panic in the pocket

personal screen shot from the film “Utuqaq” by Iva Radivojević. Text reads: “There is a time/space interval between thought and fear.”

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“To imagine that turmoil is in the past and somehow we are now in a more stable time seems to be a psychological need.” —John McPhee, Assembling California

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In Audre Lorde’s 1984 Creative Writing Workshop in Berlin, she had two requirements:

  1. Read at least 10 poems a week. Keep a log of the poems—name of poem and poet—and write a sentence that will help you recall how you feel from the poem.
  2. Keep a pen/pencil and paper with you at all times to write things down (“it will not stay in your head”).

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In claiming this emotional space every week, anchors of memory and experience structure a highly unstable body of work. I arrive inhabiting this swath of living, or as Lauren Berlant said in her essay Cruel Optimism, “deflating the symbolic into the somatic”.

After all, islands are the tops of mountains. Perception as slant, signaling both perspective and insight. That sweet trigger of embodied habit. Writing from an ascetic life.

What earned reward lays in wait? Is it focus as illumination? Maybe the reward is endurance inside an anxious limbic system. Simply, a need gets satisfied. A temperance of honesty that there is no final outcome to this effort. That this predictive text, and its energy, may be read as art. That this is worthless.

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“If I resisted, I was lost. If I gave in, I was saved.” —Didier Eribon, Returning to Reims

future fluid

spill of light, Detroit 2016

For the first time in any recent memory
the sedimentary accumulation of details shift.
Cloaked like nerves and tucked inside,
we weren’t on any kind of edge at all!

Sometime, much later, Mars reflected bright
suspended above the light-polluted city limits.
Clouds clocked MPH. A smooth sense of validation.

The poets disagreed on the finer points
but we all agreed faint light still finds shadows.
Some called it art.  For now, it was simply enough.
Our tea leaves will have to broadcast what’s next.

Our questions endless: courage or nostalgia?
Our timelines no longer mediative glory holes.
We, the animals, will follow the sun rising.