for what is inside: collaborative generating #5

8.12. for what is inside: collaborative generating #5

 

This is how I manage

the absence: I want

 

to see my organs

without

a straight black line of alcohol

 

Two beings (Christ slingers) divide

by flesh

what is inside? thin air

standing in for many bodies

I wrote on a stone

happy with what I wrote: mobius

strip for speaking, none of them

mouths meant for speaking,

living in 2nd person,

 

my balikbayan box of a lover,

woman, begins with land.

 

I stood and fought the exit.

Every person green and I am no different.

 

(made from the words of Melissa Morrow, Nikki Wallschlaeger, Claire Donato, Monica Hand, Melissa Sipin, Matthew Trease, Yael Villafranca, Tamiko Beyer, Hari Zi Stanzfor, Bushra Rehman, Paul Ocampo, Todd Wellman, Evangeline Ganaden & Carol Gomez)

 

Prompts for your writings:

 

Say Look, this is your saddest thing. That’s all.
Your first & only saddest thing. – Aracelis Girmay

 

Behold, I teach you the superman: He is this lightning, he is this madness!”
–Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra (via Melissa Morrow)

 

Before it was a Bomb, the Bomb was an Idea.
Superman, however, was a Faster, Stronger, Better Idea.”
–Grant Morrison, Supergods (via Melissa Morrow)

 

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 (via Melissa Morrow)

 

all the little mothers and big mothers. rolling out another
bed- for death or rebirth? – Nikki Wallschlaeger

 

How can one disguise the simple fact that the entire world is somewhat sad and lonely?’ – Clarice Lispector (via Claire Donato)

 

Why is the love of pleasure a source of shame? – Monica Hand

 

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 (via Melissa Sipin)

 

 

 

Is there room in the room that you room in? – Ted Berrigan (via Matthew Trease)

 

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

– Yael Villafranca

 

What is the palimpsest upon which you write (your life)? – Tamiko Beyer

 

maybe the one about the land and the lover who never left … – Hari Zi Stanzfor

 

So this is the lady who made this big war.” Lincoln on Beecher Stowe (no judgment) – Bushra Rehman

 

It became a nightly query… – Paul Ocampo

 

James Baldwin’s interviewer: And why do you fool yourself? – via Evangeline Ganaden

 

What are the foods that keep you from feeling lonely? – Carol Gomez

*

{If none of those work, some extra prompts from Matthew Trease:

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}

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18 Responses to “for what is inside: collaborative generating #5”

  1. Mel Says:

    Poem From Your Daughter

    This is a poem about my father
    without the alcohol,
    thin air standing in
    for so many men lost to war.
    This is a poem about my father

    when he returned from war
    I carved Morrow into a stone
    because we couldn’t speak.
    Stripped for others because
    we weren’t speaking.
    This is a poem about coming home

    understanding, man, begins with
    seeing the land where a person
    was born. So I stand at the old Morrow
    homestead and feel nothing. I should
    go instead to Nam,
    to the shit. I stood and fought
    the exit. This is a poem. My father

    living in 2nd person, not me. Every person
    green and I am no different.

    Is this your saddest thing? Is this your first
    and only saddest thing? I look.
    There are all the mothers heavy with
    bolts of cloth, rolling out their beds
    for death and for rebirth.
    The cloth a disguise for the simple
    fact that the entire world is
    somewhat sad and lonely.

    Why is the love of shame a source
    of pleasure? It is a room. My room.
    The space in the place that I space in.
    A place holding me at a distance from
    Father. We all have reasons for moving.

    To father: you are what made me first
    the son you wanted, rose-born and soft, your hope
    is what takes me inside the aura. My hope
    is what spits me out the other side.

    I am the lady who made this big war—no—judgment
    when you are already so war-weary. It became a nightly
    query: how to forgive? How to separate from this person?
    From this place? How to walk out of the valley or the plain?
    Why do I fool myself? Does the person who was in battle
    die there? It became a nightly query. Father, you should see my
    battlefield. I move to keep things whole. I move ever toward you.

    Before it was a Bomb, the Bomb was an Idea.
    You are my dream of Father, from woman first. Superman,
    the man of steel, son of Jor-El, was a faster,
    stronger, better Idea. So was The Junkyard
    Dog, and ground control to Major Tom.
    We both have no idea what
    Father should mean. So we wing it.

    We live in the stories we tell ourselves. I have
    seen you in uniform. I have seen you in other uniforms.
    You must take off your disguises and walk to me.
    You must whisper your word of transformation.
    It’s time to save yourself.

