I’ve realized I have seen more Passion Plays than I knew. I come back, here, again. Today is another dispossessed day. News forms around emotions. I stopped believing in Saviors a long time ago. The ending is predictable. From above and from below, inside and out, this internalized desire for external validation starts feeling like an intentional defense. In 1971, James Baldwin said something will rest something will remain. Retraction survives in all this chatter. Context protecting accusers are familiar to me. I learned that language at home and in school. Resale is always at a premium. Redo. Undo. Redo again. Coffee and tiger’s eye stone, water, land and sky meet angled. This, now, is the everything I’ve ever wanted.
I find peace inside California’s winter weather changes. They remind me I was never in control. During the eclipse, I dreamt girls were fist fighting under street lights. I woke up centered and kept all that scattered energy lodged between the spaces of my teeth.
Shock. Then awe. This is what they warned us about. Civic intimacies have been breeched. Residents clutch their pearl-handled pistols. Our movies show us acting surprised while winter mouths stay covered. Sighs are lodged inaudible.
Bound by the length of light, time arouses. I take these sacred fascinations and wrap myself soft and deep as the high tides. I search for conscience affect in its rawest and wildest form. This is a new year of stimulated objections. We have been warned.
title reference to: ‘The grave of the Russian composer Alfred Schnittke in Novodevichye Cemetery in Moscow is surmounted by a stone on which is engraved a rest beneath a fermata with a triple forte noted at the bottom: A very, very loud extended silence.’ —John Biguenet, Silence (London: Bloomsbury, 2015), p.49.
What a savage year. Calendar time and actual time disassociated. Let go or be dragged. I got dragged and then I let go. In this protracted state, I mended critical boundaries and broke open new patterns. I made the days useful to me. I wrote about cowboys while breathing in fire. I listened and was seduced. I transmuted silence, my way. Drowning in manufactured violence and drama, we held each other longer and tighter. I saw urgency extract exquisite ideas and leave behind ghosts still in motion. Recognizing that glitch, I give myself infinite permission to fail, to risk, to revive. I still believe revolutions are frenetic desires and armor myself contextually. Curiosity is my ideal pace. I follow cats and poets. I came into this world greedy. I need reminders when my body grips fear: be awake for soft pink sunrises and orange suns floating into fading darkness. It is my responsibility to source these personal validations and ritualize inspiration. Reflex grace. Find balance in distractions and create sacred ceremonies with your hands on my hips.
maybe I do want you to feel intimidated by me
I want a revolution as reckless as cowboys with broken backs.
Throwing restraint to the western winds, a favorable direction,
& towards that edge where darkness is shaped into possibility,
I wait familiar in shy quiet impatient.
I want a revolution as prolific as chants for collective safety.
Born from burn scars so large you can see it from a distant
universe, a reminder we will never be in control so long as
money motivates our hustle for pretentious liberation.
I want a revolution as tender as loving in present tense.
An immediacy that respects our inherited kinetic energies.
Until then, I’ll gather productive & discover curious tensions
sensual as thunder replying to lightening’s transfiguring danger.
In protest and in wealth, I want a revolution that gives as much as it takes.
as perennial pipelines heat prairie homes
I dream of drifting oceans & waves of snow
I have been told so many times & so many ways
this world is ending
so I’ve taken to stealing lines on borrowed time
somewhere in this self-immolation is discipline
the denomination of need
I. Writing; an act of stroking paper.
II. The aggressiveness of buying and selling resistance, as seen on TV, makes me wanna disassociate.
III. Competitions of sadness are trauma tiers.
IV. It’s ok that I don’t fit in she says.
V. If I write a word today, just one, that must be enough.
I almost never buy in bulk, although I appreciate the expression of commitment. My lack of bulk desire is rooted in one of those childhoods funneled through scarcity politics, of all kinds: spirit, body, voice, resources, access, stimulation. My earliest taste of cultural politics were synthetic extractions grounded in epic narratives of fatherly protection. A practice endured through sacrifice.
There was a seduction to all that nurturing, an attention and encouragement to focus on one’s most intimate self—the soul. If followed correctly, there would be saving.
