a nice morning thinking poetics and bio

Mashups and poetry. Black bread toasted to just burned. Wanda Coleman blowing me up with relentless torpedos. As I peel off the “made in china” label, I say a prayer to appease the spirit of the human being who with personal patience in a factory stuck the little bits of colored mirror onto the miniature mirrored disco ball that I bought for 6.50. Surely she heard me.

Was thinking that for me the point of poetry is to integrate my reality. Blogging is good because it’s helped me open to more real-world people and more being-in-the-world. But poetry is my way of synthesis. I always think “Oh shit I haven’t been writing! This is the end!” but then dig around and find that I’ve been writing what I haven’t been saying, and have written more of it than I think I have. I don’t always like where I’ve been or what I’ve put into the mix. Periodic re-assessment by poetry keeps me on track.

I also realize I made the Composite blog to talk about these very things but then I don’t so much. It gets kind of raw in there. I read a poem by edwin torres and I’m thinking about it for days and yet find it impossible to talk about and then my next poem is a response to it so i’m talking to and about torres. or some imaginary construct. But the words don’t come out so analytic or understandable and usually no one around me would get it without hours of demonstration and explanation. I don’t know a lot of people who would follow me there, but I’d like to get some of that process and thought out on the table. It seems important. Diane Di Prima says there is no way that anyone can avoid having a poetics and I believe that. It’s a war and a revolution, poetics and what goes on in the space between non verbal understanding and verbal which is where your will and judgement make the poem, or action. Anyway, there are other reasons not to talk about it, and why it’s private. It’s boring to anyone who’s not going to follow and whoever doesn’t want to get lost.

Read a bit more of Tiptree bio… extremely good… sensitive and complicated treatment of people… However — I get uncomfortable with mother-blaming. Her mom was too big, so it warped her. Well, I fucking hope not, because I’m big myself and I have a kid and I don’t like to think it dooms him so that no matter what things always reflect on my motherhood? I think not. He can be his own person. Well, but that’s how she saw it. She chose it in her relationship, to keep the relationship important. I get mad about this stuff but part of it is the pressure of family and the wrongness of the way we construct family so that selfabnegation is crucial. I was seeing during Julie’s reading the other day that in order to be big – for anyone to see you as big – you better not have a family in some ways, the way that geneological research is so hard because people want to keep their great-aunt’s sdecrets and because shame contaminates everyone. If Tip had a kid or even a nephew you can bet this story would not be written. If she died before her parents it would not be written. It’s not right!

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7 Responses to “a nice morning thinking poetics and bio”

  1. Debbie



    I don’t think Julie is mother-blaming; I think she is saying that Alice was mother-blaming. It seems very different to me. Big mothers don’t warp children (you should meet Laurie’s kids!); oblivious ones can.

  2. badgerbag



    I’m further along in the book now and I see what the mother/daughter deal is… 1/2 way through. Esp. when the mom tells her stories over and over and the letter Alli wrote to her (with 0 result annotated on the top)
    I am having a very intense/important and personal reaction to the book. it’s good for me.

  3. badgerbag



    What I mean of course is that it’s painful. specifically. in saying unspeakable truths that I have also felt. it’s really difficult and keeps making me cry. it’s hard to look at that stuff. I’ll try to be more articulate about this but it will take me a while. What D. said about it taking her till she was 50 and in the book also it taking Alli that long to figure out a place & how to be in the world. All I can do is aim for 45.