    This is a poem from your daughter.
    You are the superman. You are
    this lightening. You are this recovery.

    (collaborative lines from Nikki Wallschlaeger, Claire Donato, Monica Hand, Melissa Sipin, Matthew Trease, Yael Villafranca, Tamiko Beyer, Hari Zi Stanzfor, Bushra Rehman, Paul Ocampo, Todd Wellman, Evangeline Ganaden, Carol Gomez, Aracelis Grimay, Donika Ross, Clarice Lispector, Monica Hand, Ted Berrigan, Mark Strand, Abraham Lincoln, James Baldwin’s Interviewer, Grant Morrison, Friedrich Nietzche)

    *************************************
    Prompts:

    “This is not to say that the protean aspects of Earth cease to amaze me, or cease to enthrall me with its natural magic.”
    –Will Alexander, “My Interior Vita”

    “Yet above all, the earth being for me the specificity of Africa, as revealed by…”
    –Will Alexander, “My Interior Vita”

    “An act of imagination is an act of self-acceptance.”
    –Richard Hugo, _The Triggering Town_

  2. Monica Hand Says:

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

    The oncologist called them “weeping” nodules. She was crying from the very organs that gave her breath. I watched her tear at her skin to breathe. She pulled off the breathing machine, next her clothes and then at her very skin. I could not tell if her actions meant she wanted to live or that she wanted to die. They – my sisters, the doctors, the pastor – said it was time. We should decide to end her suffering – let her go. I did not want to watch her suffer – so I let go my hold…my insistent voice – breathe mommy, breathe for me.

    I know she was lonely, sad and lonely – maybe she really is in a happier place.

    Today, I tell Michelle, I am not depressed, I am sad, really, really sad. She gives me Rumi to read:

    Guest House

    This being human is a guest house
    Every morning a new arrival.
    A joy, a depression, a meanness
    some momentary awareness comes
    as an unexpected visitor.
    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of its furniture
    still treat each guest honorably
    He may be clearing you out for some new delight
    The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
    meet them at the door laughing
    and invite them in
    Be grateful for whoever comes,
    because each has been sent
    as a guide from beyond.

    Still I do not understand

    Why is the world sad and lonely? What can we do to end her weeping? Is she making way for some new delight? Should we greet this sadness laughing?

  3. Claire Donato Says:

    Is there room in the room that you room in? – Ted Berrigan (via Matthew Trease)

    If the room is heavily shaded, reduce capacity by 10 percent.

    If the room is very sunny, increase capacity by 10 percent.

    If more than two people regularly occupy the room, add 600 BTUs for each additional person.

    If the unit is used in a kitchen, increase capacity by 4,000 BTUs.

    Consider where you install the unit. If you are mounting it near the corner of a room, look for a unit that can send the airflow in the right direction.

    Or, if the room is based on the idea that there is an elephant in it, overlook this question entirely. People in the room who pretend the elephant is not there have chosen to avoid dealing with the looming issue, thus there is surely a time in the future when they will part ways.


    ‘Pure? What does it mean?’ – Sylvia Plath

    ‘Love is a conflict.’ – Jean-Paul Sartre

    ‘You are doing all you can to stay human in an inhuman situation’ – Stanislaw Lem

  4. Melissa Says:

    “How can one disguise the simple fact that the entire world is somewhat sad and lonely?” — Clarice Lispector (via Claire Donato)

    I have my own story of shame. My lola has said:
    put your culture and history first.
    I married into a new culture when I was 23,
    and a watching woman-broken-child cried.
    I married while sitting in a sea of karoke-goers,
    I saw stars in the shape of the alphabet along the walls.
    It was our wedding reception. Afterwards, in a balikbayan
    box, my father packed the items of who I am:
    vienna sausage cans, corned beef, and SPAM,
    all gifts of self-exile. I eat the food of my country
    no longer within myself. My lola says to me:
    you married a military man like me. She frowns.
    I make up things every time I open my eyes.

    I have my own story of shame. A secret marriage is still.
    This is how I manage the absence of your physical being
    in the day-to-day: I become an ocean out of wedlock.
    At least I am next to you when you are a thousand miles gone,
    dressed in white slacks like a mourning dove. Every morning,
    I walk to my faucet and distill water into light. I stand and fight
    the exit, like the last time.

    Inspired by all who are here. Thank you, sincerely.

