sounds between notes

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

 

N Ocean Beach, July 20, 2018

As waves of morning light
survive extravagant centuries
I follow a thread of words
primary   gravity   safety
broken just enough to fit in

sortilege

Efficacious Grace, notebook. Jonathan Edwards, 1703-1758

Thursday was a broken conversation.
My voice silent as the air around me.
Buried and born again,
I made the day useful to me.

Friday was open secrets.
My voice tuned the melody of a cable car.
Found ideas inside words,
I made the day useful to me.

Saturday was repetition of witnessing.
My voice cracked open at its spine.
Threading connections,
I made the day useful to me.

Tomorrow will absorb sounds
of irresistible landscapes
each graceful expression
recited courageous.

theories

Manuel Calvo, Sin título, 1960

I.  spam is a language and a strategy

II. our hearts are rabbit holes

I.  interstates *need* mirrored billboards

Inflections reflect emphasis, and opening and closings. Some days I think being ___ is the best way to survive. An existence spread. That feels aspirational in vision and phonetically embodied. A form of capacity.  Or dispossession. A bridge as much as a boundary.

attention

there will be days
where you have the chance
porque si
there will be ways to say yes
how do we si
there will be reasons for hope   whether you like it or not
(excerpt and detail from found poem, San Francisco, Nov 17, 2017)

our stories rush towards truth
details sharpened into mouthfeel
violence ritualized as cadence

ancient patterns worn thin like contempt
or: how we are all subject to trafficked ideas
still   —   even skies can break down, softly

our distance to attention is a deceptive magic
you learn clarity prefers to love with purpose
this seduction a result of (re)producing evocations

curation guards to protect what others bury
a claim to territory disassociated and devoured
persuasion is found wedged within such righteous exclamations

our daily interruptions have turned personal
yes, it is profitable to reproduce moods
softly familiar to the saturation point of haunting

incantations

The best training is to read and write, no matter what. Don’t lie with a lover or roommate who doesn’t respect your work. Don’t lie, buy time, borrow to buy time. Write what will stop your breath if you don’t write. — Grace Paley

August 1, 2017 4:37pm
the distance between desire and longing
is roughly equidistant from rest to action
an example of survival often mistaken for apathy

she sewed buttons into her hair
a dramatic effect predicated on a mastery
of threading security into her technique

as we battle for restoration
peered juries declare in tandem
forcing over-reliance on pardons

such concealment illuminates justice
that eclipse is yours to influence
subtle benedictions common as moon rises

pussy whipped

If you are a private poet, then your vocabulary is limited by your obsessions.
— Richard Hugo, The Triggering Town

hedonism by genis carreras
hedonism (the ethical position that pleasure is the ultimate goal and greatest good, and should be the central aim of all decisions made) by genis carreras

It’s a fact. Cycles sync. It is October, 2016. The word pussy is in our mouths again. Full and heavy bodied, it’s paired with a specific violence as naturalized as an inherited ownership tone. This is the fetishized frequency of law and order.

*** you’ve got to stack it so it’s stable – Low, No Comprende ***

So this is what whiplash from a mass capture of imagination feels like. A forced common image. Pussy, for now, functions as an ironic partisan anchor, while still maintaining its gendered significations.

What is the whole of this historical objectification of our parts? Patriarchal logic argues that this violence of disassociation is necessary and even desired. This detachment is inherent in our economic theories, consumer-based language, and mass-produced representations.

We learn, repeatedly, there are far more serious and urgent issues to concern ourselves with than ritualized gender-based violence. We are dismissed. We are told to question less and obey more.

*** underneath this hood you kiss, I tick like bomb – Perfume Genius, Hood ***

We perform this idealized creed through a perpetual liturgy of demure expressions in a culture that protects mobs of high-volume denials. This contemporary shrill masculinity is socially recycled into discourses that tap into an idolization of individual perspective. For most, this illusion only creates isolation.

Manipulating the dark side of vulnerability isn’t a new strategy to win elections, or maintain control. What feels different this Presidential election cycle is the dredge of cultural material to mine and the hypervoyeurism that has been produced. Public and private boundaries are as unstable as our contemporary understanding of when virtual becomes reality.

As we bare witness to the misogyny that rages beneath all our sacred institutions, may the soundtrack to this ride to November include Magnet by Bikini Kill.

