8.23.11 what if we happen: collaborative generating #16

8.23.11 what if we happen: collaborative generating #16


This is your teacher, concrete English,

together the way we became

onions, smothering the land. Who says no,

goodbye history of water, they left home

for a living. Eight night caretaker, I cut out first,


a lit in me can soak up oil.


One-armed architecture, a soft bed and she a fitting

room girl. The flesh cancer and chocolate, soon


unison, I would learn to speak as bird,

put hand in soil, rise

into this bearded world. To grow up steel,

I want to be a river.


(made from the words of Monica Hand, Rachelle Cruz, Hari Malagayo Alluri, Carol Gomez, Todd Wellman, Melissa Morrow, Serena W. Lin, Yael Villafranca, Evangeline Ganaden & Tamiko Beyer)


Promptings for your writings:

We must shift from a politic of desirability and beauty to a politic of ugly and magnificence.  That moves us closer to bodies and movements that disrupt, dismantle, disturb.  Bodies and movements ready to throw down and create a different way for all of us, not just some of us.

The magnificence of a body that shakes, spills out, takes up space, needs help, moseys, slinks, limps, drools, rocks, curls over on itself.  The magnificence of a body that doesn’t get to choose when to go to the bathroom, let alone which bathroom to use.  A body that doesn’t get to choose what to wear in the morning, what hairstyle to sport, how they’re going to move or stand, or what time they’re going to bed.  The magnificence of bodies that have been coded, not just undesirable and ugly, but un-human. – Mia Mingus


1) Tenor Rodrick Dixon on his part in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Donald Sur’s “Slavery Documents.”

2) T.J. Anderson\’s “Runaway, Runaways” – conceived as a companion to Donald Sur’s “Slavery Documents.” Drawing material from Loren Schweininger’s collection The Southern Debate Over Slavery, the composer asked himself, “Why would anyone want to write a composition about slavery at the beginning of the 21st century?”


Hari Kondabolu – Where are you from?


Versions of Tracie Morris’ “Project Princess”


What now? What now? What now? – Monica Hand


Cecilia Vicuna:

(via Rachelle Cruz)


hear a calling, answer it.” – via a friend’s facebook post (via Hari Malagayo Alluri)


do i feed the squirrels alongside the birds? is that fair to the birds? – Carol Gomez


DOT is currently studying the feasibility of adding a bike lane to the Hoan Bridge and expects to complete its study sometime this fall. This neighborhood meeting will be an excellent opportunity for you to learn more about the DOT bike lane study and to let state transportation officials know how you feel about adding a bike lane to the Hoan Bridge. I hope to see you there!” – Rep. Richards (via Todd Wellman)


(via Melissa Morrow)


From Insomnia by Cornelius Eady

You’ll never sleep tonight.
Trains will betray you, cars confess
Their destinations,

Whether you like it
Or not.

They want more
Than to be in
Your dreams.

They want to tell you
A story.


(via Serena W. Lin)


Prompt in two parts:

Some men say an army of horse and some men say an army on foot
and some men say an army of ships is the more beautiful thing
on the black earth. But I say it is
what you love.” —Sappho, translated by Anne Carson


(via Yael Villafranca)


If you happen to have watched armed men
beat and drag your father
out the front door of your house
and into the back of an idling truck

before your mother jerked you from the threshold
and buried your face in her skirt folds,
try not to judge your mother too harshly.

Don’t ask her what she thought she was doing
turning a child’s eyes
away from history
and toward that place all human aching starts.

Li-Young Lee, “Self-Help for Fellow Refugees”

(via Evangeline Ganaden)


Torso Fetish
by Lisa Chen

I have a fetish for the torso.

The meat dead in the center.

The tragic hero in _Johnny Got His Gun_

The most innocent part the body because it is incapable of striking out.

The most of you that ties you to this earth.

(via Tamiko Beyer)


8 Responses to “8.23.11 what if we happen: collaborative generating #16”

  1. racruzzo Says:

    holy is holy
    and righteous
    but I say it is what you love
    and toward that place all human aching starts
    and trains will betray you
    and how did they get there
    and music is the memory
    and melismatic
    and the gong is the most beautiful thing
    on the black earth, calling
    and answering
    and the most of you
    and the fairness of birds
    and words are the cracks in the mirror
    and how will we talk about it
    and for all of us, all of us
    and reconciliation
    and turning a child’s eyes into a composer
    and asking, where are we going next

    (words from Li-Young Lee, Rodrick Dixon, Sappho, Anne Carson, Lisa Chen, Evangeline Ganaden, Tamiko Beyer, Cornelius Eady, Serena Lin, Mia Mingus, Ching-In Chen, Hari Malagayo Alluri, Carol Gomez)

    Two (!) Prompts:

    Pitching a Tent
    Meena Alexander (from Poetics of Dislocation)

    1.Poetry makes a dwelling for us, a tent of words.
    2.The tent has holes for the wind to blow through, holes pierced by gunfire, by arrows, by sharp stones.
    3.It can be pitched on solid ground, or rolled up, borne through air, carried over water. It can be unfurled here or there.
    4.Inside the shelter we turn from the violence of history, to the lyric measures of poetry, so that we can see again, eyes wiped free of blood; so that we can hear again, the voices that allow us to be human.
    5.Poetry makes ground in a vertiginous world.
    6.All this is true, and necessary for our survival.
    7.None of this is true.

    (via Craig Santos Perez)

  2. Dani Says:

    I am from Velveeta,
    from the scum of simmering Catalina dressing and hot dogs.
    I am from the sun-scorched grass,
    mangy and thirsty.
    (It looked like the faded fatigues of my forefathers.)
    I am from the Buckeye tree,
    the gray Ohio skies
    and the glacier-pressed earth that made sledding extinct.

