to talk with the bodies amongst us: collaborative generating #3

 

8.10.11

collaborative generating #3

allah forbid, she, I, 2nd person split

on the hybrid brick road

and become a nature poet

of dirt, a panel of hair orchids.

This and the water burns sun.

 

 

I was not born of your blood,

I tell you, but the blood then

cease to write all together

smeared into a map. exile?

 

 

My lola told me not to

trust the poet, as she

sang for them, embarrassed,

 

 

tell me how

I should speak

to you.

 

 

(from the words of Nikki Wallschlaeger, Bushra Rehman, Rachelle Cruz, Addie Tsai, Melissa Sipin, Matthew Trease, Serena W. Lin, Paul Ocampo, Carol Gomez)

 

 

***

Promptings for the next ….

 

It’s about the novel as a form that processes the part of a scene that doesn’t function as an image, but as the depleted, yet still livid mixture of materials that a race riot is made from.  Think of the sky. – Bhanu Kapil

 

not enough people sleep with trees – Nikki Wallschlaeger

 

why don’t you face the river? (or add any body of water) – Bushra Rehman

 

What are your dead trying to say to you? Can you make out their cries, whispers, shouts, songs on paper? – Rachelle Cruz

 

What broken bodies are among us? – Addie Tsai

 

Do I not speak because I am not myself? – Melissa Sipin

 

My hands have lost that handmade feeling. What are the signs you have been sold an old world? – Matthew Trease

 

What happens when you don’t tell the truth? – Paul Ocampo

 

What would lola say? – Serena W. Lin

 

but can you play the veena? – Carol Gomez

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18 Responses to “to talk with the bodies amongst us: collaborative generating #3”

  1. Melissa Says:

    It’s about the novel as a form that processes the part of a scene that doesn’t function as an image, but as the depleted, yet still livid mixture of materials that a race riot is made from. Think of the sky. – Bhanu Kapil

    Think of a beautiful woman. There are many.

    Lola told me beauty would get me far. That is why she is angry with me when I fail
    to thread my eyebrows.

    She traces her finger across the brows of a girl in a magazine. She says, “This is how you
    should look.” But I say: my eyebrows are yours, pointed at the tips. Lola frowns.

    “Look at your cousin,” she says, “The mulatto. She only needs to be fair and lovely
    with simple thinking.” I think of a beautiful woman, my mulatto cousin, her legs arrayed
    across a magazine spread, hair dark like river crows, eyes oval like almonds.
    I drink her mulatto silence, smells like rage. I drink an ocean.

    Lola tells me not to trust the poet.

    Lola tells me her story, a child out of wedlock
    Her mother a flight attendant, her father a businessman
    Her mother pregnant, her father rich
    She bears my mulatto cousin for money

    Lola tells me my mulatto cousin’s story. Lola tells me not to trust the poet. Not to become a nature
    poet, not to drink an ocean, not to hear the mulatto silence. She cannot make out the cries, whispers,
    shouts, songs on paper. She says marry a very educated bachelor son. Or have his child.
    “You will never have to work again,” lola frowns.

    “Be like your mulatto cousin,” lola tells me. “Beauty will get you far.”

    Inspired by Serena, Caroljg, Rachelle, Paul, Tamiko, Bushra, Chin-In

  2. to talk with the bodies amongst us: collaborative generating #3 « Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Says:

    […] Posted by Melissa on August 10, 2011 · Leave a Comment  Collective Manifesto Project: here. […]

  3. Melissa Says:

    Question: What is the myth you keep from your family that isn’t true?

  4. Claire Donato Says:

    What happens when you don’t tell the truth? – Paul Ocampo

    Last night, I learned that if you don’t tell the truth, your neck is slit by a man with a beard that is blue. Then your body is placed in a room where it is hung from wooden arches. There is a shallow pool of blood and stained white cotton dresses. A gold key opens and closes the door; however, the most troubling thing is this: Once the door is locked, your body no longer exists.