I’m keeping this advice on a loop: I’ve got the love that’s strong and not weak.

holon

Christian Furr, That My Heart Should Explode with Tenderness (from the Juissance series), 2015 Inkjet with hand painting in acrylic with diamond dust on linen
Christian Furr, That My Heart Should Explode with Tenderness (from the Juissance series), 2015 Inkjet with hand painting in acrylic with diamond dust on linen

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

untitled

wet
waiting to burst
low-flying clouds hang
this city visualizes virtually
while dreams bloom in analog

I must (screen capture by Atlee)
I must (screen capture by Atlee)

our breath is always moving
the pace of trees bending to find light

confession is my way of speech
the faithful will recognize these signs

she asked me about grief // I thought about honor

visceral

“Art has to be disturbing.” Marina Abramović

He wrapped his hands around her throat and told her she was good.

This was their mutual understanding.
A feeling of being surrounded in pleasure, an abstraction.

A chorus bleeding into verse, chorus, and back to verse.
Then, and now, a reminder that metaphors are not to be taken literally.

My mouth went numb from atrophy.
When prompted, not quite coerced,
revelations of agency were produced.

Or maybe this could all be about the light or a phrase turned into image –
brilliance unspoken.

squad politics

Camile Paglia is a seductive writer. She also is very aware that she’s entitled to her opinion.

Camille Paglia Takes on Taylor Swift, Hollywood’s #GirlSquad Culture is a slope of cascading arguments. She urges a broad demographic of “women in Hollywood” to “aim higher and transcend a narrow gender factionalism that thrives on grievance.” Paglia does this by reminding us of the past is a way to demand better of the future.

She maps “squad” as a term and concept to 90s hip-hop culture.

Arriving at a boundary of solidarity, she challenges the reader to not be tricked into defaming masculinity. She connects masculinity to strategies that have avoided “sexual jealousy, emotionalism and spiteful turf wars that sometimes dog women.” Is this what being a man feels like?

It’s an interesting charge for us to study the “immensely productive dynamic of male bonding in history,” which assumes male bonding has been productive and that production has been positive. This is where her contradictory ahistorical argument wanders into abstract proposition.

Yet Paglia’s scolding tone is enticing and visionary. “For women to leave a lasting mark on culture, they need to cut down on the socializing and focus like a laser on their own creative gifts.” Let us be blessed and count our fortune to be in a squad that is “about mentoring, exchanging advice and experience and launching exciting and innovative joint projects.”

What is driving this iteration of the gender wars propensity to want to thrive on grievance? Is it the emotionalism or the sexual jealousy that Pagila names?

Connection, collaboration, and bonding (which requires affection and trust in order to be safe and healthy) are the inherent politics of any community-oriented experience, regardless of gender assignments. It is a shame those practices have accumulated such heavy and fractured gendered prescriptions.

Kept in the Hollywood gaze, as Pagila has strategically framed, the reader is reminded, as consumers of said culture, that supporting girl squads can be a way towards “expanding female power in Hollywood.” Let’s hope that power doesn’t replicate the same product as the boys.

harbor

threads
knots
unravelling builds strength

misogynist men keep wives to seed the next generation

we is first person plural
as a twin, this feels political and personal

oh haven of somatic resilience

what if lust is a reaction of little understood consequences?

The stones of Örelid, an Iron Age burial ground with standing stones in a field of rye, Sweden, 1930
The stones of Örelid, an Iron Age burial ground with standing stones in a field of rye, Sweden, 1930

noble silence

we are our own private property – B

"NG BABY" May14
“NG BABY”, May14

The voices most common to me end with the sound of a question.
It’s that curl at the end, a curiosity unspoken.
There’s a particular consciousness when I hear that familial cadence.
Prompts that possess risk and assumed uncertainty.

Yale Ave N, May14
Yale Ave N, May14

The sun was an escort that morning.
A morning with purpose and mummified mandarins.
This and other routines becoming orientations –
a private relationship with temporality.

somewhere over WI, April14
somewhere over MI or WI, April14

In silence, I see violence.
In breath, I think sex.
In the pornography of my dreams,
you know you can’t fuck me like that
and then act like I’m fragile. That is
a subtlety best reserved for detachment.

wake

Are you the aggressive one? The one I ask for?

San Francisco Dec15
San Francisco Dec15

I never finished bell hooks book about love.

