8.14.11 our redemption songs are what: collaborative generating #7

8.14.11 our redemption songs are what: collaborative generating #7



small things: the sea in bottles, three

jobs at the speed of sound, your body

below the machine.

a mirror once asked if I was



a lesbian, I wasn’t looking

at myself, a trail of breadcrumbs

when some men were gone: some women

talked other things, themselves the sound,

all our teeth taken. 2:38am interruption.



Instead, I enter the woods.



(made from the words provided by Nikki Wallschlaeger, Paul Ocampo, Carol Gomez, Todd Wellman, Jai Arun Ravine, Rachlle Cruz, Hari Malagayo Alluri, Melissa Morrow, Serena W. Lin & Evangeline Ganaden)


Promptings for your writings:

If I am laden and rock hard, what will wind be? How will I know it? If I am quandary and spite and malice, among the collection of beer cans with tiny faces and an odor that clings to me, will the room become larger? – Dawn Lundy Martin

beauty made for the happy, beauty you run a great risk” -Paul Euliard (via Nikki Wallschlaeger)


Increase potency quickly and then… (from my SPAM box) – Paul Ocampo


do we cheat em and how? (…as I listen to car talk) – Carol Gomez


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 (via Jai Arun Ravine)


Diminished, I am all nerve.” – Duriel Harris (via Rachelle Cruz)


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)

– via Melissa Morrow


chili hot or temperature hot? – Hari Malagayo Alluri


She knocks on the door and says, ‘Open up.’” ZZ Packer, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere (via Serena W Lin)


the possibility of redemption – Evangeline Ganaden


17 Responses to “8.14.11 our redemption songs are what: collaborative generating #7”

  1. toddw Says:

    “If I am laden and rock hard, what will wind be?” – Dawn

    Carl sits, one hair by one falling away;
    is he still Carl?
    He lost his arm (that terrible accident);
    is he still Carl?
    His sight has gone a little;
    is he still Carl?
    If a they were to polish him repeatedly
    with wind,
    until he was a jewel,
    is he still Carl?

  2. Anna Says:

    The wind gently shapes those hardened structures like rocks and buildings over time, annoyingly, constantly pushing them in a way they try to stand against. Lightly contacting the surface, the wind has nothing on the mass of the structure, but persistence itself pays off and after seventy years, the house is crumbling and the rock has rolled. Wind becomes the forces of change, gently reminding you that no matter how hard you become, you will never have the full control of your life that you believe you deserve. Little things matter.

    And spite and malice are little things, not because they do not have a big influence on the way the stubborn run their lives, but because they are exclusionary. They make the circle of our lives, the social influences of others, smaller because they push away others. They exclude, in their hardness, the same way a smile includes others. The world becomes smaller the harder we make it, the harder we work against the soft influence of wind and vulnerability.

  3. Bushra Says:

    (wish I had more time for this! But felt so empty when I did not post yesterday and so thought I should post sooner rather than later! thank you all. .. )

    Fucked up in the morning

    What the fuck, whenever I read
    the new york times
    I remember why

    I don’t read the new york times
    hatred for muslims
    seeping out of every pore
    out of every letter that expands
    across its bombed out landscape

    All the news fit to print

    Let us peruse for a moment:
    August 14, International Page/Amsterdam:

    “Ms. Kuhlman has lived
    in the Slotervaart neighborhood
    for 36 years but says,
    ‘I no longer feel at home.’

    “Built in the 1950s,
    Slotervaart is now about 60 percent
    immigrants or their children,
    most from Morocco or Turkey.
    Crime rates are high, especially
    among the second generation.

    “She remembered sunbathing topless
    on her balcony in the 1980s.
    ‘It’s inconceivable now,” she said.
    ‘Now my next-door neighbor
    doesn’t even greet me in the hallway,
    he can’t look at me, and it’s been 28 years,’ . . .
    Then she laughed bitterly.
    ‘He doesn’t work; I work.
    I work all shifts. I pay taxes.
    I work for them!’

    “Willem Stuyter, nursing a beer, broke in.
    ‘It’s already too late,” he said.
    ‘In 10 years this will be a Muslim state.’

