Skirt Split, 2004, Rebecca Veit
Belonging is a complicated emotion when you believe in evolution. Some are left behind, they were meant to shape you in that way, some never leave.
The process of memory making is based on the function of desire. Some are created at will, curated for that purpose, some are forged from static circumstances.
There is so much to fear and so much to gain when home is retrograde. Crystalized as realizations – remember preferring light to sun and syzygy to eclipses?
If I continue to remember, it guarantees I never forget. There were words said, words that hurt more than touch, and the origin of my continued resistance.
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If I told you there are members of our society
who want to regulate menstruation,
will you finally see their strategies of brutality?
Hot spring nights remind me of
places where towns have edges.
All of us carry desire and violence.
Eyes like mouths, wanting -
dirty pillows, tight skirts, faceless crowds:
negatives transformed into positives.
california sunset: as seen through a bathroom window
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Artist: Cornelie Tollens
We joke about taking it all the way as the planets revolve around us. Facing one another, like borders, we exchange memories as cash and carry each others extremes to calibrate our balances.
In What Is Found There, Adrienne Rich notes that the core of metaphors are “resemblance in difference.” And Gloria Anzaldua said, “The resistance to change in a person is in direct proportion to the number of dead metaphors that person carries.” There is much to explore within these spaces of similarity and syncretistic juxtapositions. Metaphors are essential ingredients, catalysts really, that shape how we will tell others what we see.
Navigating aspects of a culture, one that feels more about reading and performing than being, only partially explains my reoccurring dreams of stairs. Traveling east to the prairie to fulfill a mission that will close a chapter of home that has few memories that aren’t seeped in melancholic filters may be another immediate interpretation. It’s equally likely, and as obvious, this vision is based on that lost time in Chicago. The recalled memory is only violent sound: bones on concrete.
All these core stories want to be told.
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Artist: Masao Yamamoto
I learned the hard way
how to measure
concrete’s rebound hardness.
I remember only
gravity and deliverance.
I want intimacy expanded.
struggling to breathe
dissolves my disgrace.
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artist: Milk Lake
A woman with giant silver hoop earrings
the inside dangling with wooden replicas of Africa
(mistakenly thought to be Texas)
eats a whole roast beef sandwich in one minute
then wipes the evidence on the inside of her blue wool coat.
A cart filled with: two drums, a cymbal, and two orange Home Depot buckets
(acting as drums)
rolls into a man reading Sovereignty and Authenticity
as a woman says “making $105,000 a year is exploitation”.
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If I tell you what I saw, will you believe me?
From above, I saw how the earth had moved without our knowledge. Valleys had given themselves up to dominating elevations. Prairies were scraped flat, a different testimony to what glacial change means.
From above, I thought about: identity, obscenity, serenity.
The work was to empower the privileged to speak on behalf of silenced and marginalized voices. Advocating inside the offices of Capitol Hill, DC is a right afforded to few.
There were not enough stories to validate identities instead there were infinite ways to reinforce obscenities like money spent on an individual is the best way to create systemic change or even though it hasn’t happened yet, it’s already happened.
My skills to dissociate, an effective strategy for appearing calm, positioned me to surrender. Feeling both my role as apostle and a shepherd, I embodied my entitlements and forgave myself for leading without conviction.
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photo by B
The town where I was born has a museum that specializes in local history. The museum’s fame was ownership of a found prehistoric fossil. This piece of stone was remarkably well preserved, the spine of the evolved animal clearly intact. It turned out this grand jewel, this generational crowd pleaser, was actually a piece of broken feather from the statue of Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux holy man.
Local assholes used to ram the monument with their pickup trucks knocking the bust of Sitting Bull’s head off its pedestal and they’d shoot into the Sacagawea monument for fun. We used to try to count all the bullet holes during those long summers we were lucky enough to visit my grandparents.
Grandma Nancy and Grandpa Pinky’s ranch was only a few miles from the monuments. Their house was a special and magical place. There were lamps that turned on by touching plant leaves and a dining table that was the go-to place to listen to the reporting of current events and visions of the future.
I remember summers where cousins divided themselves along the intractable wedge of Boy George’s sexuality and Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA blared from the back of pickup trucks that drove too fast down roads that were just tire ruts imprinted on the rich prairie soil. We killed and then saved the frogs, saw monsters rise from ponds, and were oblivious to the violence around us.
I want to tell my dying grandfather that I will never forget that burned cowhide is the smell of money. I want to tell him that his house was a refuge, a site of culture and learning about a world larger than I could imagine. I want to ask him if he remembers the fossilized feather and if he heard any of those shootings.
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