Cleveland Nov03
Cleveland Nov03 (photo by Atlee)

The body speaks. A language born of vigilance.
An effort that does not deviate. In the same way
cyclical is about more than repetition and less
becomes obvious. Those times when scarcity
is a luxury of desire (thought) or when home
is opposite of feeling (being) love. Seasons nested
between gaps of wants, things you don’t need,
taking without realizing its cost.

Rome March08
Rome March08

What is left behind in this wake?
A free fall. A slow fade. A disclosure.
What is it that makes us different?
Tracing boundaries of shared recognition.

future tense

I read the words “indulgence in loss” after absorbing the previous passage “and that kind of indulgence is understandable, but it’s regressive.” Regressive had been defined as, “when you celebrate something you know you’re going to leave.” (William Stafford interview)

west coast
west coast sunset

Haunting thoughts dance between those words – a performance perfected through practice.

comfort kills
comfort kills

William Stafford notes what a person is shows up in what a person does.
Those habits are manifestations.

studio 45 March15
studio 54 March15

No longer abstractions, unable to able to hold my breath, I surrender.

suffix

“Because there’s 40 different shades of black…” Pavement Elevate Me Later

Found at the Melodee 2-28-15
Found at the Mel-O-Dee
2-28-15

I promise to hold your gaze, even those that are unwanted.
Or the erotic retelling of my life as told through your eyes.

2-15-15 1:12pm
2-25-15 1:12pm

I.
It is the specifics that matter when we confess. Some may believe that is enough. The confession is the means to the end. But what would happen if we thought of that release as the beginning?

Until that expositional moment, those words, thoughts, opinions are internalized truths that are ours alone to own and to hold. Now they are all of ours to absorb, to manage, to learn from, and to let go to make room for what we do not yet know.

II.

Please forgive me. I did what I was told to do. I was bound to pick up bad habits after all those hours of witnessing evangelizing and attempts at redemption.

I was taught over and over again, no matter what I did, I was never going to be good enough. I was taught my body was not mine and out of my control. I am just now understanding how much obvious violence, subtle and insidious, is needed to give your soul away.

III.

There is a primacy in this ritual of naming, recording, and distilling into something that only I understand. I won’t be so naive to think that a mirror’s only job is to reflect.

IV.

Geographies contain multipliers.
They are containers of dreams,
a space for visions.

It’s where we found and honed our instincts.

call me

“I make certain that my head is connected to my body.” – Minutemen, It’s Expected I’m Gone

artist: Johannes Huwe
artist: Johannes Huwe

At one point in the evening the phrase “prone to invasion” slipped past your lips. It tumbled forward and danced around until I realized it was a reference to Poland, and then it meant something else entirely different. At least that’s the way I remember it.  The way my body froze at the gendered implications of such a legacy that is so ordinary and so common that there is no insurance to prevent it from happening. A form of dissipation found the moment when there is nothing to do but take the next breath. That kind of static state is familiar. It was the same sensation as when I recognized the end of the sermon was close because the preacher moved us towards righteousness and away from forgiveness.

the politics of penetration

I’m seven essays deep into The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure. There are new terms to embrace like “pink films” (Japanese softcore porn) and breathless realizations around phrases like “the key to mutual confidence–risk.” The essays couple academic stimulation with real-world sensations. As the infamous Betsy Dodson so aptly notes, “all forms of sex were [are] an exchange of power, whether it was [is] conscious or unconscious.”

erotic visions
erotic visions

The politics around (re)production, representation, and the permeable moral high ground of porn – “feminist” or not – are chapters of a story that pivot on domination and release. Who’s on top and who is really getting what they asked for? What lies beneath most of the antiporn rhetoric (which is intimately coupled with conservative ideas about the purpose of sex; hint: it’s not pleasure) are “sexual panics” around fluid concepts of decency, normalcy, and obscenity. All of these convictions, and more, build towards a formula that reflects standardized shots designed to maximize profit.

I like Susie Bright’s pithy assessment “porn arouses to distraction” to describe what porn actually does.

