Monday, March 7, 2016

BLOG CLOSURE, right now, I have to: on Maha Shivratri Night: Research,Silence, A Turn:

to another world. Emigrant, that is my way of conducting myself. Not to break off but to: orient. To rotate, which is torsion, intimacy. Towards: a different part of the space we are always in. Claudia Rankine, in Wyoming last year: "There's no leaving the room." Emigrant, I orient. This is intimate. This is who I want to be.

I want to deepen my service to my world, my communities, even as I close the open part of my research on this blog. Thank you for researching with me. June Tang, goodbye for now! There above the parking lot in Sydney. 

Ban was a nervous system, displayed, organised, throbbing, like a shawl thrown over the grass or the sidewalk. Then you lie down. 

A red silk, fringed shawl from Kashmir. 

Tonight they lock the copper and gold door of the Shiva temple. And you stay inside until dawn. 

What will you shed off? What will you alchemise? How will you open to a great love?

Tonight, the wedding night of Shiva and Parvati. How the energy of the solar eclipse and the new moon move over the earth. 

It feels right to close the door, the heavy gold and copper door of this space, tonight. 

On this most auspicious of: nights. 

I love you. 

Take care of your one, wild life. 

I will meet you again in literature, or beyond it. Perimeter consciousness. 

Perimeter alert!

No, that's just the lining of the universe.

Beginning to fray. 

Blue light. 

How will you convert the poison of your life into nectar? 

And so on. 

Om Namao Shivai. 

Can you feel it? I invite you to receive the blue light, concordant, now. 

Into your writing. 

Into: you. 

Dear you, my blog is about to close now.

Quick, place the peacock ore on the threshold. 

Oh! And here, just before I close the doors for the last time, is a tumbleweed!!!! It crossed our path and flew or tumbled into the dark pond. "Like fire in the water," said my mother, who was a civil war refugee, born in what is now Pakistan, who emigrated to the U.S. in her seventies, who taught art and poetry to immigrant children in inner city British schools from the 1970s to the 1990s. The Isle of Dogs! Whitechapel! You name it. 

Like fire in the water, she said. 

Yes.

A final offering: to you. 






Friday, March 4, 2016

Blog Hiatus

because I am writing again, a streaming. What the notes of Ban and Schizophrene were preparing (attenuating) me for, perhaps.

But how will I hold memory if not here?

Think of the Shiva temple. 

How they lock the doors behind you at 6 sharp. 

Containment. 

Yes. I can see the copper and gold of the lock. 

For now, I must turn towards the cobra and the milk and the flowers and the paper and the others who have gathered here, in the nights that precede. 

The solar eclipse. 

Shivratri itself. 

Look, these are my tiger stripe pants from Delhi. Every night I sit on the tatami mat in the alcove, to meditate and pray. I am almost 50 years old. I have to complete the part that's about "deep pelvic grief," the marker of one's forties. Diasporic alien life has been very beautiful. It is time for the next part now. 

I guess it's time to write the book that will make my friend's heart sing. 

And yours too. 

Thank you, beautiful reader. 

I send much light to you for now, on behalf of the real darkness and not just the fake one with the silver dots. 

No, that's real too. 

Look how ugly I am.  


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Today we analyzed

the butcher's paper and thought about the step we could take towards it, openly and with a receptive quality. Julia Seko came to my writing studio and together we tracked the red next to the yellow, the tantric reduction or tear. Into which. I placed. Sarah Castro's terracotta shard.

It was a remarkable studio visit, which now I must reverse-engineer to the class or studio practice on Monday. To follow the synchronicities into the next stage of what the work is speaking, asking, what it wants to be. Today was utter magic. Back at home, Mummy made kale pakoras and halwa. We sat on the floor. The parrot bit Julia. Hydrogen peroxide was involved. 


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

"How will you metabolize the transgression that you know has occurred?" Ryumon


Ryumon Sensei with the book of her mentor: Emancipation and Consciousness: Dogmatic and Dialectical Perspectives in the Early Marx by Erica Sherover-Marcuse.
Extraordinary to hear someone, a Zen teacher of color ("Cuban...of African and Spanish heritage"), in my particular workplace, put together notes on physiology and trauma healing with notes on oppression and domination.  It was basically a Zen talk that began with the idea of "legacy trauma" and invoked -- among others -- the name of Angela Davis. 

Notebook decompressions and compounded quotes from Ryumon's talk:

"How do you stop co-operating with an oppressive system?"