In all that repetitive redemption, there was a sense of safety—false as it was. I ache for those early feelings of learning about abundance. When the simple was profound, like the sound of snow falling.
These days are starting to feel retrograde, astrologically speaking an illusion. My dreams are looping, again. I’m taking all these memories, the bulk of them, and feeling nothing but an offering to grieve for what was taken, withheld, starved. An invitation of acceptance, a different kind of suffering.
“Most of the time, I think we’re embodied because we are supposed to be. I don’t think the goal is to leave our bodies behind, despite what many major religions tell us.” — Dana Levin
things that are abundant
have less value,
A cheap cadence
mutated and wound
around a swelling chorus.
Shut tight. Loud as bodies.
Imagine if we answered
all those blushed curious inquiries
and followed constellations
to rewrite retrogrades.
Speaking softly enough to
understand its sacred feedback.
title is William Stafford’s reference to “that feeling you have when you go along accepting what occurs to you and finding your way out somewhere to the rim where you are ready to abandon that sequence and come back and start all over again” (Writing the Australian Crawl)
I don’t swim away from
the greedy snapping of breath,
but my throat…well,
terror owns each kiss.
stanza from “Here” by Amber Flora Thomas
As waves of morning light
survive extravagant centuries
I follow a thread of words
primary gravity safety
broken just enough to fit in
I am at war with the obvious. —William Eggleston
I get nervous when people start talking about wanting to own things:
land, houses, ideas.
This present moment feels like freedom,
a highly volatile state.
In my dream, I walked US-Highway 12.
I passed community banks flush with bartered dreams
and gas stations promising consistently low prices when paying with cash.
The ghosts all drove cars and didn’t bother me.
Lucid, I believed I was back in Berlin. I was brave.
I woke to trees taller than houses.
“There’s always a lot to do before you get to go to heaven.”
— Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
when the sun sets pink, orange, and red
broken moving clouds spread
like velvet like compulsion
action stretches idle smooth
reading read is different from hearing read spoken
or why I adore hiding words in my throat
formerly private as guilt
what came first
like states of being with
or without you
regenerative loops: believing in a tomorrow
I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.
T.S. Eliot, from ‘Preludes (IV)’, The Waste Land and Other Poems
concerts of effort
sounds better inside a fragment
forgive that this starts out so slow
posting at me to me with me
I’m casual to realize
to follow your our vision
is to be organized into spacial moments — threads
a witness of curation
the: father son and holy spirit
faith is within your standing
some think it is earned
as for me I was taught to be innocent
later learning curiosity had its own beneficiaries
a lesson on just how few original ideas are assigned majestic
fueling dark appreciations for wild abstractions
until it is as uncommon as creating reminders to breathe
I know this all sounds strange
you can call it: new wave vengeance
she was ruled by suggestion
rising to meet pre-summer light
he suggested we advance an aesthetic education¹ to get what we want
types of promises full and drawn from expansive inhibitions
scattering chaos beyond an endlessly deferred absent presence²
suspended in seductive panics
we are nothing but restless territories
within this gossip of change
she spins out a series of poems about mirrors
in pursuit she hunts for theoretical pleasures
positioning against as something for
glittering distorted at its apex
1. Roberto Bedoya, Oakland Cultural Affairs Manager
2. Ben Anderson in Modulating the Excess of Affect, a reference to morale as the horizon of governance
“the first 50 hours of resurrection are beautiful,”
says the man holding the door
–Tongo Eisen-Martin, excerpt from remove my heart racing, and babylon is fine
we learn to trust wars: cola, sex, cold. as acceptance forms rules, we smooth out the most deprived ideas and prioritize all threats as urgent. in theatres of conflict, repetition is grandeur. this translation officially makes mob landscapes familiar.
that’s why when your hands brushed against my sharpest edges: my heart, my gaze, my inordinate sense of danger; I felt intimacy performed as spacial intervention, an interlude. your fingers interrogated and found hard answers wrapped around tender legacy. we became undone. mapping unearned dreams onto each other’s gravitational pull, an attraction, we made our own stars.
