What are our non-neutral languages? Collaborative generating #6

8.13.11 What are our non-neutral languages? Collaborative generating #6


To the children I don’t have


when you love the stranger, unplugged

the way answers rolled off

my tongue wrong. I still apologize

heartgrown a mourning tree

sequestered in your stomach.


I am the one around here

who destroys dolls, this being

human a guest house. Whorled

shells, other girls’ ears born of a cow.


To the families of dead bees, unstitching

her shirt. Walk to my faucet,

each additional person tear

her skin to breathe. I have seen

you in other uniforms, this is a poem

I stood and fought.


(made from the words of Melissa Morrow, Monica Hand, Claire Donato, Melissa Sipin, Rachelle Cruz, Hari Malagayo Alluri, Carol Gomez, Tamiko Beyer, Matthew Trease, Serena W. Lin, Bushra Rehman, Evangeline Ganaden & Todd Wellman)


Promptings for your writings:

the trees. I sit between trees,
hanging hair and red mouth.
I mouth and sit. The buck
stands by the river. I am in
my paper mask, my wood.) – Khadijah Queen

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” (via Melissa Morrow)

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

An act of imagination is an act of self-acceptance.” –Richard Hugo, _The Triggering Town_ (via Melissa Morrow)

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? – Monica Hand

Pure? What does it mean?’ – Sylvia Plath (via Claire Donato)

Love is a conflict.’ – Jean-Paul Sartre (via Claire Donato)

You are doing all you can to stay human in an inhuman situation’ – Stanislaw Lem (via Claire Donato)

Keep reminding yourself that literature is one of the saddest roads that leads to everything.” — André Breton (via Melissa Sipin)

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” (via Rachelle Cruz)

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” (via Rachelle Cruz)

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) (via Hari Malagayo Alluri)

Is there normalcy in a mind-bending existence? – Carol Gomez

How does a single letter expand into a landscape? – Matthew Trease

Why does the lawnmower make so much noise? – Bushra Rehman


15 Responses to “What are our non-neutral languages? Collaborative generating #6”

  1. Nikki Wallschlaeger Says:

    inspired by the prompt of bushra rehman

    the sound of all of our teeth. like sea glass. polished
    by existence. demarcated by sound. unlike the cicadas
    in august, this is a competitive wake.

    prompt: “beauty made for the happy, beauty you run a great risk” -Paul Euliard

  2. Paul Ocampo Says:

    “Keep reminding yourself that literature is one of the saddest roads that leads to everything.” — André Breton (via Melissa Sipin)

    The road not taken is lonely,
    the poet failed to mention this.
    I sit between the trees,
    hear the sound of my teeth
    Polished by the wintry dark.
    Where is the poet
    to show me how to fail
    and to fail better.
    Where are her words,
    A single letter,
    A trail of breadcrumbs
    expanding into the landscape?
    The brook that soothes
    In words, in words, in words.
    I greet this sadness laughing.
    Today, I would’ve mowed the lawn.
    Instead, I entered the woods
    and the straightway was lost.

    (Collaboration with Khadijah, Nikki, Matt, Bushra, Dionne, Rachelle, Rumi, Hari, Monica, and everyone else.)

    Prompt: Increase potency quickly and then… (from my SPAM box)

  3. caroljg Says:

    “Love is a conflict” Jean-Paul Sartre
    “No language is neutral” – Dionne Brand

    2:35 am
    gnashing of teeth, breaking of glass, thuds, blood curdling screams, room shakes
    2:35 am
    woken from a partial slumber to surreal sounds like a radio blasting in the darkness
    2:36 am
    a college student ruckus maybe on a wednesday night? seemed unlikely i jump out of bed, heart beating slightly eyes peering stealthily out my window. i see love in conflict.
    2:36 am
    a couple in love in conflict no more in love. a woman unsteady screams from her belly pleading love, pleading hatred. no. yes. no. yes. go. don’t go. jeremy. come back. bitch. spitting it’s my house. bitch.
    2:36 am
    the silhouette of a man, a man in conflict. stop. you hit me. enough. barking words. rachel. stop. did u just hit me? barking.
    2:37 am
    struggling, tussling. answers rolled off tongue all wrong. bitch. (why is she calling him bitch?). blood curdling screams from the belly. cries like prolonged hunger of an infant. like heart grown a mourning tree sequestered in her stomach.
    2:38 am
    intervention comes, prying lovers in conflict apart. tall man pushes jeremy apart, away from screaming bellied woman. hands defying resistance pushing strong against his back. go.
    2:38 am
    intervention comes, blond girl in hood squeezes screaming belly tightly, cupping hand over her mouth. sssshhh.shhhhh.shhh. no more. stop. Buries head in shoulder. sequestering screams. rachel. ssshhhh. shhhhh. shhh. stop. screams of bitch hurled. arms defying resistance pushing strong against tight embrace. sssshhhh. shhhh. shhh.
    2:39 am
    silver car speeds away. friends hug tightly, shushing cries, shouldering tears. rocking back to sobriety.
    heart rate escalated, stomach churning slightly i absorb the drama from my window.
    2:40 am
    climb back under covers shaken still as plaintive howls, in drunkenness and weeping, float into the warm night air and mingle with the fog swirl quietly off into the pacific ocean….

