Barbara Kruger “Don’t Make Me Angry”, 1999
volume won the day
what was said
had to be abandoned
because more was coming
this universe was not built
to accommodate more than one sun
Betty Danon, I am, 1978
call me when
the Afghanistan war
Black Lines 1, 1916, Georgia O’Keeffe
fog obscures the depth behind it
Richard Barnes, Murmur, 23 December 2006
from my side of this wall
I am only a body
& the sky is a milky blue
I quietly compose performative debts
unchecked — they form treacherous habits
when written they s t r e t c h smooth
I’ve ritualized these (now) ceremonial feelings
& marinated in their bone-heavy broth
as panicked days continue to pace themselves
artist: Yuko Shimizu
Police found nothing but pairs of empty shoes inside abandoned cars stopped on the freeway that carved edge lines between city and suburb. Stereos were still playing upbeat songs or blaring ads for insurance, spicy chicken sandwiches, eradicating skin rashes, and a cloud that promised to secure memories. Coffee left warm in secure cup holders.
I have my own, obvious, working hypothesis for the dispossessed.
I can feel you wanting more. More analysis, more details, more quantifiable truth. I recognize that desire. If left unchecked, it is a serial and extractive response.
Instead of getting stuck in that kind of particular production, what spiritual inclinations were you born with? Will your future prove the past?
The ending is coming. How wild is your hope?
title is reference to seven years and a day is often the period of trial in fairy tales (Denise Levertov,
The Poet in the World, page 13)
Richard Moult – In the Heart of the Wood and What I Found There
“What is it that keeps up from drowning in moments that rise and cover the heart?”
Anne Carson, Plainwater
under the current circumstances
you must understand
in my dreams
you robbed me
the plot was a repeat
did you see that emergency flare?
it was bright
our skies hold light
debate shatters into silence
we meant to say
details spread diluted
revenge collects into thriving tragedy
what hope hunts has no reflection
survival now the most obvious commodity
danger and excitement can feel the same
our bodies keep trying to tell us this news
live as in
we grope backwards
“She was territory and words occupied her.” — Jeanette Winterson
photographer: Gary Ross Pastrana
Contrived as a self-portrait
& captured in landscape mode,
diamonds rest at her throat.
Lips split wide enough to connect
in rapture of majestic glare.
Caged, he filled negative space.
To steal a line:
the crowd’s a rapacious beast
Starlings sang from burnt trees —
songs misinterpreted as warnings.
Ecstasy migrates inward.
Cities bend to western light
when a sun rises full & tender.
In ascension, fireworks sound blue.
line from Silkworm. “Tarnished Angel,” Firewater (1996)
tell me that you’re famous for me –
Bull in the Heather by Sonic Youth
WE’RE THIS / AND WE’RE THAT. / AREN’T WE? – Ed Ruscha
here they wash sidewalks
while old women with no teeth
sleep on concrete mouths open
as buses curl around blocks
like snakes seeking refuge
on warm screen display
all this proximity
generates raw tension
& opportunities to be dangerous
here preachers still preach
drag & drop promises
with conviction-driven voices
she is distracted with salvation
in witness & in abandon
she holds a burning cigarette
between her shaking fingers
& places a call to god
there is no answer
the voicemail full
Loie Hollowell (American, b. 1983), Incoming Tide, 2016. oil, acrylic, sawdust, and high-density foam on linen on panel
the lecture ended at cooperation
endless constellations looping
associations and reified traces
it was better
all this mutual (re)production
that feel of shared experience
remorse, traffic jams, expectations
reckless as rhetoric
faith (as in not control)
pull and then release
“A horror so deep only ritual can contain it.” — Sarah Kane, “Crave”
All that exuberant, collective hope of a new year dissipated
into silhouettes whose interiors frame a groomed rage.
Such glamour is visceral in the light of a knowledge apocalypse.
Our inherited rage learned.
Daily lessons worn so deep to appear smooth,
ordinary. Even today, algorithms reveal their shadows.
Yes, it really has
always been like this:
raw, broken, cruel, and transferred.
How we participate is birthright.
Such process generates the futures we believe we can change.
In all this fractured isolation, soft bodies spread sparse.
“To pursue beauty to its lair.” — Arundhati Roy
5 June 2018, Pacific Grove, CA
She folds her hands together
as if in prayer
the end of the world is near
Sour west coast coffee
dreamed memories decay
into sensitive masculinities
you may think: her POV lacks pleasure
Or maybe this cumulative longing
binds her sense of class to an economics
that has made her an experienced voyeur
an orgy of grace
her body expresses need
she commits to infinite integration
in entry & in sanctuary
I. Writing; an act of stroking paper.
4 October 2018, Oakland, CA
II. The aggressiveness of buying and selling resistance, as seen on TV, makes me wanna disassociate.
self-portrait in Wave by Pirkle Jones, 1952, gelatin silver print [Oakland Museum of California]
III. Competitions of sadness are trauma tiers.
PUBLIC NOTICE, 14 September 2018, Oakland, CA
It’s ok that I don’t fit in she says.
27 April 2018, San Francisco, CA
V. If I write a word today, just one, that must be enough.