how not to be an egotistical asshole: collaborative generating #4

8.11.11

how not to be an egotistical asshole …. collaborative generating #4

hey lovelies,

check out Rachelle Cruz’s notes on collaboration, “Thou shall not be an egotistical asshole,” where she writes about our writing together!

*

her hair river crows I drink

an ocean out of wedlock

your neck slit gold key. no.

but I once knew who

was called my reflection down-

stream. Handmade,

 

 

a tree will cleanse your breath,

too many play the veena

made of eucalyptus trees. Think

of the sky, his pronoun

no longer appeared, in flames

my body only a wall of cicadas,

a lola sky no water can dose.

 

(made from the words of Melissa Sipin, Claire Donato, Hari Zi Stanzfor, Rachelle Cruz, Todd Wellman, Tamiko Beyer, Paul Ocampo, Serena W. Lin & Bushra Rehman)

*

Prompts for your writings:

When David hit me in the head, I saw stars in the shape of the Alphabet. Years later, my fascination for letters resulted in poems. – Orlando White 

 

What is the myth you keep from your family that isn’t true? – Melissa Sipin

 

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 (via Hari Zi Stanzfor)

 

Who can say how much is remembered and how much is invented? Who can say what is right and wrong? -Chris Abani (via Rachelle Cruz)

 

What is your fire that cannot be put out by mere water? What of your water that cannot be warmed by flame? – Tamiko Beyer

 

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

 

How do you manage the loneliness? – Serena W. Lin

 

does your lover look good in green – Bushra Rehman

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19 Responses to “how not to be an egotistical asshole: collaborative generating #4”

  1. Mel Says:

    So it is a lover who speaks and who says
    an ocean out of wedlock is still
    an ocean.

    No nets needed to gather us from this sea.
    No legalese. This is how I manage
    the absence of your physical being
    in the day-to-day. It’s not that you
    are in the trappings of our apartment,
    or confined to memory, or invented out
    of thin air, handmade of the sky, a pronoun.

    “We” is present in the second self, the one not
    flesh, the one where we know the waters
    and how fast the wind changes. This is the second
    self shared, not a myth, not nostalgia, not some
    hope or memory or invention. This is how
    two beings divided by flesh
    shed that burden of flesh,
    become confluence, waters mingled
    in ideas shared beyond ego, location, time.

    (Credits: Roland Barthes; Serena W. Lin; Alan Moore; Melissa Sipin; Li-Young Lee; Chris Abani; lines from collaborative writing #3)

    Prompts:

    “Behold, I teach you the superman: He is this lightning, he is this madness!”
    –Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

    “Before it was a Bomb, the Bomb was an Idea.
    Superman, however, was a Faster, Stronger, Better Idea.”
    –Grant Morrison, Supergods

    “We live in the stories we tell ourselves…[g]et ready to take off your disguise, prepare to whisper your magic word of transformation, and summon the lightning. It’s time to save the world.”
    –Grant Morrison, Supergods

  2. Nikki Wallschlaeger Says:

    from prompt- how do you manage the loneliness? -Serena W.Lin

    i give it a space. then i pretend anything
    i wash my dishes. i make fruit porridge.
    i change a diaper. i make spaghetti.
    i live in 2nd person. i wear boots.
    i choose a sundress. i consider making more children,
    i implode into pinecones. I use “the” and “I” and “she”
    and “it” and “hir” and “her” and “we” and “fault” and
    “ambigious linings”. I want to see my organs. I want
    pisanki. I want juice. I want to disappear. electric tradewinds
    wringing their hands over skyline. ezili dantu watching over
    all the little mothers and big mothers. rolling out another
    bed- for death or rebirth?

  3. Claire Donato Says:

    ‘How do you manage the loneliness?’

    In a sense, I consider it.

    I accept the presence, existence, or absence of it.

    It is because I consider it that I am prepared.

    An amorphous blue form, a straight black line.

    The mind does not destroy itself in the presence of these symbols.

    Prompt!

    ‘How can one disguise the simple fact that the entire world is somewhat sad and lonely?’ – Clarice Lispector

  4. Monica Hand Says:

    what is the myth that you keep from your family that isn’t true?

    We are a happy family could be true if we could laugh without the stupor of alcohol and the church crutch. God cannot save us from our loneliness. How you manage the loneliness is your mortal problem not God’s. We are a family of drunks because we like laughing and feeling unbridled. We are a family of church goers and Christ slingers because we believe Christ will take away the loneliness and the shame. We are a family of fools who love to eat, drink and fuck – who love pleasure – and are shamed by it.

    Prompt – why is the love of pleasure a source of shame?