In the essay “Emotional Truths and Thrilling Slide Shows,” Smith & Attwood theorize “in making arguments for free speech, its proponents often cede the ground that some forms of pornography are indeed awful, damaging, and to be abhorred, thereby confirming the basic analysis that there is something intrinsically problematic about both the cultural forms of sexual representation and those who seek them out.” This sounds similar to the soundtrack around abortion rights and reproductive freedom in general. This ceded ground leaves the usual suspects, non-wealthy, gender non-conforming, and non-white, maintaining the space of deviance. That is until there is a reason to play with that resistance.

A sexy choice to make, if you can access it.

habit

“But we can not move theory into action unless we can find it in the eccentric and wandering ways of our daily life.” – Minnie Bruce Pratt from S/He

San Francisco Aug12
San Francisco Aug12

I like how this quote has settled in my mind. I interpret the words wandering, action and daily life to my own understanding of who I am. I linger on the accuracy of eccentric to describe an intent of searching beyond the center and the active practice of valuing differences in order to evolve.

These days, long distance doesn’t have the same meaning.  Information travels faster than ever before, even heavy news from home moves nimbly.

 

 

It is important to find ways to routinely calibrate where the center lies; I need to be reminded of how far I’ve wandered. Control is no longer a theoretical exercise lost in mindless wrong turns.

We can’t afford to forget how much we give away. Establishing this habit is how we’ll remember the way home.

Oakland Oct13
Oakland Oct13

sine qua non

Artist: Cornelie Tollens Emotions, 1997
Artist: Cornelie Tollens
Emotions, 1997

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.

ritual as routine

When I feel you around me, I believe in our revolution. I hold that privilege tightly.

match
Piedmont, CA 1.27.13 (a vice president kind of day)

During those early morning hours
before the sun’s ambient light assumes its warmth-
orange crush sunrise-
we bury the obvious.

Open your mouth and change my mind.
Convince me that I’m wrong:
critique has become a mechanism to police,
a consequence of systemic illiteracy.

Wait, did you hear the good news?
Pro-choice is now pro-context.
An attempt to amplify reality yet
the burden of semantics remains
unquestioned.

tension of being there

artist: Love Light
artist: Love Light

Echos of news surround us.

That’s why we’ve learned to trust the sources that are closest to us; we assume them to be less distorted. There is catharsis in hearing our own voices.

Internalizing warm winter light’s revelations and recognizing our shadows are valuable endeavors this time of year.

I’ve recently calibrated how I think about boundaries; setting them and maintaining them. Initially, I saw boundaries as limiting. They had been described as methods to protect and ways to feel safe but that assumes too much maintenance on the individual end.

I am left wondering who holds the accountability.

We grow up learning about consent and boundaries the minute we start breathing. We learn the hard way or not at all.

I now see boundaries as better ways to make choices. They are not barriers but starting points. The borders that defined my early existence – rural, isolated, working poor, father’s anger, mother’s depression, lack, distance – so clearly shaped my understanding of choice and, what was often the case denial, that I feel no shame in coming to such an obvious conclusion so late in life.

I wish only to revel in this renunciation of limits.

double-wide metaphors

Their eyes were watching themselves and reflected within that view is perspective.

There is a theory about details.
The more I tell you,
the more you understand.

Metaphors equalize our experience.
Styles of prosody evoke phenomenal communication.
Haptic messages are their own discourse of truth.

I want to study the paralinguistics of this city.
Exploring the affective emotions of neighborhoods, I want to absorb its expressions.
Articulations bind.

Lured by the universality of circumstance, I solicit details.

Die Erde überwältigt mich

equalized by our repressions

artist: Arvida Bystrom

What you give, you get.

Thursday I ran my fingers over the white picket fence posts so I could feel something solid. Like the first signs of spring, it takes a while to recognize life returning from a winter of discontent.

I sat up, spine straight, in the oasis of the Redwood park. It felt good; right. The ferns danced from the wind of man-made machines. The landscape is preemptively changing. I choose to see joy in change, in evolution.

When I am lost, I return to what I know.

This current journey of (re)discovery has yielded results unexpected. To quote Gloria Anzaldúa, “For if she changed her relationship to her body and that in turn changed her relationship to another’s body then she would change her relationship to the world.” Anzaldúa was a seminal force in my understanding of the potential and the power of having a sense of self shaped by feminism.