"What would it be to allow yourself to be seen as brilliant?"

To be "liberated from cages that are trauma vortexes."

A "revolutionary intimacy."

To ask: "What am I doing in the present?" 

To: "orient now to wherever it is your eyes go in this space."

"Biology + spirit = existence."

"Spouse as heart-teacher."

Steven Porges on polyvagal theory: the replenishment and care and radical support of the vagal nerve: https://www.bulletproofexec.com/stephen-porges-the-polyvagal-theory-the-vagal-nerve-264/

"To be healed in the body is an act of rebellion."

"What the nervous system is really asking for is familiarity and predictability...." (I thought here about [of] Basquiat's nervous system.  Of the nervous system of an artist, or a writer, or a theorist: but that is separate.  And perhaps today, after speaking [dreaming] with Ximena at the Trident, I also -- think of the nervous system of an immigrant: of one kind or: another.)

"An environment in which we no longer need to be hyper-vigilant."

"Eye contact, listening."

"Being hypervigilant is core to legacy trauma for POC."

"And for white people, legacy trauma shows up as freeze, dissociation....not noticing, or failing to interrupt...not noticing differences.  Not asking: how come this is so?"  

"Fear, competition, mistrust, feeling unsafe...self-oppression.  These things take on a substantiality,  a life of their own."  

"Sedimentation...mystified consciousness...addiction...these are naturalized and normalized cages for the people who inhabit them."  Did I get that right?  What is meant by "mystified consciousness"?

"How do I in that moment metabolize the transgression I know has occurred?"  

"We have to heal inter-generational trauma, and find techniques to deconstruct the stories in our heads.  And we need silence to show us how we can change who we are right now."  I compounded this as it was being said, in the context of decolonizing legacy trauma sites in the body-psyche soma.  Ryumon did not say "body-psyche soma," but part of the pleasure of the talk -- was being in the presence of someone in the act -- of occupying their own -- bodily outline -- or ground -- with so much fierce light.  The art, I thought, of not looking away!  I thought of Sayra Pinto.  It was a bit like that, except not on a freezing cold day in Boston after a Central American breakfast in the neighborhood near the airport.

"And at the same moment maintain wholeness."

"I want to bring in S.E. [somatic experiencing] and the nervous system now.  The healing that needs to happen does not happen at the neocortex level."

"How do I live in the relative world with the lens of the absolute?"  I felt a drop of nectar slide down from an invisible, unheard of and impossible sun.  Kapil Muni arrives without fanfare or equivocation.  He just abruptly there.  Is the sun a telephone?

"The amygdala doesn't know that it's not happening right now."  I thought of the decision I made as a writer to move away, at least in the last two works, from narrative or even close work with image: but to try -- to attempt -- to create -- to write -- through sensation.  Belatedly, I found Lauren Berlant's "sovereign sensorium" -- the idea that you can work against that, with a different "kind, scale or intensity."  

"How these things help."

A Zen talk, in other words, that combined cellular, soft tissue aims with the roof-root ones of decolonizing: the "mostly white room."  A particular care for the students, staff and faculty of color in that space -- and an invitation to feel the pleasure in our own bodies -- the resource of pleasure -- when the music came back on -- and we were -- invited -- you could say -- to sing together -- or along.

"Why?" asked Ryumon.  But I have forgotten what the answer was.  I have forgotten what she said.

No, I remember now.  She said: "Social connection.  Everyone together.  That's really the most important thing."

Then I went to Experimental Prose, to continue the conversation -- that extended to [across] Chicago last week or the week before -- about the sentence that is a "moment with the body."  The part of the event, or eventfulness, that it becomes our particular work: to dislodge. Is prose then a mode of hospitality?  How do we receive, as the next part of what we are doing, the sentences that have loosened off?  It's not possible to write about sentences, I realize, without engaging the language of populations, which I learned from Andrea Spain one freezing summer morning after our friend had died.  

The next stage would be, of course, to take Ryumon up on her offer of a Somatic Experiencing session, with a focus on institutional trauma.  

*

"In the moment, how will you metabolize the transgression that you know has occurred?"  I think she said: "In the moment."  To extend the image-environment of the sentence, re-looped.  

I myself have focused on getting the stuff out of my cells upon my return to my home, which is as about as far away as a person could possibly live.  Here, on a verge, inverted.