    inspired by: ching-in, nikki, claire, rachelle

    prompt: do we cheat em and how? (…as I listen to car talk)

  4. toddw Says:

    Prompt: ‘You are doing all you can to stay human in an inhuman situation’ – Stanislaw Lem (via Claire Donato)
    I watched a movie: women and men and families and one woman and a different one woman and a visitor and a self-deluded ever-staunch man and a sad wife: Iran.

    When some men were gone: found: taken, some women talked other things, themselves. Because noticing deletion means deletion matters.

  5. eucalyptusraven Says:

    “…Each sentence realised or dreamed jumps like a pulse with history and takes a side.” – Dionne Brand, “No Language Is Neutral” (via Rachelle Cruz)

    “come to neutral.”

    I look in the mirror. I look in the mirror
    not at myself, but at the other neutral bodies
    in the mirror.

    actually, I stand each day in dance class
    in front of the door, in front of the PA cabinet
    where there isn’t a mirror.

    when the teacher asks us to
    “come to neutral”
    I think about how the mirror reflects
    my 13 year old body in pointe shoes
    and how my psyche could have gotten fucked
    like a mixed race natalie portman in black swan.

    I’m looking at the door, at the PA cabinet
    but my life was almost like that–
    masturbation, mothers, and the color pink.

    I think about how a mirror once asked me if I was a lesbian
    and how I wasn’t looking at myself
    but at the other not-lesbian in the mirror.

    iele said there is nothing neutral about bodies (http://ielepaloumpis.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/theres-nothing-neutral-about-bodies/)
    and when I’m asked I jump like a pulse
    and walk through the door.

    Prompt: “Perhaps it’s something to do with stability, presence, quiet, stillness, readiness, or just standing in parallel while looking forward. // Let’s locate and move specificities within our unexpected bodies.” – iele paloumpis

  6. eucalyptusraven Says:

    eucalyptusraven is Jai Arun Ravine – Thanks Ching-In!

  7. racruzzo Says:

    What are our non-neutral languages? -Ching-In Chen

    Language of snow-light, my paper bag, gash, found
    Language of howl and fog swirl of sobriety
    Language of spitting it’s my house and pink hoodie
    Language of pure and born of a cow and whorled ear
    Language of kill team, truthout and take my picture,
    I can’t bear–
    Language of rice and mind-bending existence
    Language of 2:35 am, 2:36 am, 2:40 am, and I absorb
    the barking from my window
    Language of I watched a movie: climb back under covers shaken still
    Language of stuttered moonlight, of hanging hair
    Language of deletion means go don’t go,
    Language of I am the one around here who destroys,
    a trail of breadcrumbs scattered behind, my wood,
    my word.

    (words from Ching-In Chen, Khadijah Queen, Monica Hand, Carol Gomez, Todd W., Paul Ocampo, Dionne Brand, Rumi, Bushra Rehman)

    Prompt: “Diminished, I am all nerve.” – Duriel Harris

  8. Mel Says:

    What the Fuck

    No, really. It’s a good question.

    So here’s what’s fucked up about it:
    I still apologize.

    He inserted the round piece into the hidden
    hub and beat me into place. The hub held
    the word flight and the world rotated at the
    speed he desired.

    This is the story of a child becoming a woman
    by force.

    I have my own story of shame.

    I’m the one around here who destroys dolls.
    The original one forced to convert.

    If you ask my opinion for the cause of tension,
    It’s the thing you never hear about
    told by a woman without matches or tinder
    told in confidence and utter lack of confidence
    told in faulty remembering, in muscle memory.

    That’s the thing. I’m not saying it would have swayed me
    at 21, but I am saying this: we don’t need some dandy
    sugarfuck to teach it to us.

    I am a cold furnace worked over
    with bone
    with blood at the root
    with rot at the heart.

    There is a girl always standing off to the side.
    We should decide to end her suffering.

    Do her actions mean she wants to live or she wants to die?
    The way answers rolled off my tongue seemed wrong.