  5. “how not to be an egotistical asshole: collaborative generating #4” « Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Says:

    […] Posted by Melissa on August 11, 2011 · Leave a Comment  Collaborative Manifesto Project: here. […]

  6. Melissa Says:

    What is your fire that cannot be put out by mere water? What of your water that cannot be warmed by flame? – Tamiko Beyer

    Your father said to your husband: when she becomes angry, become the water to her flame. Anger is a flame that needs to be doused. An ocean out of wedlock is still an ocean.

    Your husband’s family said to you: wrong is wrong. What it takes to rise is much, flames no water can douse. We won’t pretend anything.

    This is how two beings divide by flesh.

    You remember your lola’s words: I never loved my husband because I never learned to love the stranger. Your husband became the absence of a straight black line. His voice carried the past, the memory stories passed down by syllables in time. He said to you: a secret marriage is still a marriage. You said to him: lies
    sing a deafening mythology, become a wall of cicadas, a flame no water can douse.

    Silence is the space between the words. You give them space. The words had been robbed from your tongue with holy water. They won’t pretend anything.

    You live in the stories you tell yourself. When you don’t tell the truth, a woman cries. Breathe so you can speak. Think of the sky. Drink an ocean. Become a nature poet. Silence that smells like rage is still silence. Speak, or hear the woman cry.

    INSPIRED BY:
    Caroljg, Chin-In, Paul, Serena, Tamiko, Rachelle, Monica Hand, Bhanu Kapil, Bushra, and all of you here during this immensely inspiring creative collaboration.

    PROMPT:
    In a field
    I am the absence
    of field.
    This is
    always the case.
    Wherever I am
    I am what is missing.

    When I walk
    I part the air
    and always
    the air moves in
    to fill the spaces
    where my body’s been.

    We all have reasons
    for moving.
    I move
    to keep things whole.

    “Keeping Things Whole” by Mark Strand

  7. mtrease Says:

    How do you manage the loneliness? – Serena W. Lin

    Not an instinct: it is a reaction of the animal
    who is conscious enough to become
    a lover who speaks and who says
    I give it a space. Then I pretend
    anything in a sense, I consider we are
    a happy family could be true if we could give them
    space the words had been robbed

    an ocean out of wedlock no nets needed
    to gather us from this sea the trappings
    of our apartment without the regular movements
    the rhythm by which our soul is
    lulled into self-forgetfulness, and as in a dream

    what is inside? Thin air
    handmade of the sky, a pronoun
    imploding into pinecones. I use “the” and
    “I” and “she.” “We” are a family of drunks
    because we like laughing because we cannot
    die because we were never born.

    (in collaboration with: David Loy, Mel, Nikki Wallschlaeger, Claire Danto, Monica Hand, Melissa, Ching-in Chen, Henri Bergson)

    Prompt:
    Is there room in the room that you room in? – Ted Berrigan

  8. yael v. Says:

    hi ching-in and collaborators,

    this project is going so well, i love it! i’ve been following all the updates on my google reader, but am in the middle of a move and don’t have consistent internet access. i hope you don’t mind me jumping in when i can. poem and prompt are below. 🙂

    happy writing with you,
    yael

    —–

    What the map said:

    All eyes are drawn to the bursting heart,
    but this is not the end. You return
    for my fractures, my many fine stitches

    and I will tell your need. I am only a body,
    standing in for many bodies, a thousand
    in flight each day.

    One bargain is three years of servitude for one year of plenty.

    Another is fifty sacks of grain you will grow for me,
    and two portions of the yield are yours to keep.

    I’ve never learned to love the stranger,
    but he touches my face with adoration,
    praying to me all the names he would hide inside

    if he could. Every person begins with land
    and you are no different. Return to the map,
    recognize my shape inside your skin: archipelago.

    Inspired by and with words from Ching-In, Melissa, Rachelle, and Hari’s Li-Young Lee prompt.

    ——-

    Prompt for tomorrow:

    what makes you sunburst?
    what makes you rose-thorn?
    what makes you softcore?
    what takes you inside the aurora?

  9. Tamiko Says:

    Perma-

    Who can say how much is remembered and how much is invented?
    -Chris Abani (via Rachelle Cruz)
     
    I make things up
    every time I open my
    eyes. Eucalyptus trees think
    of the sky the way

    I live in 2nd person:
    stories you tell
    yourself when you
    don’t tell the truth,

    the way memory runs
    into itself, mobius strip,
    loop to loop, not
    a myth, not nostalgia –

    I wrote on a stone.

    (final line from Srikanth Reddy’s Voyager, itself a collaborative/found book. Other collaborators: Ching-In Chen, Nikki Wallschlaeger, Mel, Melissa Sipin )

    Prompt: What is the palimpsest upon which you write (your life)?