"I don't believe in the streaming anymore, mum.  I'm an atheist.  There is no god." -- Thelonious, who is caucusing for Bernie tonight.

"Okay," I said, "then we'll have to go and invert ourselves above the river when the snow melts."  That is what we used to do when he was little and I was me, but younger, the person who was about to walk right into: the waves.

Mid-ocean: Sexual delight, poetry and rage come to mind as powerful metabolizers.  The sun: a chelation.  How the coccyx holds something: the coiled bodies of the white and red serpents.

I saw that image once, in Jaipur.

As a girl.

And as a girl I woke up.

And beneath the bed, that morning, was the shed skin of a King Cobra.  It was India, and so everyone understood -- that I had received a powerful blessing -- from Lord Shiva.  What I understand now is that I must shed my skin in turn.

And that is Shakti.

The same shakti I felt coming through the Zen talk and into.

Or through.

Thank you, Ryumon, for reconnecting us -- just for a few moments -- to the most intense, hidden, parsed and luminous (wrecked) version of ourselves.

The torn banner above the neighborhood.

A mouth like night, without end.























Sunday, February 28, 2016

I had not

allowed myself to live. 

And now?

C: "life chance."

Okay, life chance. 

Leap. 

Go. 

Burn. 

Live. 

Dissolve into the world. 

Again. 

Invert yourself. 

In a field. 


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Okay,

I dreamed of being in a cafe/train compartment last night, and Laurie Anderson Barbata's stilt dancers from the Cornell Fine Art Gallery at Rollins were there, performing. And someone singing. I probably dreamed this because of Vidhu Aggarwal's Facebook page, which recently posted a photo of their visit and upon which I commented, something like: "Wow."  I dreamed that in my own performance the previous day I had made the Rose Vomitorium and then -- undressed completely, lying on the floor facing the audience.  In the cafe, I met a scholar who brought up, on her computer, a review critiquing my performance: the consensus being that it brought the materials or ideas into proximity but didn't go the last step in organizing them into a culminating stage, or thinking about them. That I hadn't presented something that an audience could receive in its entirety.

But the dream helps me to understand that is what I want, entirely.  This is where the electrobion is.  I studied this in Schizophrene: the shard that balances in the air for a few moments, streaming: fire and water: onto the steps of the ghat. This is also, the seam between proximal, oscillating, slowly or rapidly turning fragments, I think today, where the lining of the universe presses through, like cellular fluid.  Like sap*.  Like milk.  Like Penury. "How....radiating and connective concerns keep resurfacing and refunctioning themselves.  Sites of reverberation...and inquiry that keep, sort of, proliferating themselves..." says Myung Mi Kim, on [in] this video from the Kelly Writer's House in Philadelphia.

*I remember being in the botanical garden with my mother as a child and always, once we got through the green metal gate, running until I reached a particular tree that produced -- sap.  It must have been a fir tree, I realize.  I would always insist that we had our picnic (aloo paranthas and amb ki achaar) beneath it.  A little box drink of Ribena.

Just tried to look up an image of these gardens, which were in Hayes, behind what is now the Alfred Beck center, but instead found this, the Nestle Works, which appear in BAN.  The "milly, lilac effluent" that my mother sewed or crocheted into a summer dress:


This scene is much a part of my British imaginary as the Tate's darkened room, in which the Blake engravings glimmered, to use Hoa's word, like "ingot[s]." I still feel so moved by meeting Hoa, then Ximena -- the Floridian Beloveds, as I think of them -- and now the Chicago ones.  I dream of everyone at night.  Vidhu touching my shoulder, it's time to go.  Ronaldo eating a rose petal from the charnel ground of the art gallery floor.  All of it.  Then it is a matter of going to the university where I teach, and tracking in my notebook the conversation about (this was yesterday, in Experimental Prose): syntax as an alien being that is communicating telepathically!  Nobody said that, but at one point, all these things were said.  Actually, this was exactly what was said.  These newest writers -- are -- in extraordinary ways, I think -- progressing a conversation about prose through its somatic markers, its epidemiology, its grid or not-grid, to questions of consciousness, tenderness, vulnerability and dissention.  What is refused as much as what is produced.  I was impressed, and drove home thinking about their work and what the drawing or art would be for each of those writers.  I did not want to dominate the workshop discussion by presenting my creative responses to their work, which I mapped in my notebook as class was happening -- a way to record the cultural findings of the lateral or peer group -- but I am so inspired by this new feeling at home that Mummy and I can be research assistants for Jennifer, or Caroline's, projects: the copper wire, the sun....that I want now to extend this to [for] the students I am working with.  That will be my focus when they submit their revisions.  It's so pleasurable.  I hope they will think it is okay.  I want to give them: too much. This is how I taught my seminar on nest and narrative several years ago, through the too much.