    I worked three jobs at the speed of sound.
    I distilled the giggling of girls into something hopeless and hostile.
    I made up things every time I closed my eyes.
    I pulled off the breathing machine.

    To the children I don’t have:
    If he mounts you in the corner of a room,
    move through the room. Despite the instinct
    to retreat deep into some whorled shell,
    increase capacity by 4,000 BTUs.
    Don’t ask forgiveness. Instead, for give.
    You must clear yourself of them, make way
    for some new delights.

    When you love another stranger, unplug.
    No matter what, strive to be treated honorably by each guest.
    From the past, make no pretense. This is how
    to restore normalcy to your fucked up existence.

    (Many thanks to you all!! Ching-In; Matt; Carol; Tamiko; Melissa; Claire; Rumi; Dionne Brand; Carol Gomez; Bushra; Monica; Hari; Serena; Evangeline)


    “Chemistry can’t be faked.
    Men don’t want to star in romantic comedies–or go see them.
    Women love a good fantasy–but don’t want to be treated like idiots.
    Filmmakers are afraid to get personal.”

    (some of the answers to the question “Why is it so hard to make a good romantic comedy?” from August 12th’s Entertainment Weekly Magazine)

  9. hari Says:

    Prompt: chili hot or temperature hot?

  10. serena w. lin Says:

    “An act of imagination is an act of self-acceptance.” –Richard Hugo, The Triggering Town (via Melissa Morrow)

    Young buck, torn apart
    by the cypress tree, languishing pieces
    Dead Language, she stood and fought
    a poem patchwork, stills, tiniest of cuts
    Turtle face, he screamed
    “the best phantasm I ever had!”
    Mirror Mirror, neutral sits
    between cracks, pauses, returns
    Lucky rabbit, expanding sadness
    grieving gnomes watering grass
    Interruption letter, enter straightaway
    clothes that reupholster chairs
    Director moon, wintry conduct
    orchestra sound oboe bayonet
    Born-again cow, stuttering seashells
    unfurling flags unraveled ocean strings
    Unicorn dreams, gently place
    your whorled ear into the basket
    Serena Serena, head hanging
    out the window, board up words
    ignore all irrelevant doors

    (Incorporating Melissa Morrow, Richard Hugo via Melissa Morrow, Rachelle Cruz, Paul Ocampo, Ching-In Chen, eucalyptusraven, Carol, Melissa, Tamiko)

    prompt: “She knocks on the door and says, ‘Open up.'” ZZ Packer, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

  11. Evangeline Says:

    small things: butter lettuce and a slap
    tongue wrong [but without alcohol]
    I have forgotten, rambutan
    drunk on a fine rosé—isn’t it better to pretend the elephant?
    like orange in wings when they touch the ground
    I am in my paper mask, my wood
    I take up the sea in bottles
    how else to manage my absence?

    collaboration and inspiration from all and Ching-In, Mel, Hari Malagayo Alluri, Rachelle Cruz, Claire Donato, Serena W. Lin, Khadijah Queen, Amy Scattergood

    prompt: the possibility of redemption

    • Evangeline Says:

      Oops, some confusion from last night–I was writing late, or rather early! (2am, PST 🙂 Prompt used: “I am in my paper mask, my wood” All excerpts taken from previous day, except “tongue wrong”–quite literally, my tongue wrong 😉

  12. hari Says:

    Realization: Rachel cruz’s musings from a couple days back fully influenced the core of pyracantha above. Gratitude to all for the ways that cypher affects pen

  13. Melissa Says:

    ‘Love is a conflict.’ – Jean-Paul Sartre (via Claire Donato)

    I look in the mirror and I see my mother.
    She stands at four foot ten, barely tip-toeing.
    She tells me, the road not taken is a single letter.
    The clicks of her teeth fade and become white noise
    like a television on mute for hours. At 2:36am, a couple
    in love gets married somewhere in Vegas, between the
    hours laid between the folds of midnight and dawn.
    When I look in the mirror, I see my mother. Married at 23.
    I’m late for 7am coffee. Some men were gone and small things
    become like sea glass. I don’t ask forgiveness. Instead, I give.

    Collaboration and inspiration from all, Chin-In, Paul, Evangeline, Carol, Nikki, Todd, Matt, and many more. Thank you.

    I apologize for my lateness! But thank you, everyone, for this process is insanely inspirational. On to more days! Cheers!

  14. what are our non-neutral languages? collaborative generating #6 « Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Says:

    […] Posted by Melissa on August 14, 2011 · Leave a Comment  Collaborative Manifesto Project: here. […]

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