When I first found her words, Gloria’s naked honesty about del otro lado resonated with how I was beginning to make sense of how my childhood landscape of isolation did not have to equate desolation. I found a language and an epistemology that planted seeds of joy in the shadows of my repressed desires and restrained possibilities. Her intimate and radical belief in an inclusive identity, a rejection of fragmentation, was revolutionary. More so as an identical twin. I returned to her words a month ago, through an impulsive purchase in a Portland bookstore, and once again found solid ground to stand.

When I was in Portland, a stranger asked me, “What’s the upshot?” I think the answer is change, which implies transformation.

transformation of silence

“Tell them about how you’re never really a whole person if you remain silent, because there’s always that one little piece inside you that wants to be spoken out, and if you keep ignoring it, it gets madder and madder and hotter and hotter, and if you don’t speak it out one day it will just jump up and punch you in the mouth from the inside.”
– quote from Audre Lorde’s daughter from Transformation of Silence into Language and Action (emphasis mine)

This is one reason why I make this noise, this hum, this yelp.

The bruises from internal punches can be obvious, or not. There are theories that bruises are a form of capital, both of a physical and cultural nature, which could be read as an alternative to the above suggestion that you can’t be a whole person if you remain silent. It’s more complicated than silent and not silent.

There are multitudes of expressions – a thousand decibels within loud, within clamor, and within the deafening silence of quiet. “Silence” does not always equal subjugation. I reject this definition that silence is damaging. My actions, the experiences I embody, and my interactions with others emphatically amplify me whether I choose to give voice to my ideas or not. I am not less brave, less whole, or less anything because I mute myself*.

Keep your ears open for those who mumble, stutter, or fumble their words. Be wary of those that project themselves on you. Avoid those that are incapable of being silent.

The only thing I remember from The Bell Jar was the moss that grew on her body from her attempted suicide, her protracted nap in the basement, and the crushing validation that no one noticed she was gone. The point is that she got up, moss covered, and walked up the stairs.

“I don’t talk loud enough you say, is this loud enough for you?” — Watchmaker, Excuse 17

___________________________________

* obviously this is within context and obviously I contradict myself

marginalia

winter illumination

I carry my desires inside me.
They do not materialize
despite their settlement on my tongue
and my knowledge of a decent vocabulary.

The outcome is scribbles
and occasional flashes of expression,
strings of words
like a choker.

Like a fox…

layers

After reading The Absence of a Gender Justice Framework in Social Justice Organizing by Linda Burnham, I looked up the definition of framework because I hear frame/framework used so often that its meaning has been dulled into phrase-yawning jargon. That curiosity led me to a crumb by the name of Isaiah Berlin and his infamous essay, The Hedgehog and the Fox. Berlin exhumed the ancient Greek allegory of the hedgehog (monolithic, focused) and the fox (multiplicitous, decentralized) which re-adjusted my personal feminist framework, just a little.

Burnham argues, rightly and simply, that “social justice activists operate with a woefully inadequate understanding of how the society they are trying to change actually functions.” She outlines that the danger in playing “oppression Olympics” coupled with feminism’s “tainted” reputation means gender is delegated to making the coffee not policy.  A salient quote by an interviewee eloquently demonstrates that if you don’t practice gender justice at home (i.e. every day), you won’t have a framework that will survive the fox’s pursuit of complexities. “I find that in personal relationships it’s important to create a language and a platform to discuss problems. Then you reach a threshold and eventually it becomes easier. It becomes part of the fabric of the relationship.”

Finding space to practice justice in a culture that is polarized and marginalizes for the sake of profit and protest, leaves me desperate for passion, for creation, for joy. To quote Margaret Kilgallen, “The obsession with imperfect perfection has changed my work.”

 

Easy

“My heart (and my cunt) can be had for a pithy phrase, a good one-liner, a neat couplet, or a sensational simile.”

Erica Jong Fear of Flying

20110926-093729.jpg

Sex Wars

"No smut shop here!!"

I dropped the F bomb (feminism) at work which resulted in some collateral damage of assumptions.  The axiom that feminism was an operating principle was incorrect. I was immediately sanctioned and corralled into the old folks home for such an outdated belief. Ultimately the conversation went down the lonely road of semantics and neatly buried with other land mines I am sure to step on in the future.

Good Vibrations wants to open a store in my neighborhood (see welcome wagon message in photo). It’s a small business not wanted by some who react viscerally to life or pleasure.

SlutWalks are a legitimate strategy of feminist praxis, whether you are comfortable with the word “slut” or not.

