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.
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
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.
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.
Christmas fell on a Sunday, as ordinary as on a Tuesday.
Wants were absence so we honored each other’s realizations.
A modern birth narrative.
Liturgy presupposes witness as its baseline function.
Transitions have made you partisan.
Dancing as walking.
Sidewalks are walls.
Stoplights are lamps.
Eating as warfare.
Bombs are poems.
We find comfort in staying warm and undefeated.
I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center. –Kurt Vonnegut
I was radicalized. Force-fed ancient beliefs. Required to center sin instead of self. Drank from an endless well of false promises – an afterlife.
Then I learned the sun holds all our light. Holy fact: sunsets are 8-minute delayed images of an absent sun. Divine visuals of calculated perspective.
Beg for satisfaction. Wring hands and gnash teeth. Look past stains of neglect. Ordain historical trauma as profit. Prick arousal.
One morning, after I left, I walked into buttery light. The City coated in its luminescence. Clouds billowed pink and shone unconsciously.
Acknowledge how ghosts bleed out.
Embellish for clarity’s sake.
Honor nothing but this subtle effort.
If you are a private poet, then your vocabulary is limited by your obsessions.
— Richard Hugo, The Triggering Town
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.
Have you noticed love is always on sale and violence is on demand?
she dug deep, and still,
my hips held position
walking through clouds of words
hearing only “baby”
performing radical distortion, always inward
personally speaking, “no” is aspirational
** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
Lately, this fevered responsibility begs for:
- cultural affection
- mass-blessed kisses
** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
She wore tights the color of sun-hidden skin.
I stole touches. Even in stillness, the body has a beat.
Oblivion’s call such a tempting response.
our days have been brighter
an optics, a behavior, of being awake
this year’s declarations:
* occupying neutrality is poetic nuance *
* embody love as deep as it can go *
* shame has subjective exchange rates *
* judge listening and justice as actions *
* what feels good and safe is happiness *
* it is ok to change your mind, to leave, to quit, to cry *
* apologies and forgiveness are patterns of endless appreciations *
“show me how to love and I’ll show you how to beg”
– Lullaby for the Working Class
anthologies of thought curated by universal themes:
resiliency, worthiness, credence
move from punishment to acceptance
towards complexity or, if fortunate, erasure
say yes when you beg
when you solicit
open inward (like a prism)
intimately filled with your effort
Kiss me hard before you go / Summertime sadness – Lana Del Ray
I remember the red, blood red, carpet.
The sun, both setting and rising,
made the western facing room feel that much warmer.
I remember the heavy dining room table,
a dark honey wood, with majestic claw feet.
This is where we were forced to cry,
to talk about the weather, money, crops.
This was the house where I realized that speaking up meant salvation,
a deliverance of blame so that others could go unpunished.
It also meant wooden spoons broken across our bodies.
There were dinners of noodles, meat, tomato sauce.
It meant mom was able to go the store.
I was grateful to have something else added to the endless supply of ground beef.
The driveway was circular,
it went nowhere and everywhere at the same time.
The dogs were treated as workers.
The horses were tall, smelled of earth and hair,
their soft velvet noses stiff with whiskers.
there is a futility in capturing light
when all orbits have remained the same
(grounded in our bodies)
watching their sway,
thigh gaps, strong arms,
the golden light was not yet warm
creating fog that caressed just the tips
of downtown, driving west, away from
the dismantled bridge
a vanishing mile marker
returning to what we know
a team of horses, a blush of boys
all self-referential codes aside
revision is a type of prayer
a methodological desire for revival
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)
Haunting thoughts dance between those words – a performance perfected through practice.
William Stafford notes what a person is shows up in what a person does.
Those habits are manifestations.
No longer abstractions, unable to able to hold my breath, I surrender.