Here, I am suddenly thinking of my excitement to be in Chicago, writing for hours on the aeroplane and in the taxi and in my sumptous hotel room (sumptuous, that is, because I was physically alone and there was a sofa!!!!!!!) Then walking down to Woodlawn?  And taking a right on 57th and then a left on University.  The sun was shining.  I pretended I was a deer.  And how the energy of flight, deer, sun, my own body -- opening to an unknown community -- which always feel like a sacred duty -- to put it in a way I would never say in an academic setting -- converted -- in the last moment: into abandonment.

Why did I use that word?  I wanted to abandon what I had come with and clutch my torn page from the notebook, my roughly drawn grid.  I think (suddenly) (here) (he enters this writing dressed in a raw cotton shawl, pale cream, over his shirt and trousers) of my grandfather, Ram, who -- in the hours before it became clear he and his family would be murdered if they stayed in Lahore -- burned the books, the holy books but also his own books -- everything he couldn't carry. Then scraped the ash into a tiny lacquered box.  And that was what he carried. And that was how he carried something. Across.  Though it must be said that when he arrived...

When he arrived, he was placed...

Into a cage.

In a basement.

Because, temporarily, you could say.

He lost his mind.

*

Fragments, sap, ash: proximities. Maybe I knew I would need the sap.  I loved it so much, I thought it was treasure.  Perhaps it was glue.  I remember the stickiness and yet intactness of it -- a fluid with a caramelized membrane -- between my fingers; then, looking back over my shoulder, my mother's block print sari, red, navy-blue, black and white -- with a border of some kind that caught the sun -- gold threads -- on the lawn.

*

I am just writing here as a way to exit a dream of nudity.

What will the day: bring?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Anniversary

of my father's passing on February 24,1997 (19 years ago?) in a hospice in London. The forsythia had just blossomed. I set down Hanif Kureishi's The Black Album, and never picked it up again. Ravens bobbing for worms on the bright green lawn outside the window.

His eyes widened. One massive tear slipped from his left eye.  As if he saw something.

Pushing the furniture aside, we spread the white sheets on the floor.  As a community, we practised for him in the hours then days that followed, reading aloud from the Bhagavad Gita as he made his passage between the ten thousand worlds. Thunder and lightning, a hurricane, the second largest storm London had seen in a century: that first night.

This is his grandson, Arjun, who has inherited his love of politics, and, or so it sometimes seems to me, his stubbornness and strong will:


How they would have loved to have known each other. Ironically, my son -- like his grandfather -- wants to study and live in the U.K.  Hmmm.  One made such an effort to escape!  But England is calling again.  We'll see if she picks up.

To remember him, my father, Kewal Krishan Kapil, who died at 57 on a winter's morning in a country that resembled a closed eye that suddenly opens, that you realize has been watching you all this time, I will buy yellow flowers today, as I do each year or so -- forsythia if I can find it in the stores.  And perhaps I can put here a poem he loved, that he said once would teach me everything I needed to know about love, on a day, long ago, when my heart had been broken and he came upon me, dejected, on the green velvet sofa in the front room, slumped down in my pea coat, trying not to cry, and watching Neighbours, while also eating a packet of salt and vinegar crisps, my go-to food for mild to moderate heartbreak.  

He pulled an anthology from the shelf, and read the poem, Ode on a Grecian Urn, aloud. We discussed it. Then we had tea and hob nobs, on quarter plates. I miss him. He was a socialist who loved freshly-ground Rombouts coffee from Fortum and Mason's!  He loved the woods (Burnham Beaches), the city (Covent Garden on a Wednesday afternoon), Ruskin and Shaw.  What left with him when he left was a force I sometimes draw upon when I encounter unconscious or explicit racist or homophobic attitudes in the groups I am a part of.  The part of me that does not put up with nonsense I get from my dad.  But also I get this, I get my idea of poetry as essential to the practice of being a human being, far from home. 

Immigrant desires. Immigrant blood. Immigrant bones. 

No Tagore, though, at the end of it all.

He preferred Cavafy's "Don't socialize with acquaintances."  