  5. hari Says:

    …but can you play the veena? – Carol Gomez in communication with: why don’t you face the river? (or add any body of water) – Bushra Rehman

    no. but i once knew a woman
    who was called in that way. i looked up to her
    because she was taller
    & the music in her name
    called me to seek
    my reflection downstream

  6. hari Says:

    prompt for tomorrow:

    In any case, try not to let another carry
    the burden of your own nostalgia or hope

    – Li-Young Lee, from the poem Self-Help for Fellow Refugees

  7. racruzzo Says:

    Why don’t you
    face the river? Because
    broken bodies are among us.
    Dark like river crows.
    Still, I change the channel.
    Why don’t you face the–?
    No.
    Lost that handmade feeling.
    Not enough people
    sleep, too many people
    sleep. But can you play
    the veena made of eucalyptus
    trees? I once knew a woman.
    There are many. Every creation
    myth begins with land. There are
    many. Do you own your own
    bones? Am I a cannibal?
    My father is a wound,
    his newspaper slit by a man
    with a beard that is blue.
    Think of the sky,
    Lola would say.

    Word credit to everyone who has written here, in addition to Chris Abani.

    Prompt: Who can say how much is remembered and how much is invented? Who can say what is right and wrong? -Chris Abani

  8. toddw Says:

    words before: Bhanu Kapil

    “the part of a scene that doesn’t function as an image, but as the depleted”
    ————
    he was consumed because his pronoun no longer appeared.
    it wasn’t on this page, it wasn’t on the next.
    he never had a name.
    now he never has a voice.

  9. Tamiko Says:

    What bodies are broken among us?

    dream the undone
    face the river
    rising wet from their graves
    dream the bodies in motion
    like wet stones
    tumbled to perpetual current

    :: without water :: what body ::

    where does the belly leave us
    the hybrid dream :: perpetual not
    undone where I began :: tell you
    this much :: a deafening mythology

    a wall of cicadas and rage
    what it takes to rise
    is much but we are getting here
    in flames no water can dose

    (collaborators/source poets: Olena Kalytiak Davis, Bushra Rehman, Rachelle Cruz, Addie Tsai, Melissa Sipin, Paul Ocampo, Serena W. Lin)

    Prompt:
    What is your fire that cannot be put out by mere water? What of your water that cannot be warmed by flame?

  10. Paul Ocampo Says:

    What would Lola say?

    I don’t say much about my past, I would rather not.
    I told my granddaughter, Beauty will get you far.
    I can speak about my father, my mother,
    Strangers I hold dear,
    But I can never tell her the truth
    of who I truly am,

    a body broken, undone,
    having faced a river
    and tumbled in flames.

    I never loved my husband,
    her grandfather,
    because I never learned
    to love the stranger
    residing in this grave.

    I once knew a woman,
    who could play the veena,
    I looked up to her
    and I loved her.

    When I don’t tell the truth,
    my body no longer exists,
    Only a wall of cicadas and rage.

    (Collaboration: Melissa, Rachele, Tamiko, Hari, Claire…)

    Prompt: So it is a lover who speaks and who says… (Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse)

  11. serena w. lin Says:

    What happens when you don’t tell the truth? – Paul Ocampo

    beauty transforms itself into wedlock
    a woman cries, arches downstream
    slit by a cannibal wound, a lola sky
    burning faintly screaming
    the perpetual dream, belly tumbled voice
    my never loved grave my never loved channel
    archipelagos buried under old newspaper stories
    blood i smeared into exile
    caramelized half myth
    never seek music
    called in that way

    (credit melissa, hari, rachelle, tamiko, paul, claire, todd, ching-in)

    prompt: how do you manage the loneliness?

  12. Bushra Says:

    on the road so a bit late, but

    not enough people sleep with trees
    instead they choose to sleep with other humans
    it doesn’t make sense to me, when
    a tree will caress you slowly, bear you fruit
    when a lover will keep the receipts split the bills
    a tree will cleanse your breath
    when a lover turns it to poison
    a tree will always look good in green
    when a lover, well, it’s really not his/her color

    prompt: does your lover look good in green

  13. Bushra Says:

    p.s. prompted by Nikki

  14. mtrease Says:

    Prompt:
    What the fuck? Honestly, it is a good question. Some specific questions:
    1. What are the behavioral differences between Callipepla quail species?
    2. What does it mean that the participants in WWI are pretty much dead? Were the young men who fought DOA home no matter whether they survived or not? Is it true or am I naïve—does the person who was in the battle die there and, if he/she survives, walk out of the valley or the plain a person separate from that other person?
    3. What does California mean?
    4. Is it possible for writing and art to embody another species? Is it useful? Is it necessary?
    Jennifer Calkins

  15. mtrease Says:

    Think of the sky. – Bhanu Kapil

    The sky was my big experiment with narrative. Every creation myth begins “There are many,” so the challenge was keeping the parts tenuously connected while they pulled apart, or apart while they pulled themselves together like small magnets. A narrative work, offers, I hope, a space of fusion—the fantastic, perhaps, but also the biological and the historical, the perpetual dream, a belly tumbled voice buried under old newspaper stories, the blood smeared into caramelized half myth. It also often offers quail.

