salvaging

“but i am running into a new year and i beg what i love and i leave to forgive me”
— Lucille Clifton, from I am Running Into a New Year

“your dream is my nightmare,” (trans. google) Berlin 25 Oct 2019

Always, an airplane in the sky. Our big, beautiful world is dying. We string colored lights in windows. This time of year requires letting go of what cannot be undone. The freeway flows forward, always. Birds sing in tune with worn out brakes of city buses. Today I will laugh. I fear I am terrible at love. Where does the grotesque fall away and where is the real? Knees. Ribs. Pelvis. Hips a spacial reference to another’s manipulation. My body woke me in the middle of the night. I wasn’t sure if it was fair to tell you this truth. I disassociate enough to protect my sensibilities and made myself small to accommodate your vision of a world that owed you. I kept my mouth shut for fear of casting a shadow on your carefully carved out spotlight. I need new vocabulary to describe this headstrong ritual. Joy and excitement is replicable but they won’t be to scale. Yesterday I watched a woman kiss pigeons. Gently and respectfully, she kissed the bravest on their greedy beaks. In a sea of bread crumbs and feathers, she shared her love with those who surrounded her. Come back into it. My body won’t relax. I pick up the slack. Evening’s receiving light follows me home.

slow blink to xmas

Always to shine,
to shine everywhere,
to the very depth of the last days…

-Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky

Arnaldo Pomodoro, Untitled, 1984-85.

celestially speaking, we all belong to a restrictive social class
cumulative in our longings, we render dependency as emergencies
[how romantic to feel each other’s interdependent commitments]
we take our love-starved coordinates and plot collective orbits
moving at the textured pace of gravity’s grace, time fragments
do not worry, this scattering happens every year. remember?
what will you pick up and carry into tomorrow? the new year?

space-time

into the unborn world
chaos fell away
before her like a cloud
and everywhere seemed light

— third stanza from “the story thus far” by Lucille Clifton

Horizontal thoughts, 1970 – by Sigurður Guðmundsson (1942), Icelandic

smooth edges
pushed to the center
while the margins rot

carved out of necessity
which is another way to talk about love
the sky is a perfect blue

the air feels soft
I am inside
waiting for you

my thoughts
more jazz than swing
serious to the point of breakdown

rioters and militaries’ conflicts
purport purpose that has no defined end
time for lights and tinsel and tension

return to the fields, the mines,
the desks and keep your posture straight
restless monotony came for what was promised

of course all of this matters
and the wealthy still
compound our interest

morning shadows

Do me a favor this morning. Draw the curtain and come
  back to bed.
Forget the coffee. We’ll pretend
we’re in a foreign country, and in love.

Raymond Carver, last stanza of “The Road”

Helen Lundeberg, Islands, 1986. Acrylic on canvas, 127 x 127 cm.

There’s an urgency when you wake up in darkness. Instinct tells you to trust that light is coming. The sky opened a hazy lilac. Morning shadows sharpen. I’ve misinterpreted the danger inherent in matter cannot be created nor destroyed. Navigating productions, stilted formations misunderstood as lyrical responses, becomes a performance. Often, soothing a distraction.

I learned early that soft touches were to be saved for moving someone to confession, then towards salvation. For all those end-of-days Sunday warnings, I am not prepared. This is a special kind of denial, an abject version of faith.

“We should have known” has signaled subtle shaming. Didn’t you hear all those rumors?

The moon is new. At the moment, there is no wind. My body remembers this fear. My sense of distance expands in the pink layered light.

I’ve kept this on the tip of my tongue, at the rim of my mouth, inside my lungs sweet like a curated secret. I tried to write around the noise but this is the silence that found me.

competitive sacrifice

15 October 2018, Portland, OR

I.
it is the second day of spring
another war sprouted Tuesday
stacked on top of other conflicts
grocery store aisles absorb
decreased customer enthusiasm

in the beginning, even the worst mothers are forced to love unconditionally

II.
maybe there can be no peace
without bravery, sacrifice, loss

all corporations are managed at the state level

III.
I dreamt you had died

quiet forever
wanting nothing

in the morning
you were there

as if thought could not perform existence

IV.
it is the first day of winter
think about how much space light takes

enter

Out One, 1971, Jacques Rivette

“Variety, multiplicity, eroticism are difficult to control.” — Barbara Christian, The Race for Theory, 1988

the world has been ending
since humans monetized time
selling stories elegant as tree rings
interrupted only to loop

together, attention affects gravity
softly gathered in quiet
found in the folds of endurance
atoned — we focus on the migrating season

elegant in its infinite chase
an autumn sun rose ripe
peachy explosions
light bloomed dandelion bright

take my hand, let’s walk
to the edge of town
I promise our sky opens
if you listen to its longest shadows

proper exit

Alicia Eggert, This Present Moment, 2019, 96″ x 157″ x 59″, steel, neon, custom controller

Our days contain the same hours despite abbreviated light.
Fevered images imprinted on soft flesh remind
this planet orbits a beloved and nuclear star.
Sorcery or science, that’s not for me to declare.

