mornings with the window open and the sky turning violet blue lilac pink bliss, like late lunches or brunches with ice coffee and cigarettes, like fun afternoons with mixed drinks maybe mojitos made by hand and dinner parties, dinners made in the kitchen while bottles of wine go upside down into glass decanters that pour through lips over and over again, like cocktails after work (work) (what is work), like sunsets never seen and stars blocked by the haze of New York at night and it’s after midnight, afterhours, after all we are alone in this.

it smells like ten o clock in the garden of nineteenth and dinner is on the table, a spread for kings and queens and me I don’t eat meat and still I am living for this is life and me, I am in the presence of so many people I would never otherwise know were not for that which seems random but maybe thas not so. Ju know what I’m talkinn bout, I’m sitting in the garden on a chair of wrought iron with a plate fulls goodness and the spliff’s cominn this way and I’m sure to be drinking white wine, eternally frozen in this moment, and I’m inhaling and I’m holding and exhaling and inhaling and I feel this thing and it takes over me so slowly like I’m swimming through a cloud and wow I like this cause I’m not goinn anywhere everywhere at the same time and I am lost then found then nothing at all, evaporated and all that remains is this, a puff of smoke coming out my mouth and floating through the world until it smells like nothing so much as heaven and I am here, dirty and pure.

And I’m in the garden with the snake —what up— talkinn about munchies and I have to stop eating because you can’t have it all because less is more and the laws of style always apply. I’m thinking apple, something big and shiny and red and it gleams like my eyes, like your blood upon my lips. what. Yes. I’m thinking I don’t crave blood even tho I am Transylvanian. But I don’t crave anything except —shit—I crave it all— give me the apple & I will learn.

Weed smells like weed smells like did I just say that twice. Yea I love to hear words as rhythms and tones and flows until they stop making sense and that’s Talking Heads, THC, did I eva tell you bout the time I saw David Byrne? Neva mind me, HE was wearing seersucker and his hair was perfectly white and it’s lush, a pompadour of historic heights. And that’s what happens to me, words become brushstrokes only I am using my fingers to paint and sometimes I’m not listening to the words, just the sound of the keys on the board going la di da di everybody just hey hello how you doinn like somethinn is happeninn here if it’s only me goinn one two one two ~*~

Mirella Nania. Giuradei / (Picicca Dischi, 2013)

Mirella Nania. Giuradei / (Picicca Dischi, 2013)

I’m on the town, cobblestones under the Manhattan Bridge. Four after noon and a glass of Malbec. I sit at the bar with my notebook but I ignore it for my phone so I can type these words ::

Eternity exists beyond all frames.
We connect across lifetimes.
We are souls that flow through the ether,
time collapses even if
we haven’t seen each other since 2000 BC.
Fruit loops truuu but thas me.
.
And then I return to the page, and make lists, stack words alongside each other, break it into components and suddenly I see .. me .. a story half written and one two begin. Time collapses and my curls spin. Might be the wine. Thas just possible. Check, please.

“It’s on the house,” bartender tells me. “Our floor manager finds you .. fetching .. ” he continues, brushing over that awkward pause casually. And I’m thinking, Ohh, I’m pulling women again.

It’s gotten—well. Tonite, I pulled a daddy. Real papa bear. Had his cub with him and he smiles and says, Hello. Just like that. And I smile bright and say G’nite or some such some yeaa. So odd it is to me, these men on the street. Gentlemen. Even the thugs. Be on their Prince Charming when they see me. I gotta give it up. God’s showing me Love ~*~

Suddenly Last Summer

February 12, 2013

Artwork by Hayley Barker

Artwork by Hayley Barker

The sun was dipping down, all kindsa low, low like a limbo, how low can you go. The sky was thick with soot and clouds and dreams and, me, I was wasted and I was feeling things, all kindsa things. I settled into a lawn chair of red and white stripes, my slipper covered feet treading through the Astroturf. In my hand was a glass of rose that wafted about like a min-tsunami before it hit my mouth. Some of it made it in, some of it made it out, some of it I wore like Chanel No. 5 parfum.