future philosophers will discover these tensions and name them holy
did that love
arousal is an anchor
like empathetic inquiry
or side show hustles
form finds its subject
we commit to process
over outcome, again
shift to abundance of solutions
technically we are identical
with differences called out
our unconscious a shared language
the news repeats:
it is a drowning
an act of mercy
stretching beyond monetary value: this is more freedom than security can buy
if I wake up open to what will unfold
I am ready to claim I had a good day
specific as memories stored in the creases of expanding curves
& still I rescue myself when hope feels violent as an open hand
where fortune’s fault line is externalized validation
nested into dreams of trying to get somewhere
my body craves stillness
I press the coffee before anything begins
remember when we took turns burning wishes into the folds of our stomachs?
it was the safest place we could think of
no one dared touch us
I heard you took my name
and sewed it into your eyelids
stitches fragile as trusting strangers & friends
an exquisite waltz like light shining in distant flat darkness
Our bones are built of spirals. – Joy Harjo
our wildest prophetic imagination
has led us here: a shattering of sex
calm & concentrated
I saw two waves lock
like elk horns
truth of feelings
as charm offensives
as wet feathers
smoothness is both a measure and a lack of roughness
Geh in der Verwandlung aus und ein.
[Be conversant with transformation.]
— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonette an Orpheus
i believe in omens
and my own ability to shatter and reform
— Jill Khoury, excerpt from “Sixteen”
oh righteous revelry
please indulge this faithful attempt to clarify
so many modern relationships still lean feudalistic
as nobles dance to blue note promises & scheme for eternal life
it rings visionary to trust what is mine was never yours to take
a redundant mythology now inadequate as waning winter light
temporarily, we sense an emerging surrender to the hushed hues of sexual panics
on a grand scale psychic interiors were smoothed flat like apathy or political truths
there was a collective ache for a state of respite from all this revolutionary suffering
as conviction loops into endless realities it is our sacred duty to carve out revelations
we are only possible when testimonies illuminate just beyond the sharp edges of darkness
“And is is strange how experiences blend and enhance each other.” — William Stafford
It is not that what I know today is necessarily different from what I knew yesterday, or that I have replaced prior knowledge with a brand new extended spectrum of understanding. It is more subtle than a transaction, more gracefully defined as complexity. This feels like transformation. A shift.
Love fits into this equation as a multiplier. The critical variables that come next are a matter of routine, a particular and conscious genre. A ritual.
There is always more. A compilation.
In the distance, cars traveling the freeway became an auditory illusion of waves successively breaking on a transitory shore. The vehicular friction of simultaneous opposing directions creates a lullaby of persistence. Out of that euphony, a collective future sways.
Scientists agree that’s why our horizon is in flux.
I am from a place where personal belief in immortality shelters empty and expansive isolation. A place where desire modestly tucks itself into sanctioned quiet spaces. Its slow release is championed as strength, a virtue. Imagine all that repression sharpened into secret symphonies. How the fantasy of that released deviance dances in mortal bodies designed to betray through lust.
We return to where we came from.
There is purpose in the orchestration of such retrograde energy. As that motivation braids itself to creative practice, my habitual search for external validation has gone missing. This translation, more joy than sorrow, is a different remedy for endurance. The harvest is ready and yielding.
“you might as well answer the door, my child, the truth is knocking.” — Lucille Clifton
the hand’s sensitive intelligence
a found erotic reference
dangerous as a nation divided
beggars and thieves and other
whispering cacophonous choruses
our fears spill into codes
a new kind of Reconstruction
stumbling into mosaic beauty
he said the issue is not opportunity
while we stay flat footed, even in heels
summer jackets hide shame
in that way, it is easy
what is beneath the surface begs
remaining grounded has a sinister side
backlash by way of prophetic referent
Wherever I go they quote people
who talk too much, the ones who
do not care, just so they can take the center
and call the plans.
— William Stafford (excerpt from Deerslayer’s Campfire Talk)
sifting accents, hardwood hustles, and transitory migrations
this is a time for wild-from-abandon imagination
blame the devil or self-manipulation for this perception
like the draw of a well positioned salt lick
he spoke of competition for promised visibility
extending territory by adjusting the frame of domination
even though desire and loss are higher forms of inspiration
we feel motivated by such assurances
taking all of this as seriously as reflections that have no anchor
if it’s true there is more hope in intention
let that reality bruise
Have you noticed the ports are heavily guarded?