I record the sky every morning to create fragments of an unseeable whole.

Daily witness a veritable surge measured against distance as response.
I stop when I remember your happiness is not my responsibility.
That’s the small print of being in relationship to you.

We’ve burned through time by excavating the past.
I warned you verb tenses are subjective when coupled
with mutable concepts of time. Didn’t you hear that echo?
In suspension, I ate my tongue and swallowed our blood.

I know how much you appreciate a dramatic and proper exit.

moving diagonally in a blur

Lill Tschudi (Swiss, 1911-2004), Venetian Lines I, 1950. Linocut, 26 x 28 cm. Number 16:50

god is absent these manic days
and still, we try to be our best selves
(even my plants have grown inches)

find your lazy gaze focused
there is forgiveness in being temporary
(pink light burns morning fog)

abstract detachment feels like coping
dreamy summer days tumble us smooth
(bone white clouds break open)

memory hole

We used to ask what might come after the orgy — mourning or melancholia?
Jean Baudrillard, The Illusion of the End

Martin Puryear, Woodcut for edition of Cane, by Jean Toomer (1923)

I’m trying to remember if spring always starts out this slow. Cherry blossom photos start popping up online. Winter’s scandals begin to blend into sales for sandals. Days stretch beyond blue twilight.

We desire soft power, wash out our ghosts, and pleasure places we neglected.

Us dandy men and hard women eventually repent the same—on our knees. Quietly, let us break down to the softness of desecration. Vandalize public anticipation, then escape into too much artificial light.

 

difficult knowledge

Below Zero (Fahrenheit), Lake Erie, Pennsylvania, Josef Hoflehner, 2015

as perennial pipelines heat prairie homes
I dream of drifting oceans & waves of snow

effluence      affluence

I have been told so many times & so many ways
this  world   is  ending

omen        amen

I’ve taken to stealing lines on borrowed time

censor       center

somewhere in this self-immolation is discipline
the denomination of need

vintage fascination

Gregor Beltiz, ss-titre #2, série Les boîtes des sentiments, 2012

Last year’s fire season wasn’t the first time
I took my breath for granted.
I had been choked before,
by father and daddy alike.

My body memorizes such feelings with appreciation.
This way of knowing a matrix, a structural ethic.
As fire’s light establishes rapidly diminishing distances,
tradition finds strength in time passing.

Our days are paced aggressive, a seasonal norm.
History is recorded furiously as language reflects
fractured frontlines. Be worried.
These western fires will reach you, soon.

paradox of desire

October 2018, Brooklyn

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.

 

conscientious imposter

‘I see’ ‘with my voice’ — Alice Notley, from The Decent of Alette

Note by Anne Truitt, April 1965

our learning is from the news
a nurtured condition

⁄ it is eclipse season
shadows are light  ⁄

our call is to imagine, to conceive
defend against performance-enhancing speculations

visionary blight
= fragmentations

our hands worn from self-caress
please see management

it takes a lot of energy to kill a god
Δ long division

tautology, as a fault of style

“with the evolution of awareness came the possibility that existence could be more than survival, or that survival could be more than a response to fear, and could include the encompassing of joy” — Jeremy Wolff, excerpt from the essay Thots on Pot

April 2018

Northern Plains’ cottonwoods spread their seeds this time of year
thick as snow their white progeny coat lawns and 4×4 pickup trucks
a soft blizzard similar to the way Saharan dust reached Texas this week

both are dramatic
all that settling
          (it’s probably nothing)

this feeling of apocalypse came on swift
like gaslighting
    like wildfire
        like bad news

when adoration and permissions share the same open mouth of devotion
it is recommended that you consult your prophesies to justify blanket explanations

transpose unknowing into thoughts and prayers
a crash disrupts into eventual silence

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

we gathered sacred

smash and grab

Tell me, what’s the joy of giving if you’re never pleased?
— Blood Orange, Champagne Coast

Georgia O’Keeffe, Blue-03, 1916, watercolor on paper

the sun rises at eastern edges
yellowing twilight blues

when there is nothing
rest

if there were Christmas stockings
we always had an orange in its toe

persistence can feel joyful
there is no other choice

we can be called to lead
or follow

how does that feel
really

stacked seasons

“There are dead stars that still shine because their light is trapped in time.
Where do I stand in this light, which does not strictly exist?”
— Don Delillo, Cosmopolis

artist unknown

the light, not yet warm, opens our days
we commit to memory that hope is best performed as a cognitive process
and remember: stars align themselves through proximity and gravitational pull

collapsing distances to violent midwinter visions
questions seep: how did I not know I was in danger
violations stacked delicate   //   soft brushes with unwanted space

this tail of the past curls comfortably around itself
scared animals return home, even if home is unsafe
as time sinks into litanies simple as joy is serious

our narrative clearly has a beginning, middle, and an end
because our holy bodies are sites of quantum consciousness
we swagger in possibility, we pull intuitive threads to unravel

imprints

“The sun and the moon call out, as it were, and the oceans call back. The oceans aren’t passive listeners but partners in an energetic conversation – resonance – that ultimately accentuates or diminishes the tide.” — Jonathan White, Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean

3.11.2017 Berlin

“She’s keeping time with a mystery rhyme.” — Jesus and Mary Chain

I am still learning how to perform quick good-byes.
Never witness to a proper and graceful exit
during my formative years (too young to protest)
we were more often forced to be unreliable hostages.