I grabbed by pen and paper, and slid into the seat, and I sat before Mr. Johnson with unbridled thirst. I didn’t know how to do what I was doing so I reverted to habit. I would simply take down every word he said and figure it out later. Notes. I was good at notes. Something happens when I set my hand to page, something happens when I am listening and writing and reading at the same time, when my brain uses sound and sight and touch in the service of the Word.

And as I sat there with my pen poised, we began to talk, and as we talked I soon discovered, it would not work as I thought. I did not control, could not control, I did not own. It was not mine to have and to hold, but mine to watch patiently, silently, allow it to unfold. I had to listen, and listen with my whole being. I had to let the words in, let them wash over me, let them wash me of my preconceptions not only of who and where and why and what but of the how itself, of the how it is the story gets told.

Mr. Johnson continued to speak, as he often does, leading me to ideas without spoon feeding them to me. Because these ideas are not his, and they are not mine, but they are what exists in the space between us and it was this night, this night that I listened and then I heard something I never knew. Meaning is found in the space between the words.

Negative space. It is what holds everything together. It is always what you cannot see that creates a presence. It is the space around the letter than holds its form, and it is the space in between the words that allowed Guttenberg to typeset the very first printed book on earth.

Of course it would come to pass that I have begun meditating on the very idea of the written word, of how aberrant it is in the course of human history, about how illiteracy has always been and remains status quo for most people born. About how the written word has accelerated “progress” to the point that we are at odds with Nature herself, about how the written word is perhaps the problem, the cause of all horrors we never speak, do not understand, refuse to acknowledge. About how the written word is a curse and a blessing and my métier. The Word is my cross to bear. It is what I do, what I must do, why I am here, why I have suffered, why pain is real.

But more than this, the Word reminds me there is a way out. That permanency is an illusion and all I have is this moment. That even if, even if, even if, or even if—none of that matters. All I have is what I am and how I manifest so long as this flame burns.

Day One: What is your greatest strength as a writer?

Listening. To the voices that guide me. To the space in between the words. To that which is beyond our understanding but demands that we acknowledge it on our own terms. Listening to the unspoken, the untold, the unsaid. Listening to the pitches and the frequencies the human ear can’t hear. Listening to the laughter and the screams and the sobs. Listening with my heart and mind, body and soul.

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Photographs by Tim Horn

theme from a dream

February 5, 2013

Artwork by Ruby Ray

Artwork by Ruby Ray

J. Krishnamurti said—

OF THE MANY things we might talk over together, one of the most obvious and important is about why we do not change. We may change a little bit, here and there, in patches, but why do we not fundamentally change our whole way of behaviour, our way of life, our daily nature? Technologically the world about us is advancing with extraordinary speed, while inwardly we remain more or less the same as we have been for centuries upon centuries.

Caught as we are in this trap – and it is a dreadful trap – one wonders why we don’t break through, why we remain heavy and stupid, empty, shallow-minded, superficial and rather dull. Is it because we do not know ourselves? Leaving aside the ideas of the various specialists, with their peculiar assertions and dogmas, we see that we have never really investigated ourselves, gone into ourselves deeply to find out what we actually are.

Is that the reason why we do not change? Or is it that one has not got the energy? Or because we are bored – not only with ourselves but also with the world, a world which has very little to offer except motor cars, bigger bathrooms and all the rest of it? So we are bored outwardly and, probably, also with ourselves because we are caught in the trap and don’t know how to get out of it. It is also likely that we are very lazy. Furthermore, in knowing ourselves there is no profit, no reward at the end of it, whereas most of us are conditioned by the profit-motive.

These, then, may be some of the reasons why we do not change. We know what the trap is, we know what life is, and yet we go trudging along monotonously and wearily until we die. That seems to be our lot. And yet, is it so difficult to go into ourselves very deeply and transform ourselves? I wonder if one has ever looked at oneself, known oneself? From ancient times this has been reiterated over and over again: “Know thyself”. In India it was postulated, the ancient Greeks repeated the advice, while modern philosophers are also attempting to say it, complicated only by their jargon and their theories.

Can one know oneself – not only at the conscious level but also at the deeper, secret levels of the mind? Without self-knowledge, surely, one has no basis for any real, serious action, no foundation upon which to build clearly. If one doesn’t know oneself, one lives such a superficial life. You may be very clever, you may know all the books in the world and be able to quote from them, but if you do not know yourself, how can you go beyond the superficial? Is it possible to know oneself so completely that, in the very observation of that total self, there is a release?