    I have tried to write this thing calmly
    even as its lines burn to a close.
    I try to stay human in an inhuman situation
    If I am laden and rock hard,
    If I am quandary and spite and malice. . .
    will the room become larger?

    Matthew Trease, Dionne Brand via Rachelle Cruz, Richard Hugo via Melissa Morrow, Dawn Lundy Martin, apologies if I forgot anyone!

  4. caroljg Says:

    mummy cooked fish head curry today. i hate fish curry, so sour. and that means plain rice and cabbage.
    friday is always fish curry day. or egg curry. we can’t eat meat on friday cos catholics can’t eat meat on fridays. have to sacrifice. but fish is more expensive than meat, so maybe we sacrifice money. but I don’t really like fish tho, so i guess that’s my sacrifice.

    mummy brings the dish of sour, salty, tamarind, tomato, tumeric ladies fingers, mackerel fish head curry steam swirling hot dampness at me. it’s dead eyes stare blankly at the ceiling as it swims sideways in a spicey, orangey stew.. bits of roe float between pieces of flower-shaped ladies fingers, little round white seed popping out, pretending to be fish eyes.

    “ma-aaaaa, do i have to eat this? yukky yukky. why do we have to eat fish every friday? i prefer fried rice and egg. ma-aaaa, can you fry me an egg instead?” “mo-leh, eat the fish. it’s good for you.”

    i pout, “i don’t like fish curry ma. it’s so sour.” “mo-leh, eat it while it’s still hot and stop grumbling”.
    still pouting, “is it chili hot or temperature hot?” any excuse to not eat it.
    “enough moleh, hurry up and eat. you have homework to do before tuition today. stop your grumbling. some children in india don’t even have anything to eat and here you are complaining. cheh!!”

    i reminisce and chuckle at my silly tantrums of childhood as i now stir my own pot of spicy, tamarind, turmeric, saffron, onion, tomato, okra, chili fish head curry, with steaming white rice and shredded sauteed cabbage with mustard seed. mouth watering, impatient to relish and share my favourite dish on monday, tuesday, wednesday, anyday. and think of my mummy on the other side of the earth.

    memories stirred by hari malagayo alluri’s prompt.

    Prompt: Some things you’re not letting happen right now because the timing isn’t perfect for you. Some you’re not letting happen because you are very aware of where you are. But all things, as they are happening, are happening in perfect order. And if you will relax and begin saying, “Everything in its perfect time. Everything is unfolding. And I’m enjoying where I am now, in relationship to where I’m going. Content where I am, and eager for more,”- Abraham Hicks

  5. hari Says:

    milwaukee beer ads offer a free
    girl with each can. malice n spite,
    the only tastes preferred
    over unexpected bodies. the moon becomes larger
    closer I get to where mama learned to cook
    corned beef n rice. fingerprints on aluminum:
    one way contact. privilege. rites of return:
    power to the people
    billboards advertising cell phones,
    the only shade on the slums
    by EDSA blvd. san miguel, dark horse,
    colt .45. our lady of manaoag. sips of coffee
    listening to sarah jones under a yellow sky
    lighting candles for a miracle. saints, elsewhere
    listening to sara

  6. hari Says:

    Pressed publish by mistake. Collabo raisers: Carol Gomez, Paul Ocampo, iele paloumpis (via Jai Arun Ravine), dawn lundy martin

    Prompt: “I won’t pretend I’m good at forgiving” – Sade

  7. Paul Ocampo Says:

    “She knocks on the door and says, ‘Open up.’” ZZ Packer, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere (via Serena W Lin)

    She knocks on the door and says,
    “Open up.” I cannot make my discomfort
    clear, the thought of my body
    without possibility of redemption
    in her eyes…

    I am full of malice, spite,
    An odor malignant
    under a yellow sky

    gently shaped by wind
    and vulnerability.

    I swim along currents
    of unexpected bodies
    passing through slums
    of EDSA BLVD.
    I want nothing to do
    With stability, presence,
    Quiet, stillness…

    She knocks on the door and says,
    “Open up,”
    I am diminished and all right.

    Collaborators: Hari, Carol, Anna, Todd, Duriel, Jai, Dawn, Evangeline.