My history is threaded into core tensions
twisted thick as exploiting hospitality
and deep as ignoring consent. We would wait
silently at the host’s kitchen table in our winter coats
hoping with the start of a new story
that time would naturally come to an end.

Those years I learned how to be quiet
enough
holding my breath into
darkness.

I want to crack open, carefully
pull out ghosts and obsolete angels
examine where sweetness gathers as illicit responses
and rush into and out of why feeling loved is dangerous.

Private as thoughts
temporary as shorelines.

a whole orange, floating

“you might as well answer the door, my child, the truth is knocking.” — Lucille Clifton

artist: Scott Reeder, Real Fake, 2013; photo by Rachel Cromidas; location: Trump Tower, Chicago 2017

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
it howls
remaining grounded has a sinister side
backlash by way of prophetic referent

public feelings

[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

found @stacyontherocks
found @stacyontherocks

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.

cracked

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.

Cleveland Dec05
Cleveland Dec05

Liturgy presupposes witness as its baseline function.

Transitions have made you partisan.

escape
escape

Dancing as walking.
Sidewalks are walls.
Stoplights are lamps.
Eating as warfare.
Bombs are poems.

We find comfort in staying warm and undefeated.

tactics

hello Jan10
hello Jan10

each day unwinds into itself
each one of us an appetite
expansion releases
preferences: wild

context is so specific

his throat tatooed punk
another directed his gaze
I gave him what he wanted
performative resistance as lifestyle

cut on the bias

adipocere, hand embroidery on natural linen
adipocere, hand embroidery on natural linen

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.

follow the signal underneath the noise

All my dreams have wound around need.

Nov 22, 2015
Nov 22, 2015

This time of year the radiator sings at night. The gray mornings are carbon copies of Cleveland’s skies. Those years full of bravado that only darkness holds or youth demands. To the east, the pastel light spins out into easter yellows, baby blues, and softened ripe peaches.

I watched him dip his boots into the fountain, one at a time, muddied from the urban forest he was paid to curate.

When we talk about the work be explicit.

Do you care
enough?

We all have somewhere to be
someone to hold (ourselves mostly)
accountable for what happens today.

follow the breath

Absence opens possibility.

We gather inside and treasure light. We are enamored with the hues of soft pinks and peach oranges that have lengthened during this seasonal rotation. Yes, we do have an agenda, a way of being, of feeling seen.

While shadows form, for they provide their own value of shelter and comfort, we scout for interdependence. We want transformation not assimilation. Our politics disrupt, express, reconceptualize desire and power. It’s a decentered practice. A rebellion.

What we seek is an acknowledgment of the complexity of difference and an orientation that does not ignore a reality that is relational. All of our connections, regardless of intimacy, physicality, and emotional depth are nonnegotiable and non-hierarchical.

Our resistance depends on it.

epistemic relevance

our days have been brighter
an optics, a behavior, of being awake

12-31-15 5:48pm
12-31-15 5:48pm

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  *

spiral

“being devoured can make you cry” – Robin Coste Lewis

Beauty Bar Oct15
Beauty Bar Oct15

The earth is burning.
The jade tree hedges down the street are dying.
Stores release their fall line of sweaters, scarves, and jackets.

I have something to say, anything, nothing at all.
I write love letters in the middle of the night.
I think about your broken tooth, back, heart.

She spoke about representation and desire.
Our wars are a proxy for absence or relentless regrets.

I think we all
even you
want to escape
to start over
to be reborn.

discursive thoughts

Kiss me hard before you go / Summertime sadness – Lana Del Ray

8-6-15
8-6-15

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.

7-4-15
7-4-15

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.

6-26-15 "fuck new money SF"
6-26-15
“fuck new money SF”

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.

perpetual motion

It’s harvest season.
Conscious of renewal,
we plan for what we need tomorrow.
This is the time of year to honor defeat
celebrate the shifting light
embody lived experiences
transform our perceptions.
We love fiercely, in this community.

Francisco de Zurbarán, Agnus Dei, 1635–1640
Francisco de Zurbaran, Agnus Dei, 1635-1640

 

hedonia

Pleasure. This should be our lifetime pursuit.

ritual June15
ritual June15

Following horoscopes like choices, prioritizing sharing, locating power and minding interpersonal boundaries.

Matters of the heart extend beyond erotics.
We dare to say please and ask to end with thank you.

The summer days draw strength from warming slowly.
It is energy saved to make those days that seem to find you.

spring

sweets
sweets

 

The clocks are set for us;
there is nothing we can do.
There will be more daylight,
regardless of our interventions.

This moment is arbitrary.
It is grace, suspended.