We march because we’re all “sluts” in a patriarchal culture that devalues us on the basis of being sexual, or sexualized by others. And hell, I am a sexual being, but from now on I am a sexual being on my own terms. I don’t view the word “slut” as something to take back, but rather, something to vomit onto the streets of New York. As if to say, go ahead, call me a fucking slut. I fucking dare you. … But I have an entire movement, a whole big fucking army of others just like me who aren’t taking your shit anymore.

This is not a post.

artist: martha rich

Warren Buffett wants to give cake to the poor*.

My niece will grow up thinking women running for President is normal which is lovely except that the women running for President aren’t normal.

How sad is it that even the President is unable to take a vacation? We have no leader to follow.

Libya may be revolutionized but it still looks like war to me.

This is my favorite time of year.  My ideas overflow during this return-to-school mentality. I may actually make my literal Freudian slip this year, or I may start out slow and steady by drawing my casual car pool adventures.

I learn about commas as sheepdogs and ponder the power of that kind of herding. I want to connect the things in my life that mean the most to me. I think that means I need to use a semicolon.

________

*stolen from Atlee

ironic vulnerability

Living in a state of duality is probably not helping my memory recall. There are small moments within the passing days that spark neurons to remind why you do the things you do. From brave introductions, misuse of the word ironic, and over-sharing, there is repressed anticipation at the thought of it only being a Wednesday.

It’s been sunny and dry here; I empathize for those east of me.

So it is a fact: the internet is not 24/7.

Finding joy and creativity in states of vulnerability is a theory.  Implied within this construct is choice.  What happens when you try to apply such a construct to a contemporary problem, like over 75% of the creators of “knowledge” are men or exceptions are predicated on evidence of force? Does this vulnerability manifest itself in feelings of joy or an outpouring of creative expression? This query is not to discredit a very probable logic since I see and know evidence to the contrary. I wish instead that we didn’t have to suffer vulnerability at all.

artist: jeannie phan "contour drawings"

A Century of Equality

Go here: http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/

Type feminism,gender, equality into the search bar.

Type 1910 and 2010 in the year filter.

You’ll get this graph.

Fascinating that equality has consistently existed within our language for 100 years and at the height of feminism, gender was in its glory days.

If I was a gambler, I’d pick equality to win this marathon.

feminism, gender, equality

busman’s holiday

The busman’s holiday is not only an idiom, it’s an axiom.

Reading Gender/Body/Knowledge/Feminist Reconstructions of Being and Knowing has been my vacation treat, my busman’s holiday if you will. So far (I’m up to page 92) I’ve had the intense pleasure of knowing the following:

  • “Eroticism is calm passion.” This almost turns me on.
a photo of a page of a book in Powell’s Book Store, Portland, OR
  • “…unless women can authentically voice their own desire and pleasure, then all forms of political liberation will be to no avail.” This may be why silencing women’s voice is golden in a capitalist society and “well-behaved women seldom make history.”  What is authenticity in a culture that does not allow autonomy?
  • “Woman’s body is already colonized by the hegemony of male desire; it is not your body.” Good. Let them own a body that bleeds but doesn’t die. The horror!
  • Helene Cixous invented the word “sext” in 1981. According to Cixous, sexts is a pun on sex and texts. Because the body is a text. Or as Susan Bordo so eloquently notes, “Our conscious politics, social commitments, strivings for change may be undermined and betrayed by the life of our bodies…the docile, regulated body practiced at and habituated to the rules of cultural life.”
  • “Erotic experience is extraordinary, lying somewhere between dream and daily life.”  This turns me on.

Exploring resistance and the erotic construction of building knowledge has left me feeling very satisfied.

“deodorized discourse”

After recently hearing Cornell West rap about Socratic energy (living an unexamined life is not worth living) and deodorized discourse (we aren’t talking about the issues; we’re covering up the funk, the bruises), I am hypersensitive to the cover up. There was such hope for this new decade but we find ourselves mired in factional dichotomies paralyzed at the nexus of change.  Stop me if you’ve heard this one before …

In the war on words with its battlefields littered with broken compromises, there are no coherent winners.  Our stories are false and shallow.