As human beings, I think we should be able to find out what death is while still living; and also what love is, because that is part of our life, our daily living. Can we inquire into ourselves without any fear or bias, without any formula or conclusion, to find out what we are?

Such an inquiry demands freedom. One cannot inquire into oneself, or into the universe of which one is a part, unless there is freedom – freedom from hypotheses, theories and conclusions, freedom from bias. Moreover, to inquire one needs a sharp mind, a mind that has been made sensitive. But the mind is not sensitive if there is any form of bias, thus rendering it incapable of any real inquiry into this whole structure of the self.

So let us go into this question together, not only through verbal communication but also non-verbally, which is much more exciting and which demands a much greater energy of attention. When one is free to inquire, one has the energy. One has not got the energy, the drive, the necessary intensity, when one has already reached a conclusion, a formula. So, for the time being, can we put away all our formulas, conclusions and biases about ourselves – what we are, what we should and should not be and all the rest of it – put these aside and actually observe?

male privilege

October 23, 2012

So it happens like this. I get off the train and cross the platform and I’m typing on my Blackberry. Lists. Everything is This. I am on escapades and I didn’t smoke no weed so I got energy. Gotta burn it off so I set my brain on whirl & I’ve got all these ideas, all these pieces of the pie, flavor for days like Baskin Robbins, say I heard they got this peanut butta cup number so umm ..

What I’m talkinn bout? Ohh right. Train station, I’m doing that annoying thing, typing while walking along. But I do it all the time and don’t think nothing of it so I’m kinda surprised when this guy steps to me talking about, When you got off the train you lit up this place. It’s your walk.

And he talks but real low and I do not move forward. Hell I don’t even put the phone down. I’m looking at the screen trying to type thinking he’ll walk away but he don’t and he keep talkinn but low like I miss half of it til finally he just say, Can I leave my business card with you?

I’m not available.

Ohh you got a special man in your life?

But on the real, can you look a man in the eye and say, No. Thas just cruel so you smile and look at them like, Bye?

Guys never think it’s them. Male privilege.

i want candy ~

October 18, 2012

the return

October 10, 2012

Casa Signorina Rosita at Villa Lina, photograph by Stacey Keith

The farm was beautiful. Fields of pears and grapes and olives and kiwis and hazelnuts and cypress trees and Roman pines and fresh dew in the grass every morning and a universe of stars in the sky at night. And burly herding dogs with luscious coats of thick white fur that adopted me into their pack and took me on a private tour, leading me all the way up to the northernmost point so we could lull in the grass, them chewing tall blades and me, body gold in the sun. And a lazy morning doing laundry in the sink and hanging it on the line to dry, wearing a lil tank top and jean skirt and no shoes, thinking I could live this life. Italy, this is me. It’s so slow and unhurried and about beauty and love and sex and food and pleasure and poetry and to hear Dante in Italian, I am thinking I will learn the language for my next trip ..

It was cold and wet in the mornings then bright shiny sun and blue skies and bees buzzing and birds chirping and the sounds of pen against paper because there were no computers. Just (wo)man as nature designed.

gonn with tha floww ~

August 31, 2012

i heard from Mr. Brown
he’s in Prague
and his words and his vibe and his smile
and him sayinn YES
(in capital letters all big and mmm yeaa)
reminds me of what i came here to do

so i am out
peace see ya lata
one day, some day, it is meant to be

~*~

the space between us

August 9, 2012

I meet Truth with a cold bottle of rose and pour myself a glass and drink it fast like it’s water from an oasis because… it is. I pour myself a second glass and drink it less fast but not at all slow and still I feel nothing or, rather, I don’t feel nothing yet. I am waiting for the click, the click of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and I’m holdinn on Brick, but it’s just no use.

I slide down down down I slide and I like the way it feels because I feel nothing and nothing is my everything yes. Because that’s a lie. I know the Truth in a way that I haven’t ever let myself be honest. I’m looking at my phone and I’m walking down the street and the flagstones are wide and dry and the air is damp and sweet. And I’m saying, I’m saying I already knew I was lying and that I was never swept away because there was no one sweeping up nothing except me—

How strange this pain that’s in my heart for it is soft and warm and vibrating quietly as it fades with each word that I type. It is a pain of pleasure and the pleasure of pain and it is my First Love, and it will always be and it is not at all sane.