    Where does the belly leave us? Almost all allegory flies off the text to parts unpremeditated. I used to practice writing the alphabet with chalk on a 10″ by 10″ black slate. I could never get beyond the letter “H.” Honestly, the real goal of assemblage is to have separate items that, once laid next to or within one another, tells me my mulatto cousin’s story. Tells me not to trust the poet. Not to become a nature poet trying to form a Lotus Petal in perfect detail or contemplate compassion, but to trick the mind and shift your focus away from the 10,000 things, a way of articulating that risk as we all take our places here as imaginative agents of language, to accept our responsibilities of making—to spare nothing.

    I soon realized that my inability to go beyond the “H” had nothing to do with an obstructed communiqué with signs. Rather, it had to do with the scale of my expression – the slate was simply too small::a wall of cicadas and rage:: a deafening mythology. Like the best ornithological taxonomists, I’m a splitter—breaking into what I’ve already. I hope to facilitate those different scales and surprising locations, to go beyond that ‘H’, and into the world learning to speak, to think, to be in the world— not just as an expression, but as a form that processes the part of a scene that doesn’t function as an image but as the depleted, yet still livid mixture of materials.

    For the longest time the character that represented a significant number in one pictorial character was a sequence of two circles, the one and its shadow, the Ten thousand. In the ancient mind, Ten thousand, included both the minimum and maximum one character could express. It is our sacred and unholy mission to produce many kinds of work with but one purpose— counting in order to occupy the mind just enough to forestall the 10,000 things. Essentially, language can never be truthful on its own. It needs space and opposition for something real to emerge.

    However, the most troubling thing is this: at the same time, I am both happy and not. Once the door is locked, your body, gears and pistons and pots of water, becomes an engine, no longer exists. I have to say, the quail, the desert and the ocean are three big reasons I am not glad I’m no longer there. Am I a cannibal? I don’t have much choice right now. Compelled is an interesting word. Very psychological. Though I’d rather be in the ocean or in Mexico surrounded by quail, wherever I can, I get out my hammer. A race riot is made, a mode of living in language returned—to the Marvelous City, the Dodo Republic. Setting up a decent house of cards requires undercutting and opposition. It doesn’t require you to do something out of reach.

    Beauty is in the vast time of the earth and the 4.5 billion years life has been evolving on her. I do not know how to continue writing once I reach its edge:: what body without water:: what it takes to rise. “Be like your mulatto cousin,” she tells me, “beauty will get you far,” will keep a gap or sliver between parts so that the reader will make the great narrative leap of faith that is otherwise absolutely unjustified. The hybrid dream, perpetual, not undone where I began. That is why I need to spend time with the quail—every kind (even the ones with little wasps inside). I want the engine to run, and so it will. Or we will.

    • mtrease Says:

      (in collaboration with: Bhanu Kapil,Vanessa Place, Divya Victor, Ultimo Chafriz, Jennifer Clakins, Melissa, Claire Donato, Chris Abani ,Tamiko, Serena Lin)

  16. clarissa rojas Says:

    picked her up
    face of a child
    gone lost
    body clasped
    she
    another

    tresses of earth
    like seaweed
    clung
    to hover rock
    home
    spirits seek
    reunion
    return
    to that
    which is
    known
    bodies
    follow

    light turned squint
    when mother left
    when mother left
    her
    to hands
    of another
    minutes
    turned
    years
    wasn’t time
    made her
    older
    this time

    they don’t know what to do
    without you
    sky was once so blue
    light turned squint
    she fades
    like sand
    her spirit
    seeps
    through
    arms
    that try to hold

  17. clarissa rojas Says:

    prompt for another day:

    lesson: how to extract love from a stone

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