In the book, Bodies of Knowledge: Sexuality, Reproduction, and Women’s Health in the Second Wave, Wendy Kline exposes the battle lines around women’s knowledge of their own bodies.  She quotes sociologist Kathy Davis, “it was the method of knowledge sharing and not a shared identity as women which appeared to have a global appeal” for Our Bodies, Ourselves, the seminal catalyst for the women’s health movement. Bodies of Knowledge is an interesting exploration into who owns authentic knowledge and what Kline describes as “the inherent tension between two equally valid truths: the singularity of being female and the plurality of individual experiences among women.” (emphasis added) Klein outlines how the “personal is political” was implemented and eventually institutionalized for better or worse, neither side having a clear victory. The point was made more than once that the false paradox of body and brain, after all most of us have both, is outdated at best and divisive at worst.

Was the “personal as political” or DIY health care scalable? And if not, is that a such a bad thing? Why this need to always go global? Localizing and authenticating your epistemological standpoint within critically examined experiences might actually be worth the engagement and collateral damage. It’s the sharing of those authentic experiences that just may be the missing praxis. A symphony of critical voices who are just as fine operating within the system as around it is a worthy goal that’s often overlooked as a viable vehicle for living one’s life. Of course that shouldn’t be the only strategy for social change but it certainly sounds better than the current chorus.

As access to abortion becomes more and more difficult for the “average” woman, those of us on the body side [choice] find ourselves weary from using the master’s tools. Jane where for art thou?

artist: deedee cheriel
artist: barbara kruger

Recording

Recording every minute of your life can make you instantly nostalgic. I haven’t figured out if I enjoy that feeling of memory or I’m afraid that if I don’t write it down, I’ll forget. Both are satisfactory to me.

 

Ephemera matters

 

Here are some things that happened over the past few weeks:

  • Printing prints with numb fingers
  • Mad dress, gold shoes & ripped shirts
  • Rocking chairs & a softer hair of the dog
  • Sexual terrorism memorialized in a museum
  • A 54 year streak, broken
  • Those who were formerly known as “tea baggers” (never forget) rode a gendered Trojan horse to the mobs.
  • Rejected at the first hoop signaling my exit
  • Out of control plate of charity donuts

The rainy season has started. You plan for it, sometimes you even wish for it. Your eyes eventually adjust to the fading darkness. Looking for new perspectives, new ways of seeing, is my urban hiking goal.

Winter accomplishments this year will include cataloging subtle similarities and observing wide ranges of differences through photos and random epiphanies. Writing every minute down is not the goal. The goal is to live one’s life.

hustling

 

inertia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Communication isn’t my strength which is probably why I’m fascinated with expression of ideas.

Networks, intimate favors, and secret hand shakes are the basic elements of nonprofit hustling and philanthropic giving; the great washing machine of money laundering.

I dream of effectively expressing what I really want to say without spinning cliches.

 

 

what I remember reading this week

This is in no particular order and could be paraphrased:

  • simple words have more meanings
  • empowering women will save lives
  • female desire is hard to chemically produce
  • email will soon be like the telephone call
  • giving 50% is the best you can do
  • license plates that ended in xxx

precision is as precision does

I’ve been finding myself in spaces that are out of my comfort zone, the slippery slope of trying out new things and new ways of thinking. Yesterday was no exception. The irony of sitting through a precision workshop for eight hours was not lost on me. It was noted that I think out loud which pretty much takes me off the executive track or even the ability to meet with the executives. [Note to self: celebrate and honor this] Learning the language of Power was the hidden subtext of the day’s activities.

The workshop was an immersion into a hyper-masculine way of thinking and ultimately practice of precision. Learning how to answer concisely is not a bad thing and learning how to ask questions that are more direct isn’t either. It’s the big picture of how these techniques are used to influence conversation and potentially alienate those who don’t think this way (i.e. non-executives or people who are not in positions of Power) that left me drained, drained of hope and creativity. It also left me with a new-found skill of listening for this technique so that I may either avoid or engage. Fight or flight.

Now I wish I didn’t hear it all around me.

Assholes

You know you’ve had an interesting week when you start and end with two profound comments about assholes.

The beginning of week started with a conversation about life’s eternal struggle – finding a job that satisfies.

One person’s perspective on the dream job:

  • work on projects you love
  • avoid assholes
  • get paid enough to travel to far off lands

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The end of the week was enlightened by a Kiki Smith lecture.  A lecture of casual f-bombs (feminism), deconstruction, self-determination, changing forms (drops: blood to rain to milk), animal hair, fighting like hell to not be culturally owned, flipping meaning, and embracing then utilizing contradictions. Kiki Smith called herself a “self-righteous asshole.” She was irreverent and brilliant.