Sea-salted windows cast sun shadows.
Layered cloudy fog entwined itself.
Such magnificent light!
We regenerate like tides.
As often as unjust references stick
to justified historical consequences.
This is not about you. Please stand back.
Relentless as waves and immeasurable as release,
we stand on shores carved by power.
Oh yes! We do want revolution.
In these dreams, we are holy reverence.
It’s not about truth. It is about faith. An orientation where the future has cult status. This brand of dislocation has been exalted to attract maximum anticipation.
keeper of promises
a prophetic mothering
finally overcome, the sun pushes the moon to perform
Our bodies warm with use.
Your eyes close in respect.
Private consumption whetted.
This is my origin: he celebrated our birth with strangers while she bled alone. As romantic as it may sound, this is not an apology.
“Pale with the secret war of feeling.” — Charlotte Brönte
If there is something you need to say
say it now. We all have a way of moving
ever so gradually to our respective corners.
Misfortune finds the deserving; a symbiotic betrayal.
Extractive in nature, asking for what you want exceeds
loyalty. Linear in scope, this practice is my liberation.
Lips seek softness.
Teeth form defense.
What are the standard deviations of love?
Light’s capacity is to fill darkness.
Protect me from what I have learned.
May all justice be transformative.
At the end of the day
desire always wins.
Tender hooks of undulation.
“The deep is in riot, the coastline is quiet…” Archers of Loaf, Chumming the Ocean
the entrance is always different
always dramatic, the clouds look bruised
chaos its own predictability
then a King of Cups tarot card was pulled
light appeared filtered as if from inside a cathedral
poetics expand silently like prayer
temptation deserves awareness
that feeling: listen
unwound to their most fragile state
this is ephemeral revelation
sunsets are starting to look Pacific coast again
pink light lengthening its reach
as clouds become incarnations of stampeding horses
(apocalyptic if that is your orientation)
the crown of flowers was her own creation
made from remnants of first-date napkins
forming a graceful relationship to reciprocity
those echoes found delayed in repressed rhythms
where she returns to these kinds of questions
as murmurations as stimulations as exchanges
(our intimacies measured by exhale)
she dreamt in currency, in time
scaling up as undoing: euphoric
this consecration mine and yours
I’m here in a room and I have things arranged.
I have them likened to code, so they can often be changed. — Karate, Bass Sounds
I haven’t found the perfect way to describe you
sincerely shouting victories is something else entirely
the sun rose bland and round
that space between sky and water
absorbed all this energy
such openness feels chosen
I taste frustration on your breath
advancing in spirit and stature
aggression is its own logic
he hit you for the same reasons
he hit us: for your own good
a model of volatile benevolence
in political frameworks, the body does betray
waking up becomes a compulsion
reengineering you get what you ask for
I send this postscript as an invitation
News cycles are dominated by Russian dramas.
No one mentions rape in context anymore.
We’ve taken solace by decoding mass rhetoric.
I can imagine you beautiful and calm.
Our wandering like scrolling.
This landscape so literal.
Receipts as evidence as expressions.
Fisted conclusions neglect.
A rote search for light in darkness.
Time stretches into manufactured units.
By heart standards, this feels eternal.
Populist hyperbole interpreted as desire feels
Some argue identity is residual.
You know it by its attributes.
These compulsory dreams are viral transfers.
Motives unmoored as debts to consent bloom.
Layered political pontifications soothe like lullabies.
I dare you to find love in this absence.
Liberation aside, how does this make you feel?
Inductive reasoning seduces. It penetrates.
Yes, this conversation is a calculated intermission.
Wait. This is my understanding of your manipulations.
A respite of obviousness – of borders unarmed.
Let us, both, reductively fade into this capture.
Is irony the binary of literal?
Receptivity is a form and function of power.
Tree tops soften from light’s pressure as rays break to bend.
Collusive collaborations are their own manufactured commodities.
This contemporary capital vision is a muted song from the past.
Borrowed promises, fallowed lives, and lustful rationalizations are systemic desire lines, whose paths of consequence are worn clear. Your biases are showing. Bad.
