transfixed politics

Our bones are built of spirals. – Joy Harjo

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2012

I.

our wildest prophetic imagination
has led us here: a shattering of sex
uncomfortable
deep
looking

II.

calm & concentrated
I saw two waves lock
like elk horns
then embrace

III.

truth of feelings
as charm offensives
as wet feathers

IV.

divine signs
pushing forward

V.
smoothness is both a measure and a lack of roughness

mercurial politics

Nov17 Berlin

 

 

 

I have no body; the “I” writing this has no body: not in the old way. Zones. Pressures. Here a structured tension there an underlying ache. Vital signs. Phases of disquiet not clearly demarcated from areas of peace.

— Laura Mullen, “Spectograms (projected autobiography),” Complicated Grief

 

 

Revolutions are frenetic desires. Seams stretch tight.
      familiar stimulation: swelled power and impulse

Violence precedes peace when knowledge becomes ransom.
      negative space: culture is public negotiation

Men speak in abstraction. Their distancing performative.
      economies of scale: underwhelming demands for mass hysteria

Intuition anchored. Solicited.
      a place we know

whisper networks

“And whereas one of my students asks a visiting poet about education vaguely getting at what is worth pursuing? The poet suggests looking at whatever is/was missing in one’s life and begin there. So many nods in the room around that table they acknowledge it too. In the missing: power.

— Layli Long Soldier, Whereas (page 67)

Theodoros Stamos (Greek:American, 1922-1997), Low Sun, Blue Bar, 1962, acrylic on canvas

The day Ronald Reagan died – June 5, 2004 – I absorbed the news of his death with reverie as his life was exalted by talking heads and famed acquaintances. Their rhetoric ultimately resting within that exclusive canon reserved only for legends. Crowds swarmed to pay their respects to an American actor.

In another breaking newsfeed, and still witness to a grand spectacle of publicized grief, I was transfixed as a captured tiger dangled from a helicopter high above Santa Monica, California. The majestic predator swung inside a canvas sling that looked more like a collective omen akin to a nursery-rhyme cradle.

The events were not related according to the news, yet the Overton window had widened just enough to propagate rumors into exaggerated false equivalencies. After all, time had shifted in unexplainable ways that leap year. Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” had convinced many that something had happened.

Less than a month later, the spacecraft Cassini reached Saturn (a planet associated with karmic lessons). Some speculate that Reagan’s recently released spirit had guided Cassini as it traveled the critical distance to fulfill its mission. As poetic murmurs, I gather these soft shapes into vivid memories. A gesture of truth.

rosemary

“But your pleasure understands mine.”
— Clarice Lispector, The Sharing Of Loaves

Betsy Eby (American, b. 1967), Rise, 2017. Encaustic on canvas over panel, 35 x 48 in.

at 39,000 feet clouds rose like mountains
fading to dark as the blushing sun set
then black as the thinnest winter ice

we learned to turn our wheels into those slick black icy slides
our seasonally practiced knowledge was validated as grace in chaotic transitions
when done correctly, such surrendering was active evidence of a survivor’s effort

in spring, we planted rosemary to remember our deepest buried beliefs
we harvested fresh-picked bundles and revised our most shadowed secrets
like wanting nothing but distant empty horizons and bodies that do not betray

we sculpted those now altered thoughts and declared them working dreams
trusting that our shared wishes for a braver future were coming true

we gathered sacred

holy memories

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

— T. S. Eliot

December light, 7:51am

2017 notes to 2018 self:

  • seek light / confront darkness
  • feeling worthy is a practice
  • be clear about priorities
  • inspiration is a higher form of knowledge
  • “discipline creates spaciousness”*
  • no matter how deep the ocean is, you will always find sacred land

These are my centerfold memories — the lessons I opened to over and over again.  The specifics are tenderized images of evolution unraveled, then a consecration of release. As tipping points and space to witness, revision expanded bravery and abundance shifted structures.

My past experiences have been arranged into possibility bright as desire’s capacity to make power transparent. I exorcised ghosts to bankrupt suffering. I transitioned from shame to justice. I bartered verses delicate as externalized validation. I owned my name and its history.

Absorbing only credible echoes, I dreamt I was safe and expressed joy religiously.

I wake curious.
_______________________

* Naimonu James