    Prompt: “An unexpected, unpredictable movement”

  8. Mel Says:

    Lines from a Hoodoo Love Trick

    Unlike John Secada in August
    this is a kind of contemplative wake.
    Should the poet fail to mention this

    it’s my house, Bitch. I absorb the metaphorical
    Dramamine from my portal. See Isis in love?
    Sad Osiris—penis in hand—scratches his head.

    Bitch? It’s my hose. Why is he calling her Bitch?
    Because fearing detection means distraction matters.
    Where is the poet to show me how to flail and fake it better?

    Language of distraction means know don’t know
    meaning my paper mouth—brash—gagged.
    I mean to say never mind that member behind the skirt

    but it comes out Come to where the flavor is
    Come to…Debbie country. I desperately need
    to hear come to neutral.

    Young buck: athwart the faulty body parts.
    One of the bowers needs work.
    Instead, I enter her woods

    two or three times around the outside
    concentric inwards, then back, then forth,
    rub her node like a Twilight Zone episode.

    Hold my lines no matter what. Scratch on
    with this pen. My lover hates this.
    Chemistry can’t be faked.

    She knocks on my head and says open up!

    Do we cheat her and how
    some women talk of themselves, other
    things, just to hear the sound

    but I hear my voice scurry, all nerve diminished
    her face—in horror—a mirror
    as she asks if I will still be straight

    I have no idea how to help her.

    She has been standing in for me
    and I keep trying to move my body
    within gendered specificities.

    What is the reinvention song
    if not a possibility for reinvention?
    I give over: my body weeps beneath the machine.

    There’s got to be a better way to make the outer
    mirror my interior, to transmute
    flesh without such violence.

    Like goopher that girl with hotfoot powder
    slip some semen in her coffee
    increase potency and then

    there’s still got to be a better way.

    I try this trick: bury a bottle of star
    anise and coffin nails at the crossroads
    closest to my childhood home

    piss in a river flowing north, create some new name,
    write this new name crossways on a scrap
    of my mother’s last wedding dress

    cut a runnel at the top of my thigh
    and rub my thigh blood onto the scrap,
    bury that at some distant shore during a full moon

    Fish my old pleas for help from the sea
    and in their stead, hold as much fresh
    moonlight as I can hand.

    (Collaborative lines with Ching-In Chen; Nikki Wallschlaeger; Paul Ocampo; Carol Gomez; Todd Wellman; Rachelle Cruz; Jai Arun Ravine; Serena W. Lin; Hari Malagayo Alluri; Evangeline Ganaden; ZZ Packer (via Serena W. Lin); Car Talk (via Carol Gomez); Iele Paloumpis (via Jai Arun Ravine); Duriel Harris (via Rachelle Cruz); Including lines from the movies The Wizard of Oz and Singles; and from 8/12 Entertainment Weekly article “Why is it So Hard to Make a Good Romantic Comedy?”)


    “My feeling is that language is capable of creating shifts in the human neural field, capable of transmuting behaviors and judgments. Humans conduct themselves through language, and, when the latter transmutes….”

    –Will Alexander, “My Interior Vita”

  9. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha Says:

    in response to : “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 (via Jai Arun Ravine)

    slow, slow

    where would I have found you in the slow/walking lane of the berkeley y
    both of us on our low-income memberships
    waiting for the elevator on BART, at the AirTrain, just about anywhere
    there is a body in pain, in a chair, shaky, waiting for relief from the violence of stairs
    there is an explosion of feathers,
    so much movement inside what the non educated eye casually violates, blinks still

    from Laura Hershey, “translating the crip”

    When I say sexy I mean our beautiful crip bodies, broken or bent, and whole. I mean drooling from habit and lust. I mean slow, slow.

    When I say family I mean all the ways we need each other, beyond your hardening itch and paternal property rights, our encumbering love and ripping losses. I mean everything ripples.

    When I say normal I don’t really mean anything.