We, all of us, are reclaiming pleasure.
Things are so intimate, so personal, these days.
Tensions and conflicts splayed.
We leave literary marks as evidence.
On whose authority is the question we need to be asking.
A different way of understanding omniscience. Please validate.
My sacred spaces need me.
We ignore the narrator by only focusing on the frame.
The city moves, bends, and swallows.
An act of congress, a coming together.
He presented himself to me. I kissed, gently,
his upper thigh. Curated outfits, a collection of pants
and blouses, roll past me. Lunches bounce inside bags.
I keep writing to feel around the noise. Reinvested
memories, commitments, and occasional flashes of violence.
Internalized scandals are my own reputation to manage.
The train was crowded. No one could complain
about unwanted touching. I imagined her hand
moving slowly, without detection, up and between
my legs. Her fingers, warm and steady, found
their destination. Leaving behind permanent
invisible notes, secrets scrawled on the inside.
Messages shared as rumors as indisputable
associations like light shining through solid objects.
Make me laugh so I can stop breathing in this sadness.
There is suspicion around all this effort. Parcel out the doses.
Not all poems are meant to be serious, or anything at all.
The ocean is self-conscious in that healthy enlightened way.
Gratitude notwithstanding how this will unfold is mine to own.
Each admittance a proxy for loving so deeply.
Frames are other’s dramatic interpretations.
Never forget water dissolves rock and values aren’t talking points.
Your subjective reputation precedes you, so does your community.
Create your own triplines. Let go of tipping points. Launch reflexive debates.
Send shock waves of radical thoughts, mythologize perversions, and make hope relentless.
Narrate yourself beyond binaries. Imagine yourself unbought.
It’s familiar. A disguise as common as the East Bay Bridge wrapped in a nest of clouds. We learn early to reinforce reductionist tendencies into a path of least resistance. They deny rules have been written down. We witness endless unrequited anticipations.
Promises of love remain unfulfilled. Your acts of caring were abusive. An informant, linguistically speaking, is the expert of a community. When I tell you the sun broke the clouds, spread them, cracked them open I want you to believe me.
We harvested each other. Consent became an avalanche. Absorbing your urges felt like being wanted. It was a match. A pattern. Magnificent corruptions of circumstances. I woke up afraid and believed I was loved.
These edges are sharp yet relaxed as confidence.
My hand holds your fist. Repetition an arc.
Self-care is self-defense.
I want to put you in a light that will hurt your eyes – Polvo, Feather of Forgiveness
He said he was going to take a walk around the block to clear his mind. Stretch his legs. Escape. He never came back. A map of states’s preferences for corn or potato chips forever frozen on his desktop screen.
Battle for references, a retirement to the absence of —
On Wednesday, I was reminded artists should “support each other religiously.” This community-level policy is seductive, whose root is “to lead astray.” Oceans of context transfer nervous energy. Is thinking out loud unprofessional?
Partisan frames explain our borders, infilled voids.
It’s come down to semiotic analysis of utterances. This weekly cathartic release looping endlessly to create a low frequency hiss. A similar process to the way valleys take the weight, form, and shape of foggy mornings or as secure as refuge.
“…abstractions of bureaucracy and government and capital destroy real, actual, human bodies.” –Daniel Borzutzky
there was a request to have erotic mean more
to expand beyond the perverse
a subjective benediction
intimate corporeal wishes
like hope or joy
in that moment I was nothing
I was forever
beyond a body
my ideas are infinite
when you touched me
it reminded me of when I stopped asking questions
simply, repeatedly letting go
[such a sky and such a sun
i never knew and neither did you
and everybody never breathed
quite so many kinds of yes]
— E.E. Cummings
We’ve come undone, cumulatively, in the same way that Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring warns. Ruled by misunderstandings, which is to say we are ruled by no one in particular, norms are large-scale projects of self-consciousness. It’s public infrastructure.
The ocean goes nowhere except to meet itself.
A private sensation, a mix of urging and friction.
Days bleed into opinion. It is not enough to simply be.
All this pressure to perform as heaven’s rewards remain on layaway.