  4. badgerbag



    For example I think about when I said to S. “If *you* suddenly were in this situation do you think i wouldn’t go all out for you… and give up my other plans… and work to find out and fix it … etc…” and could not help interpreting their not doing that for me as not only unthinkable but definitely not-love. When, actually, the horror of realizing now that it might seem all moral and noble or something but an awfully huge part of that stance is being socialized to think that that is what i am supposed to do with myself… no matter how fierce and determined i was… I did not manage to break the conditioning to be ready at any moment to give everything of myself up for another person and think it right and good. So I would always end up washing the socks or whatever, which is the daily equivalent of giving all in an emergency. (This is also why I was crying when Denise was talking at Blogher on that panel… and thought about myself very ready to disappear in helping other people.) When actually my trouble is that I am too much to do that… but I believe that I have to… and so is everyone I know and so they break in the strain of it.
    Excuse me – as this is all crazy-talk. Going to bed now.
    It’s like how people don’t understand why I have a bajillion places to blog. Hello! Duh! because it feels safer that way! Only a tiny bit more, and not enough, but enough for me to crawl out of the notebooks.
    The person who told me, once a long time ago, that they could tell I would be happier doing a different kind of job and so invited me to leave and like it… graciously… Like a stab in the heart… Does that person know what the hope of a job means to me, that person never was fucked up and hungry… really hungry… fucking ready to cry at the thought of a piece of cheddar cheese… stealing the cheese… and ashamed of being hungry… almost no where to live… where would I have gone… conquering intense pain every minute every hour – do you know what “endure” means… and had no one to help or turn to…you dont have friend any more, only pitying strangers who fear you, because you might fuck them up and contaminate them with your loser life, and make an inconvenience – and then and THEN. Then get married – insurance! – slowly healthier and see how the approval shines down from everywhere. you are now a bright young faculty wife who can fake a sports injury with the cane. people give you things. unthinkable plans spring into being. ambitions come back a little but t hey are hard. ambitions are very fierce and squeeze you into hope, which is painful, because it automatically brings ridicule.
    when you go down, you are down with no safety net.
    that is what a job means to me. Not having one i mean. If I dont have one then i dont have even the choice of freedom. no insurance, no where to live. the shame of hunger… i eat for it all tehte time still. until last year when it dropped from me… after katrina and being so sick i was like “bacon”!!!! it was the bacon of healing, i tell you. And to me linda hirshman is not abstract to argue about. its my actual fucked over life. it is the large part of my life wasted , when under even a little… shelter or encouragement … of the smallest kind … having a strong perceptive boss for example who knows how to lead, like at Lab… Again, my own bad training/conditining to need that shelter and be in a support role. When I am more suited for other things.
    Reading about Tip going through all these kinds of things – the very clear way it’s laid out by Julie – Realizing why i have always needed that and how to bust out of it… God, reading about her and the psychb professor just about killed me. i am that exact way, must find the mentor, charm them… why? what permission do i need? even a tiny bit… like I got from francine… changed my life forever and I agonized about how far to go with that.
    Well, as I said, weird, unspeakable, painful, and good, epiphany-like,
    will be helping me step up and do things that are difficult for me, like write or call the groan anteger press guy again to see if we really are doing this book, or what? I am also trying to contact elvira H. about her poems and the rights – and will do perlongher again – and will get a CA lawyer from the arts person. I’ll make a course outline, teach that class, do it a bunch, make it into consulting/training sort of thing that pays, i’ll curate my blog-selves – delicate & exuberent – all the thesis translations up somehwere in a fucking wiki for fuck’s sake – Living up to loose-cannon hood I will also translate the cool hondurans…. and get my own stuff in a coherent manuscript and send it. The elvira poem to 2 lines. the appolonia stuff to XCP and others. Kissing N. poem to wompo anthology. The other books I’m not sure of but there are many.
    perhaps my own quirky memoir book would be fun to write. is the time now for it?
    someday i would have a little place and everyone i love would visit it, or live next door… around our central park are so everyone had privacy but was not alone if they wanted company. that is utopian enough…. just really to have space thats’ my own someday. alone with hosting being a specific gracious apprecated act. and caretaking, if ncessary, likewise. approached by a team or community, of how to caretake in whatever way.
    so much of this is unsayable and painful but sometimes we talk about it. women do. Jo and I did, and then would laugh with pleasure that we said an unsayable thing and laugh as if we dared the universe. I think the universe took her dare.
    By the way, horehound stillpoint’s poem tonight ROCKED. Damn.

  5. e



    my god, my god, oh my dear god, liz. no. no. no. no. don’t do all this to yourself, you are kicking yorself for being.
    Again, my own bad training/conditioning to need that shelter and be in a support role.
    i am that exact way, must find the mentor, charm them… why? what permission do i need? even a tiny bit… like I got from francine… changed my life forever..
    it does that. it’s supposed to do that. it’s a necessary thing it’s why people do the mentoring thing, isn’t that why you would do it? do you think your mentor thinks you’re somehow lesser for needing a mentor? would you? we have to have mentors, everyone has to have them. it’s as trite as jimmy carter mentioning that the old-boy network helped him while women didn’t have that. one cannot cannot go it alone and if one could, do you think that would be a GOOD thing? no!
    yes, it’s fucking hard, yes, we all need help, yes, if we don’t get it we become like kaspar hauser or something, but how in the bloody hell does that ever translate that we should somehow castigate ourselves for this very fact? don’t give it that power, don’t succumb to the temptation of thinking that it is some weakness in you; isn’t that something jo’s doing right now, too, that it’s all some weakness in her? fuck that!
    and/but most of all:
    I think the universe took her dare.
    oh baby no. this is guilt plain and simple, misplaced guilt, a way to process what has happened, but a wrong way, a real mistake. don’t don’t don’t go there. the “universe” didn’t do any of this, there is no step-on-a-crack causal connection between daring to speak and what has happened (although there may be something of one in simply being in this universe of ours that you so aptly and accurately describe.)
    i recognize this in myself, my own abject terror, which my own occasional therapist simply refuses to be able to understand, of being the artist i always have been somehow because every artist i have ever known is now dead it seems like and i’m fucking terrified! there’s some twisted up connection that exists nowhere at all but in its own twists and, while i can’t quite cut through it in myself yet, i can see it plain as day in this. we are scared to death It will happen to us, It seems so close, It’s right over there and we don’t even know what It is, not really, the Bad Thing. but the universe doesn’t dare us not to speak; if anything it “dares” us to do so, and it doesn’t punish the doing. but still we shut ourselves up, muffle our thoughts, try to somehow fit in where we’re not wanted and don’t even want to be, negate our own being in some misguided attempt somehow to be “safe?”
    Excuse me – as this is all crazy-talk. Going to bed now.
    it’s so fucking hard. this (yours) is the most wrenching, identifiable thing i have read in forever. god, i hope i’ve worded this well enough.

  6. badgerbag



    Wow… yeah… you get where I was at for sure. Thanks to sea cucumbers and Ho Chih Minh I’m feeling way better now. My compass needle returns pretty fast to perk/hopeful mode.
    I think that recognizing and articulating those low points can be productive.
    What you say about mentoring is spot on… it fits with what my ex was telling me about her idea of shelter. I kind of forgot there was a word for that function/need and it was “mentor”. Thanks!

  7. e



    phew. for my part, i just found seven (7) new job postings for art teachers on the district website so, back in the saddle!

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