    Prompt:
    “Keep reminding yourself that literature is one of the saddest roads that leads to everything.” — André Breton

  5. for what is inside: collaborative generating #5 « Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Says:

    […] Posted by Melissa on August 12, 2011 · Leave a Comment  Collaborative Manifesto Project: here. […]

  6. racruzzo Says:

    It became a nightly query of crossed hearts to her mother’s scar on the breast. Pinky swear. My niece points. There. Daughters roll out beds for death and rebirth, their mothers pull the sheets over their heads, gaping through the pinholes of sky. Where? I can’t catch — Unstitching her shirt, the mother says, no, this isn’t my last & only saddest thing. She spits out three cherry pits, I’m not fooling myself. She is drinking a fine rosé, she is turning a page of Murakami, she is lighting her cheeks with rouge. My niece fills her mother’s bra with tissue, testing out the new wig.

    (words from Aracelis Girmay, Nikki Wallschlaeger, Paul Ocampo, Evangline Ganaden, James Baldwin, Carol Gomez)

    I have tried to write this thing calmly even as its lines burn to a close. I have come to know something simple. Each sentence realised or dreamed jumps like a pulse with history and takes a side. – Dionne Brand, “No Language Is Neutral”

    What I say in any language is told in faultless knowledge of skin, in drunkenness and weeping, told as a woman without matches and tinder, not in words and in words and in words learned by heart, told in secret and not in secret, and listen, does not burn out or waste and is plenty and pitiless and loves. -Dionne Brand, “No Language Is Neutral”

  7. hari malagayo alluri Says:

    looked up similar to lychee. the way the answers rolled off
    my tongue seemed wrong. looked up tagalog for longan
    and was left with the feeling i hoped the taste would keep me from.

    it became a nightly query. we live in the stories
    we tell ourselves. shazam! gil scott-heron
    sang ain’t no such thing but how else can i
    explain that i am the only one in my family
    who can’t see through lead?

    lies are almost as beautiful as rosethorn.

    once i had the foolishness to tell the universe i was ready
    to grow. every time a lesson presented itself,
    i got stung. i left the weeklong camp with
    swollen arms, forehead, calves, pinky knuckle.

    i still apologize to the families of all those dead
    bees. the air moves in to fill the spaces they fell from.

    of course, i have forgotten. rambutan. rambutan

    (in collaboration with the words / promptings / stylings of ching-in chen, melissa morrow, friedrich nietzshe, grant morrisson, melissa sipin, mark strand, yael villafranca, paul ocampo, james baldwin, evangeline ganaden, carol gomez, chris abani)

    prompt for tomorrow:

    Your eyes opened in mine; I saw
    Your snow-Light soaking every garden.
    Your ears bloomed in mine; I heard
    Your river running over every stone.
    -Rumi (trans. Andrew Harvey)

  8. caroljg Says:

    all the little mothers and big mothers. rolling out another bed- for death or rebirth? – Nikki Wallschlaeger
    ‘How can one disguise the simple fact that the entire world is somewhat sad and lonely?’ – Clarice Lispector (via Claire Donato)
    Why is the love of pleasure a source of shame? – Monica Hand
    An act of imagination is an act of self-acceptance.” — Richard Hugo,
    So this is the lady who made this big war.” Lincoln
    And why do you fool yourself? – via Evangeline Ganaden

    this is a story of a child and mother:

    she was told that she born of a cow, that her little infant body, slimy with mucus and blood was pulled from the belly of a bovine
    cut down the middle, ribs splayed, organs naked, juices flowing straining the green, terracotta earth, with sticky red and yellow fluids

    she was led to believe that her grandparents were imposters, therefore
    she was an imposter, that she really wasn’t the child of the child of her amma and appa .

    that her 5 year old life as she knew it was nothing more than a fabrication a conspiracy to convince her to exist in a suburbian matrix to keep her living in the 2nd person, or maybe 3rd or 4th persons removed from her mortal self.

    this is a story of a child and mother

    twists of truths and myth haunt her 22 year old mind plagued by doubts of her own existence. panicked into doubting her 2nd, 3rd and even 4th person existence. sometimes tearing into her skin to feel if she even really exists.

    her mind swirling with doubts about her mortality, her sanity entangled in the matrix of her chaotic infancy with a broken-childed-woman, whose own mind swirled in mythologies manufactured by hallucinations, paranoid ideations, by pcp, cocaone and meth to sooth her brain’s torturous creations.

    this child’s sub-urban early childhood, complicated by her urban adolescence, alienated from her 1st person self now caught up in a whirlwind of adulthood of a woman-broken-child, child broken by woman. afraid to turn out like the broken-child-ed-mother, two beings divided by flesh of each other.

    this is the story of a child becoming woman…..painfully, mortally lost, gasping to fill the spaces where her body had been and her earthly senses cannot fathom.

    that has become her obsessive day and nightly quest, tangled up in suffocating knots as she journeys into the aurora of her endless mind to embody that unsee-able species she imagines herself to be.