  10. hari Says:

    i wrote 7 drafts in response to 5 different prompts. none of them were happy with what i wrote. this one is no different, except that it’s the last one i wrote, the 8th.

    the fire i keep has been handed down by so many i’ve never met.

    this is neither nostalgia nor hope.

    it burns like the myths i use to lie to the children i don’t have.

    this is both nostalgia and hope.

    the fire is the same as the water. neither is earth. neither is wind

  11. hari Says:

    prompt:

    maybe the one about the land and the lover who never left…

    (originally part of a response to “what is the myth you keep from your family that isn’t true”)

  12. Bushra Says:

    What is your fire that cannot be put out by mere water?

    my lover looks good in green
    spreads it between his fingers
    stands knee deep in the rain
    and passes boulders through the stream

    I hear a mourning dove
    and think it’s a child crying
    upstairs my sister sleeps,
    on the floor with her four children

    it’s the first time they’ve spoken to me
    as their mouths were not meant for speaking
    we passed the day in childhood games of running

    her children drew stars in the shape of the alphabet
    and peaches made from rain

    (collaboration: tamiko, orlando white, et al.)

    prompt: “So this is the lady who made this big war.” Lincoln on Beecher Stowe (no judgment)

  13. Paul Ocampo Says:

    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 (via Hari Zi Stanzfor)

    In the balikbayan box, my mother packed
    Vienna sausage, corned beef, SPAM,
    tin cans worth more than gold.
    These gifts from her self-exile
    sing a deafening mythology,
    the American dream
    a flame no water can douse.
    The burden she carries is
    neither nostalgia nor hope
    but the truth untold,
    the silence between the words,
    the rhythm by which the soul
    lulled into Lethe.

    Thanks to everyone for the collaboration.

    Prompt: It became a nightly query…

  14. toddw Says:

    “How do you manage the loneliness? – Serena W. Lin”
    ——-

    the last time was the time when sitting in a sea of karaoke-goers.
    it wasn’t as much a battle as often,
    but it was enough of one.
    so I stood and fought the exit.

  15. Evangeline Says:

    And how do you manage the loneliness?

    1. lying on the table
    2. of a woman broken child watching
    3. jagged jigsaw pieces swept up
    4. this room and all its nothing
    5. the burden of your nostalgia
    6. fooling yourself
    7. such difficulty and life
    8. a clock constantly
    9. I had hoped you said, I love you
    10. that, too
    11. counting
    12. endlessly distilling water into light

    Interviewer: And why do you fool yourself?

    James Baldwin: People always try to fool themselves out of one thing or another. The trick is to know it. One does not want to get hurt. And everybody has a tendency to put up a fight, to hold on to what you think you know, you don’t like to have your certainties disturbed because you come by them with such difficulty and life is always smashing them to pieces.

    ——-
    Words by Serena W. Lin, Gil Scott-Heron, Li-Young Lee, Chris Abani, James Baldwin, Marilynne Robinson

  16. caroljg Says:

    how do you manage the loneliness?

    at first i put my culture and history, lying dusty on a mahogany bookshelf, and dove excitedly into another where i would have a whole city of people surrounding me. and i ate the food of my country.

    then i married into a new culture, so that I wouldn’t be so lonely and i adapted and shared, played and laid my soul bare. and i ate the food of my country.

    but he never needed to do the same cos he was never lonely, always surrounded by his people of his city
    and he hardly ever borrowed from the dusty mahogany shelves to look for what I might need to nourish me. and he hardly ever ate the food of my country.

    only years later the emptiness and disconnection swept hard and dark stirring long repressed yearnings gasping for oxygen to fill the lungs of my soul. and i couldn’t even eat the food of any country.

    from lovers, companions, we drifted apart, first as bedfellows, then tenants, then toward the end as strangers.
    and the loneliness poorly managed leaves me to think that I never loved my husband because I never learned to love the stranger. every person begins with land and I am no different.

    and i eat the food of my country no longer alone within myself.

    (Inspired by the words of: serena, melissa, yael, mtrease, claire, and the thoughts and creativity of all others)

    ** What are the foods that keep you from feeling lonely? **

  17. hari Says:

    collaborators – Melissa Sipin, Li-Young Lee, Chris Abani, Rachel Cruz, Tamiko Beyer, Serena W. Lin – please forgive for not including you previous

  18. racruzzo Says:

    I saw stars in the shape of the Alphabet. My many fine stitches. Implode into pinecones.
    Neither is earth. neither is wind. Every time I open my eyes, a sea of karaoke-goers,
    mobius strip, no nets needed.

    We are a happy family could be true if we could

    (10. that, too)

    A secret marriage is still. Neither is earth, neither is wind. Unbridled.
    I’ve never learned to love the stranger, a mourning dove thinking it’s a
    child crying upstairs my sister sleeps. Dreams worth tin cans more
    than gold. (11. counting)

    Could be true if we could

    so I stood and fought the exit, distilling water into light,
    I make fruit.
    I make porridge.

    (words from everyone who posted here in #4. I’m late with my post. I’ll save my prompt for #5.)

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