I want to be inside that pejorative energy. Transposed survival.
Cut. Then paste. Seasons as witness to predictions that light seeks light.
each day unwinds into itself
each one of us an appetite
context is so specific
his throat tatooed punk
another directed his gaze
I gave him what he wanted
performative resistance as lifestyle
Let’s hold each other with a tenderness we never earned.
I humbly confess I have no strategic solutions, today.
Tomorrow does not exist within our current embrace.
Messages were slow to be received.
Communications were tangled passing through enemy lines.
All arbitrary and always binding, like paper hearts.
Solicitous profit tied up with bright strings of gratitude.
This time of year pulls tension to the height of joy.
Shadows flash, sparkle even.
Conscientiously objecting is expression beyond fragility of emotion.
There’s a masculine way to do this or something more powerful.
Place bets on queerly stacked decks as panic breeds discos.
All this, and more unsaid, guides us like the promise of beginner’s luck.
Glory bound towards trust towards you towards truth.
Come back. Let’s fight.
what is your habit energy?
We perform our own strategies of consumption.
My short-term memories are hidden between my thighs.
Othered desires are masks. But for whose protection?
Entertainment is currently discounted as politics.
Feeling expendability like breath like faith.
You can order custom misfortunes or xxx or standard subjectifications.
Our stories are our truths.
This is my museum-quality curated experience.
The earth shook itself awake this morning.
With a low-key grumble and heavy embodied motion
our unnested Russian cat dolls fell, one by one.
The unnerved mountains had no comment.
We took a collective breath as clouds lined up like teeth
and moved gently to memorialize our survival.
As witness to the sublime, we occupied time.
Santayana, the philosopher, said history is nothing but recorded dreams.
The poet Stafford said divine is more of a claim.
Those stanzas are now trending.
There is a way to be in this world and this must be it.
experts have named our environment “rape culture”
fueled by an economy that exports & imports incertitude
funny how even the state’s gospel won’t accept no
even with a sovereign request
another way fringed borders bleed reciprocity
thick as oil as war as water
desire can transform anything
corporeal physics as vim and vigor
like soft kisses melting hard intentions
it’s why embodiment alludes enlightenment
& landscapes matter when our eyes close
horizons become their own grounding binary
pressure is a gilded warning signal
jouissance its own casual experience
how deeply our metaphors inform us
as angels, as deviants, as complicit
love is in here somewhere, or should be
Did you know we have started living in isolation to prepare for colonizing Mars?
There is dedicated front cover news space to our collective denial about the basics of life on this planet: water, menstruation, dignity. A particular death-wish resistance to facts because we can’t face our feelings; our responsibility as witness to 24-hour broadcasted cruelty. Gripping so tightly to distance, we can think only about scale not urgency.
The 1960 Valdivia earthquake data reads like an ultrasound of the earth’s surface. What’s at our center?
“An ellipse is richer than a circle. It possesses two centers. It’s a dialogue.” — Louise Bourgeois
Those smallest details of absence and desire go almost unnoticed, felt as impetus. A survivor’s mentality. An orientation to want (hunger) as something outside of you, something to be experienced. Unapologetic formations to desire are apocryphal stories of purpose. They hold between their lines our remaining humanities. Revelation is all around us. A range no longer than a row of buttons.
I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.
If not, it can’t be helped.
Fritz Perls, “Gestalt Therapy Verbatim,” 1969
We walked for miles. We strolled through residential neighborhoods that were eerily perfect. We were trespassing on a movie set about how “the other half” lives. Cars matched their houses. We didn’t come from such a manicured upbringing. Where I’m calling from is a place that bragged about its austerity.
There have been many days, far too many, when you tell me to breathe. The calming technique of composing emails in my mind as I try to sleep isn’t working and neither is remembering to breathe. The tightness in my chest is beginning to feel good, which is really bad. Hedonism is our weekend priority. I have no way to properly repay you. The debt is that high.
The found fortune read: You will soon gain something you have always wanted. It’s within this dichotomy of want and need that I struggle. This journey feels mutually exclusive but the destination of finding a complementary way to live an authentic life is what I’ve always wanted.
Be my tug boat captain. And I will be yours.