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Strengthening the power of interpretation, having the courage to envision, and demanding to be dynamic in a static culture, these are a few things on my to-do list.

The 60’s

“Everything was simple, and direct. Cause and effect were good buddies back then; thesis and reality hugged each other like it was the most natural thing in the world. … A Pre-History of Late-Stage Capitalism – that’s my own personal name for that age.”
– excerpt from A Folklore For My Generation, from Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami.

The Web of Life

According to the American Family Association, one of the most cost effective ways to minister pregnant women who don’t know all of their pregnancy options is to use the internet. Never mind that these are the same folks who advocate that women shouldn’t learn how they could get pregnant in the first place.

A quick Google of “abortion” yields over 42 million choices. Choices that need to be sifted through carefully – no matter what side of the fence you ride.

With the impending confirmation of Alito, choice may become nostalgia. Will the sky fall? No. Will the land of freedom be further defined to include only the suffix? Unfortunately.

Accurate information that doesn’t fall into a binary didactic linguistic nightmare is a rare commodity in this age of “truthiness.

Signify Me

“…The signifieds butt heads with the signifiers. And we all fall down slackjawed to marvel at words.”
-Joanna Newsome

BRIT HUME: You took a question the other day about Iraqi casualties.

And you used the number 30,000. First of all, why did you decide to take those questions after you made a speech, which presumably you were hoping might be the news of the day? And the second thing is, where’d you get the number 30,000?

BUSH: I thought about – the morning of the trip, I thought it would be kind of an interesting diversion, in a sense. In other words, people expect one thing, and sometimes to do the unexpected in the public arena helps draw attention to a speech that might – I can’t say would’ve been ignored, but sometimes it’s hard for me to burn through the filter.

Secondly, that was a number that’s been floating around the public. You know, it was a number that was in the press. The 30,000 Iraqis, I must tell you, it’s speculative. I don’t think anybody knows the exact number. What’s important for the American people to know is that our mission in Iraq is to target the guilty and protect the innocent. That’s what you go over with precision weapons and good intelligence. The terrorists’ mission in Iraq is to target the innocent.

 

Grab the Bull by the Horns


Why does PETA think parading naked women will make “Homeland Security Mom” and “Nascar Dad america” throw down their steak knives and join the animal rights movement?

The human cutlets exhibition, the Pamela Anderson lettuce bikini, and the “naked fur” blitzes are just a few examples of how PETA chooses to relay their anti-meat message. Their formula of human (mostly women) as sexualized object equals don’t eat flesh message is lost in the tits and ass eye candy media stunts. Water cooler discussions rarely focus on the complex dynamics of eating flesh, the digestion of murder, and the environmental damage of sustaining such a barbaric lifestyle. It’s hard enough explaining to the average bloodmouth that being a vegetarian isn’t that freaky or that hard. PETA continues to frame their public media actions in such a sexist way it makes it that much harder to discuss the topic in a non-juvenile way.

Images of violence bombard our screens everyday. Continuing to use sexist images and cliché slogans doesn’t help save anything except the current hierarchy. I doubt the millions of cattle in america’s feedlots care that a few stereotypical hotties giggling behind their homogeneous placards are doing it for them. When they cry out as their throats are slit for the mcburger they are about to become, the naked flesh of a PR release means nothing.

Pattern Recognition

Bush said: “It’s important for people to know that I’m the president of everybody.”

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The military is barred from recruiting anyone who takes the drug Ritalin, commonly prescribed for attention deficit disorder. That alone makes about 4% of all high school seniors ineligible for the military, according to a National Institute on Drug Abuse survey. The military also doesn’t take asthmatics, bed-wetters, or anyone with flat feet.

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“I’m not a protester, and I don’t like protesting,” she says. “But I want to make a statement, to be a statement.” – protester outside Terry Shaivo’s hospice March 29, 2005

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McDonald’s is 50 years old:

Jean Baudrillard said the Big Mac is “the degree zero of food.” A product ubiquitous to the point of invisibility.

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The closest he or any of his fellow soldiers came to wearing ear protection was stuffing “squirrel tampons” (cigarette filters) into their ears.