    ** Is there normalcy in a mind-bending existence? **

    inspired by the words, prompts and ruminations of, among others: ching-in, nikki, claire, monica, melissa, mel, bushra, matthew, paul, yael, tamiko, hari and all the other famous, infamous and unknown writers who came before me.

  9. Tamiko Says:

    I just finished teaching a week-long writing class at a summer camp for girls 8-10 years old. Today’s poem just flew out of me from the Aracelis Girmay, and then I mined all your poems for phrases to add in. 🙂

    All gifts of self-exile
    – for Joan

    There is a giril
    always standing
    off to the side.
    She speaks softly
    to the air as if to reach
    into the whorled shells
    of the other girls’ ears
    to say:
    “Look
    I am here, our saddest
    thing. Our first
    and only saddest thing.
    This being human is a guest
    house–I hold
    a loneliness so vast
    it contains mine and all
    of yours. I hold it so
    you can greet each other
    without fear and sing
    to each other in comraderie.
    I will be here. I’ll leave
    this weeklong camp holding
    all of our your insecurities
    in my notebook, wrapped
    up so tight you’ll never
    know I had them.”

    (word collaborators: Aracelis Girmay, Rumi via Monica Hand, Hari Zi Stanzfor, Melissa Sipin, inspiration: everyone posting this week. xo)

  10. Tamiko Says:

    umm that should be “girl” in the first line!

  11. mtrease Says:

    What is the palimpsest upon which you write (your life)? – Tamiko Beyer

    Apparently there are two levels, but maybe there are
    three or four, who knows how many? It opens with a single,
    lengthy take: The camera travels along the flat exterior
    of a cheap motel, in front of which two low-life homicidal
    scumbags make banal small talk before killing
    an entire family, including a little girl. A chronicler who recites
    events without distinguishing between major and minor
    ones acts in accordance with the following truth: nothing
    that has ever happened should be regarded as lost
    for history. That’s the thing: you never hear about
    the Phil Freeze’s. You hear about the Tim Leary’s,
    the Aldous Huxley’s. I’m not saying that would’ve swayed me
    at 12 but I am saying this: we don’t need some danny sugarfuck
    to relate it to us. I am the one around here who destroys
    dolls. Suppose that the man in the chest fixes a rope to the inner side
    of the lid, and that he attaches a body to the free end
    of the rope. The result of this will be to stretch
    the rope so that it will hang “vertically” downwards. The lathe
    operators use gouges – long-handled, curved chisels – to form
    a doll. They insert the round piece of wood into a spiked hub
    and beat it into place with a large mallet. The hub holds
    the wood tight, and the wood is rotated at the desired speed.
    So is the kingdom of God on many elementary lathes. Turning
    speed is adjusted by moving the belt that transfers
    torque from an electric motor to the turning axel from among several
    diameters of belt wheel, either on the motor‘s driveshaft or on
    the axel of the lathe, much like shifting gears on a multi-speed
    bicycle. If we ask for an opinion of the cause of tension
    in the rope, the man in the chest will say: “The suspended body experiences
    a downward force in the gravitational field, and this is neutralized by the tension
    of the rope; what determines the magnitude of the tension is the gravitational
    mass of the suspended body.” I start out painting
    in a good mood, trying hard—paint, paint, paint—and I begin
    to think that I‘ll never sell the doll for what I think
    it‘s worth to me, and I begin to get sloppy and cut
    corners, and that depresses me, to be producing something beneath
    my talent, so sometimes I get angry and simply destroy
    the doll I‘m working on. As the citizens, as the artists
    of today, we are obligated to develop the roads paved
    of yesterday and as well heed the warnings
    thereof. We’ve learned all we can from the substance
    induced altered states, now let’s find
    another inspiration. Here and now, I throw down
    my cloak, beat my sword into a ploughshare, and say defiantly NO
    MORE!!! To be sure, only a redeemed mankind receives the fullness
    of its past-which is to say, only for a redeemed mankind has
    its past become citable in all its moments. Each moment
    it has lived becomes a citation a l’ordre du jour — and that day is
    Judgment Day. This happens off-screen, thank God,
    but nothing that follows does. Well, I’m not going to spoil
    anything. But it’s fair to say A History of Violence revolves
    around a momentous secret. And I believe that
    between those two extremes there are other levels I haven‘t
    the slightest idea about and don‘t want to know about
    either. That is I don‘t want to become conscious of the recipe.