  10. Melissa Says:

    “She knocks on the door and says, ‘Open up.’” ZZ Packer, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere (via Serena W Lin)

    She knocks on the door and says, “Open up.”
    I tell her, “I won’t pretend I’m good at forgiving.” I find out
    you were with her in the walking lanes at Berkeley four years
    ago. I cry for hours when she tells me. I hear my voice scurry,
    all nerve gone. I am full of malice, spite, and I swear to myself:
    fuck, please, don’t kill her. I throw her a Milwaukee beer and
    we sit on the touch to talk. “He told me he liked me,” she says.
    “I lied to you for him.” I tell her you love me. She jots down on
    a piece of paper all the things she is: a dolphin, a wooden hook,
    flower-shaped dots on a white dress, all gifts from Hawaii, all
    gifts to her from you. The room becomes larger. I show her my
    engagement ring, still saying you love me. Four years ago, she
    repeats again, he gave me these things. She throws the paper
    in the air and it falls gently, swaying as if there were wind
    in the room. I tell her we’re married. Her face becomes flesh
    without such violence. She cries under a yellow, fluorescent sky.
    She leaves without a word, and I become slow, slow, saying this trick:
    I am diminished and all right.

    Collaboration and inspiration from all, Chin-In, Paul, Mel, Leah, Hari, Sade (via Hari), Carol, Bushra, Anna, Todd, and many more.

    “Go out into the world and live. We may not be in Paris like Hemingway, but go across the street at University Village and get a nice sandwich from the nice sandwich lady, and watch her slice an avocado into perfectly thin green arches.”
    – Aimee Bender (from a speech at the Undergraduate Writers’ Conference at USC).

  11. our redemption songs are what: collaborative generating #7 « Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Says:

    […] Posted by Melissa on August 15, 2011 · Leave a Comment  Collaborative Manifesto Project: here. […]

  12. Melissa Says:

    *couch and not *touch, strange Freudian slip if you ask me! (:

  13. racruzzo Says:

    When I say sexy I mean Isis in love
    Chili, temperature hot and hot
    Crime rates of turmeric and tamarind
    Beer cans love a good fantasy
    but are afraid to get personal
    When I say family I mean Open up
    Osiris pretending to be fish eyes
    This odor of the second generation
    The possibility of redemption
    Bits of roe floating, penis
    in hand

    (words from Dawn Lundy Martin, Paul Ocampo, Melissa Morrow, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha , Evangeline Ganaden, Mel, Bushra Rehman, Hari Malagayo Alluri, Ching-In Chen, Serena Lin,ZZ Packer, Carol JG)

    Prompt: “Where do the gone things go…?” -Kimiko Hahn

  14. Evangeline Says:

    Paraphrased from Dawn Lundy Martin:
    What wind? I am laden and rock hard.

    what have I learned? nothing neutral
    about separating rice from stone
    root of my blood
    answers unstitching
    how will I know it?


    words borrowed from: Tsering Wangmo Dompa (“Draped in brown like widows separating rice from stone”), Jai Arun Ravine, Ching-In

    Prompt: What does it mean to belong? To what? Do you want to belong? Does race equal color? What are the requirements of membership? Are you a member? Why?

  15. Monica Hand Says:

    I have tried to write this thing calmly even as its lines burn

    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)

    our redemption songs are what?

    Michele and I spend the entire day watching “….Anarchist” episode after episode on Netflix. She stops the program constantly with the remote to talk about her real life. I just want to get lost in the story. Except the violent parts which are incessant. I close my eyes or turn away and sometimes even plug my ears so I don’t hear the brutality acted out on the screen. My favorite parts are when the “tragic hero” reads from his father’s manifesto.

    Today I open an email from Erica asking me for my manifesto.

    I don’t know how to respond….I know it has something to do with writing, with language, with drunkenness, with weeping, with finding the right words that live inside my skin, my head, my heart, my gut, my feet….. words that burn and heal, that are truth and lies, that somehow will be like a song, like a redemption song

  16. clarissa rojas Says:

    i tried
    squeeze love out
    of stone

    wind gently shapes
    hardened structures
    candles for a miracle saint

    taking achy body
    from another

    sticky sinew
    gripping body
    the thirst

    redemption fucks
    needles prick
    to write the page
    fly through
    windows walls

    matter molds
    the spirit knows
    we’ve got to
    the book

    in collaboration with hari bushra anna

  17. clarissa rojas Says:


    matter molds
    the spirit knows
    the book

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