Hayy. Wet eyes that are dry and a smile that slides back into the ether and what is seeking me I can never know. How strange to imagine being sought as though such a desire could be manifest by anyone else.

And yet, the space between us is. Is. It’s pieces of the puzzle and I don’t know what to do because I want to Do rather than to Be because being confuses with its darkness and mysteries. Inspiration is a mystery and for me mystery is most enthralling with possibility. No boundaries. Nothing but my dreams to live or simply to dream because…

It is all within me and I look without because I love that pain in my heart like I hate myself. And I could know this without ever knowing a thing and I only feel what is real only what is real isn’t Truth, it is just me being…

it was all a dream

August 6, 2012

until the next breath ~

July 31, 2012

One of my favorite books is The Art of Living by Epictetus, a first century Greek slave. The premise is that within the mind we have the power to liberate ourselves from how we have learned to think and behave. I love this book for so many reasons, perhaps most of all for the insight that the human condition never fuckinn changes. We. Are. Not. Gonna. Evolve. (as a species, that is, but we can as individuals over the course of our lives).

Why. Oh why. This is what I need to know. Not even seek. My seeking is too deep. It burns in my core more than anything else. So here’s my theory :: it’s all about the left hemisphere of the brain where language is constructed and where it is we play this game.

Only man has the distinction of having two sides, which is the most beautiful metaphor for the human condition I could ever imagine. Whereas all other animals are whole, without division of the brain. They are fully in sync with Nature, both their purpose in life as well as in full acceptance of, dare I say surrender to, their place in the grand design. Creation and Destruction and Re-Creation is the way of the Universe.

But man, ohh Man, we have this blessing and this curse and it is the split of the brain and from it gave birth… The Word.

The Word. The Word. Mistaken as God. But me, no, I revere God and I revere the Word and I see the Word as this thing that we have been given for reasons I know not. Because the Word is The Way we have both subjugated Nature and Ourselves at the same time.

The crux of it is :: the Word is not the thing itself. The Word is but a hollow echo of the ineffable. And I don’t (yet) know why but our brains hunger to believe that the Word is an acceptable proxy for the thing itself. But the Word will keep me searching for that answer so long as I draw breath.

Because.

This is what I have come here to do.

Here’s where it gets dicey. When we (mis)take the Word for the thing, we are doomed to play its game and its very nature echoes the division of the brain. Duality is the greatest illusion of all and yet we fall into its trap and ohhh how we love to fall.

Sweet pain and pleasure, and pleasure in pain. The Word is such. The Word keeps us trapped by letting us think we are liberated. Ha Ha Ha. The Word is the ultimate Fool, yet all the same, as Epictetus shows us—with the Word itself—we are and shall always be Kings and Queens of our fate.

Freedom is knowing you are master of your destiny. I discover these words written by Black Medici this morning. And then I remember in a dream, I was told Destiny is the handshake between God and Man. I have been thinking of freedom and destiny for so long that it appears everywhere I look. Because I want (damn want) so much more than Death is Freedom to be My Truth.

So I am thinking freedom is a state of flux, just like everything else. Thing is my flux is so intense, so extreme. I’ve been smiling at people on the street like, Ohh I bet they have no idea. Not that I will eva know, either, how it is for them. Perhaps the tradeoff for not feeling this thang is to lie in a shallow grave perfectly content. Who is to say what is best? Or that best even exists. Perhaps what is best is just… acceptance of what you get and taking your own power to make the most of it.

Still I admire the possibility that such thing exists, a calm teetertottering and not this rollercoaster ride. And still, all the same, I accept that this is me and this is how I be. And that despite this blazing conflagration of irony, I use the Word to investigate like a detective or an archaeologist or someone who digs deep, to speak the ineffable in search of the unseen.

But, you see, this is a trick. This is the ultimate trick. The more I use the Word the more I am trapped in its grip.

I love it! I hate it!
This is Me.

Yesterday I wrote I didn’t want to admit the Word is my master. But today, I believe.

Cause…

Admission is acceptance. Acceptance is peace. Surrender is release. Release is freedom. Until the next breath…

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