    I am from the night moves of Bob Seger,
    from diaper pails, Tonka trucks, personal pan pizzas, and shin guards
    that depended on not being washed.
    From “turtles in a half shell” and
    “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
    From throwing monkey balls, fallen off the Sweetgum tree, in the front yard,
    throwing green tomatoes, leftover from the summer, into the side fence, and
    throwing Nerf balls, in a homemade version of American Gladiator, in the back.

    I am from bad knees, blackjack, and excess melanin,
    from Gabriel and Rose,
    Catholics and carriage makers,
    From “Eat your crust – it will help you whistle”
    and “Rub-a-dub dub, thanks for the grub, yay God!”
    I am from the zerbert-givers – you don’t know what that is?
    Come closer, and I’ll show you…

    I am from the maraschino cherry in my grandpa’s whisky sour,
    And my brother’s feet that “smelled” like cherry pies.
    From annual dunkings in ice-cold coca-cola lake water,
    and “Hartke-house rules”
    and nail gashes and smashed fingers –
    battle scars from endless rounds of Quadruple Solitaire and Egyptian Ratscrew.
    I’m from the smell of Smarties in brown-paper sacks, waiting on the car seat, building enthusiasm for the 10-hour car-ride ahead.

    From Scrabble queens
    and jolly green giants,
    I am from an aerie of people,
    perched in all corners of the world,
    who are always “only a heartbeat away.”

  3. hari malagayo alluri Says:


    all there is in the world
    right now: the willow
    leaning in a deluge
    smudged on my phone screen
    and a tiny girl, two-thirds
    the bannister’s height,
    seated on the balcony across
    the alley, skin dark as mine,
    who gets up and carries
    a red musical briefcase
    and a medicine wheel
    mirror down the wooden
    staircase, each step as tall
    as her legs, walk a stumble,
    into the neighbours’ yard
    where she picks up a sword
    her size, and disappears behind
    a sunflower on a mission.

    cipher: tamiko beyer, evangeline ganaden, li-young lee, sappho, yael villafranca, serena w. lin, cornelius eady, melissa morrow, george carlin, monica hand, mia mingus, ching-in chen, rachelle cruz

    “You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.” – Mary Oliver via beautiful words – http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/220899054589810/

  4. toddw Says:

    “I have a fetish for the torso.”

    remember. label. moved. definitions.
    keep. Ally. 2. phone.
    cradle. tissue. management. rapid.
    within. mentor. self. refrain.
    go. bodies. go.

    prompt suggestion:
    “I can be the treble. You can be the bass” – britney s.

  5. Evangeline Says:

    When your black body is inside me I sing, Holy, Holy, my desire makes me your slave in all the strange ways and still I shiver. Fingering the raised scars across your back, the map of my longing, ten lashes to speak a river. Remember the fairness of mirrors, they echo our words. I smother my two-thirds dark, our moaning a prayer for death, our crack at redemption. You say, Holy is Holy and righteous.

    with words from Ching-In, Rachelle, Hari, Todd, Rodrick Dixon, Robert Hayden (“Our linguist says / their moaning is a prayer for death, / ours and their own.”)


    Jesus Saviour

    “8 bells. I cannot sleep, for I am sick
    with fear, but writing eases fear a little
    since still my eyes can see these words take shape
    upon the page & so I write, as one
    would turn to exorcism.

    – Robert Hayden, “Middle Passage”

  6. serena w. lin Says:


    up this body
    the curtains flush /pushed aside /a sigh
    i the girl with longing for the maraschino queens
    the balcony deluged with their Velveeta toes,
    their Catholic biceps, their shin guards pressed
    against four carpet corners of prayer,
    whispers: “assalam-o-laikum”
    their Nerf spiraled into longing, and deeper
    so i could swim in it, dive
    into their bearded world, signaled
    by an aching gong — the electricity of tissue,
    our fulfillment made from frolicking
    our cradle made from sexy
    i want to be the bearer of tidings,
    of no barriers, pointless tents
    a sequel comes, sweaty remembrance
    of a child’s reconciliation
    into an innocent river
    into an aging sea

    (prompt from Torso Fetish by Lisa Chen via Tamiko Beyer)
    (mix and match with ching-in chen, rachelle cruz, toddw, hari malagayo alluri, dani)

    prompt for tomorrow: from The Sense of an Ending by Frank Kermode “The clock’s ‘tick-tock’ I take to be a model of what we call a plot, an organisation which humanises time by giving it a form; and the interval between ‘tock’ and ‘tick’ represents purely successive, disorganised time of the sort we need to humanise.”

  7. serena w. lin Says:

    oops also mix-mash credit to pitching a tent by meena alexander (via rachelle cruz) and evangeline ganaden.

  8. caroljg Says:

    in koreatown
    at four in the hot afternoon
    cars parked
    shady trees
    in a row
    korean men sit in solitude
    in priuses and other beings
    confessing into iphones
    torsos napping on steering wheels
    feet dangle out of windows
    smoke swirls above head
    how do i talk about it?
    loneliness, betrayal
    hiding out in their fetishes
    like shutting out
    a whole family
    from the comradarie
    of men alone
    in a row

    gratitude to: Ching-in, Mia Mingus, Cornelius Eady via Serena Lin, Lisa Chen via Tamiko Breyer, Rachelle Cruz, Hair Malagayo Alluri, Todd W.

    Prompt: “Today I’m bored, calm, protected, loved, hopeful, curious, confused, secure, happy” – 10 year old reporting his feelings for the day

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