    • mtrease Says:

      scribes of the gospels of St Matthew and St. Mark, Rett Ertl and Rick Hibberd, Albert Einstein, Misha Yudin, David Brinkley, Walter Benjamin, Roger Ebert, Todd McCarthy, James Berardinelli, Mick Lasalle, David Edelstein, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

      Prompt: How does a single letter expand into a landscape?

  12. serena w. lin Says:

    James Baldwin’s interviewer: And why do you fool yourself? – via Evangeline Ganaden

    life fits, orange in a bowl
    beating wings above the garden
    pinholes of sky
    closed flaps of a curious notebook
    rustling wildflower, sap, and newberries
    fire up the guess house
    distill the giggling between girls
    neither hostile neither hopeful
    listen to secrets
    eyes closed for mother
    sequestered in your stomach
    pieces of innocence fallen by the tree
    no sound when they touch the ground

    (thanks evangeline, tamiko, melissa, rumi, ching-in, mel, raychelle)

  13. Bushra Says:

    Dear All, have been taking care of four children under the age of 5 for the last few days and so I am finding bursts of time to read your amazing poems and dish out my own in between naps and play and feeding, thank you!

    Say Look, this is your saddest thing. That’s all.
    Your first & only saddest thing. – Aracelis Girmay

    i.
    On one hand my father loaded with grief
    a sack of rotting potatoes,
    on the other hand, my mother shooting up
    with morphine just to get through the day
    their blood sugar rises and falls like the dow jones
    after Nixon took all their gold

    ii.
    My father once the superman
    could work three jobs at the speed of sound
    now hangs his head in his hands, his heart grown
    over with damask flowers and canola oil

    All the little mothers and big mothers,
    rolling out another bed for the endless stream
    of children falling from their wombs

    iii.

    In a field
    I am the absence
    of field.
    I hold the
    sun between
    my fingers
    and squeeze
    like a pimple.

    iv.

    Why do I fool myself
    when the Buddha
    was one of my ancestors
    the original
    one
    forced to convert?

    When I am
    a hot furnace
    washed over
    with stone?

    lines and inspiration from all this week and for this poem, specifically Nikki Wallschlaeger, Aracelis Girmay, Mark Strand (via Melissa Sipin), Yael Villafranca, interviewer of J. Baldwin via Evangeline Ganaden, Matthew Trease

  14. Evangeline Says:

    maybe the one about the land and the lover
    who never left
    scent of magnolia sweet
    and blood at the root
    who decides who belongs and who doesn’t?
    not God’s, your tongue with Holy Water
    wind is leaving along itself too
    love the stranger, a mourning, a tree
    will cleanse your breath
    this is how I manage the absence
    this my mother, that my father
    and to the children I don’t have
    their mouths not meant
    because we were never
    it is beautiful to leave a room and the narrow strips of light

    collaborators: Hari Zi Stanzfor, Abel Meeropol aka Lewis Allan (“Strangefruit” interpreted by Billie Holiday and Nina Simone), Monica Hand, Melissa, Yang Lian, Rachelle Cruz, Ching-In, Mel, Bushra, mtrease

  15. toddw Says:

    “…palimpsest…” – tamiko
    ————————–

    when you unplugged tv,
    you didn’t need to know what was next,
    only that there was no tv.

  16. Bushra Says:

    forgot prompt!
    why does the lawnmower make so much noise?

  17. clarissa rojas Says:

    for what is inside
    for the love of x

    seed of beginning
    flower feed mariposa
    xochitl
    papalotl
    to ride the beat of wind

    when mothers eyes close
    secret wings to fly
    to hold the sun
    between my fingers
    anchor dreams in equis skies

    the anything is possible
    resistant refrain
    of tongues
    severed
    but for the love of x
    speak softly xoqui
    shells do listen

    the plea was cast
    and j contained
    from spilling
    out the blood
    of xochimilco
    aguas plenas
    en memoria

    xantal
    and you remain
    the sign
    the sound
    that dreamt the eagle’s
    people
    to remain
    the xifo dances
    to his name
    to cleanse
    the palette of their wrath
    there is no absence
    x remains

    in collaboration tamiko, serena, bushra, evangeline

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