Flashback February: LVC National Orientation

FY17_MayaMaya Mineoi is an LVC Volunteer serving at New Horizons in Seattle, WA. Currently, Maya is staying busy as New Horizons plans to open a new shelter in the coming months. She shared the following reflection after reading “Shake the Dust” to her fellow Volunteers before they departed to their LVC cities after Orientation. The poem is a beautiful example of the intentional community LVC hopes Volunteers will form during their year of service and throughout their lives.

Above, Maya with fellow Seattle LVC Volunteers.

“Anis Mojgani’s poem Shake the Dust is powerful because as I read it, I see people from my life. People I’ve adored, people who’ve disappointed me, people I’ve fallen in love with, people I’ve ignored, and people I’ve worried about: people who remind me of me. And with all of these people in my heart and mind, I feel the desire to shake the dust of shame, selfishness, and hate from my dry bones. Each time I read it, I change a bit on the spot to reflect more of the human resilience I’ve seen; people expressing their freedom and taking care of each other.

Knowing that our lives are gifts for each other, we are urged to live fully in order to receive the abundance of life we already hold. After a 4-day orientation of lots of sitting and nerves about the year to come, it felt right to remind ourselves that at birth we have been given a deep caring love for our own selves and others. As we left Chicago on planes, trains, even dealing with broken down cars, we could leave knowing we can live up to the LVC charge to vulnerably and boldy give our lives to others and allow others to change us.”

View this post and other announcements in the February Leader Letter.

Shake the Dust by Anis Mojgani

This is for the fat girls
This is for the little brothers
This is for the schoolyard wimps and the childhood bullies that tormented them
For the former prom queen and for the milk crate ball players
For the nighttime cereal eaters
And for the retired elderly Walmart store front door greeters
Shake the dust

This is for the benches and the people sitting upon them
For the bus drivers who drive a million broken hymns
For the men who have to hold down three jobs simply to hold up their children
For the nighttime schoolers
And for the midnight bikers who are trying to fly
Shake the dust

This is for the two year olds
Who cannot be understood because they speak half English and half God
Shake the dust
For the boys with the beautiful sisters
Shake the dust
For the girls with the brothers who are going crazy
For those gym class wallflowers and the twelve year olds afraid of taking public showers
For the kid who is always late to class because he forgets the combination to his locker
For the girl who loves somebody else
Shake the dust

This is for the hard men who want love but know that it won’t come
For the ones who are forgotten
The ones the amendments do not stand up for
For the ones who are told speak only when you are spoken to
And then are never spoken to,
Speak every time you stand so you do not forget yourself
Do not let one moment go by that doesn’t remind you
That your heart, it beats 900 times every single day
And that there are enough gallons of blood to make every one of you oceans
Do not settle for letting these waves that settle
And for the dust to collect in your veins
This is for the celibate pedophile who keeps on struggling
For the poetry teachers and for the people who go on vacation alone
For the sweat that drips off of Mick Jaggers’ singing lips
And for the shaking skirt on Tina Turner’s shaking hips
For the heavens and for the hells through which Tina has lived
This is for the tired and for the dreamers
For those families that want to be like the Cleavers with perfectly made dinners
And songs like Wally and the Beaver
This is for the bigots, for the sexists, and for the killers
And for the big house pin sentenced cats becoming redeemers
And for the springtime that somehow seems to show up right after every single winter

This is for every one of you
Make sure that by the time the fisherman returns you are gone
Because just like the days I burn at both ends
And every time I write, every time I open my eyes
I’m cutting out parts of myself simply to hand them over to you

So shake the dust
And take me with you when you do for none of this has ever been for me
All that pushes and pulls
And pushes and pulls
And pushes and pulls
It pushes for you
So, grab this world by its clothespins
And shake it out again and again
And jump on top and take it for a spin
And when you hop off shake it again
For this is yours, this is yours
Make my words worth it
Make this not just some poem that I write
Not just some poem like just another night that sits heavy above us all
Walk into it, breathe it in, let it crash through the halls of your arms
Like the millions of years of millions poets
Coursing like blood, pumping and pushing
Making you live, shaking the dust
So when the world knocks at your front door
Clutch the knob tightly and open on up
And run forward and far into its widespread, greeting arms
With your hands outstretched before you
Fingertips trembling, though they may be


Anis Mojgani is an incredible spoken word poet in Austin, TX. His reading of Shake the Dust and other poems can be found here.