And Keats:

Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
John Keats. 1795–1821
  
Ode on a Grecian Urn
  
THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness,
  Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
  A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape         5
  Of deities or mortals, or of both,
    In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
  What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
    What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?  10
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
  Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
  Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave  15
  Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
    Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;
    She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
  For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!  20
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
  Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearièd,
  For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!  25
  For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
    For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
  That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
    A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.  30
Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
  To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
  And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea-shore,  35
  Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
    Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
  Will silent be; and not a soul, to tell
    Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.  40
O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede
  Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
  Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!  45
  When old age shall this generation waste,
    Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
  Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'  50


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Drinking raspberry leaf tea with hemp milk and stevia

after a day that was like a stone dropped into a deep well.  Upon waking: an email from my son's high school -- a high school in Colorado -- that alerted -- families -- to a threat on social media -- directed at the school.  In Oakland, a priest lit a red candle, because a priest is also a priestess.  I had looked back at the school the day before, and felt something, an urge -- to send light -- then visualized: the Archangel Michael: sitting on the building -- his gold skirt a membrane over the structure. Love, that is, directed to everyone in the school -- its inhabitants.  Then today -- the "perimeter."  A few hours later, a second email -- a young man taken into custody -- and the day retrained itself. The perimeter was, then: "secure." I thought of the many young children, children and adolescents -- in different parts of the world -- for whom intactness, schooling or even well-being are not givens.

Angel, open.  Extend your wings.

And now it's night.  I dreamed of Lauren Berlant, the poet -- what is poetry? -- who introduced me last Thursday in Chicago at the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality; the Center for Race and Politics above it -- the ceiling or floor.  She was sitting on our couch in Loveland, which will never happen -- as we live in a decrepit cottage in the middle of a wrecked orchard remnant -- and Thelonious was chatting away with her about this and that.  Instead of going into nature, we decided to go for a coffee in the dream.  A roaring brook below us when we finally reached the cafe.

This is a photograph I took in the tremble-garden before I got up, in front of those gorgeous, unknown and partly known people to give my talk on narrative and the nervous system, which was not a talk. I thought of it as a way to deliver the "blocks of sensation" -- my research -- to others who might then organize the materials and deliver them more broadly than perhaps I can.  Or could.  In my paw, a grid.  This is Lauren Berlant introducing me in Vriksasana (tree pose!) -- with the pink rose: on the lip or rim or mouth or moustache of the podium.  Wait, I realize that's my grid -- a page torn from my notebook -- poking up from behind the rose!!!!  Can you see Lauren Berlant's knee out to the side?


Post-rose:

Today, between reading student works -- and making my notes upon them -- I -- went to the writing studio in the arts and crafts collective -- where I have -- obtained -- a space.  In quick succession, I wrote several intensely marigold pages, and nearly wept.  After all these years.


To write.

How have I lived?  I think I will scrawl off the re-Ban in two seconds soon.  But there are other works to be written -- and I don't know what this Novel on Yellow Paper -- will be.  It is not at this stage a novel, but rather: attenuation.  Do you remember when I emigrated with the complete works of Stevie Smith in my suitcase?  Tony Piccione said: "Let me see what this is."  Later, he returned it to me with a raised eyebrow, pushing Bly's translations of Vallejo back across the table -- and from then on, until now, I set Stevie Smith aside and opened, instead: the other books.  That split me into ten hearts.
Mummy is knitting/weaving an extraordinary collar -- to support -- the conductivity -- happening -- in the work of the poet, Jennifer Scappettone.  Tomorrow we will integrate the copper wire and sequins.  Mum does this weaving while I write -- in the studio space -- and thus -- I accomplish -- elder care -- at the same time -- as my own creative works.  My duty is to my family.  My duty is to the poetry community.  Those are two duties that I like to combine.  One day, I will live in proximity to other poets.  Here in Colorado, I don't feel it as much -- the social fit.  But I feel it with my students: the brilliant surge.  Last night, they gave their brightness and bits of fierceness over to each other.  I was very sleep-deprived but in the middle of that, suddenly very moved -- by their generosity -- with each other's thoughts, glimpses, works.
Then after acupuncture with my neighbor this afternoon, a very lovely person -- extended to me.  Readers, there is so much love in my life at this moment.  I only hope that I live long enough to receive it, but also to write the books -- that are coming -- so fast now.

Like energy.

*

This blog post is dedicated to Lisa Birman in Australia, because: post-its.  Which is to say: the writing life as both ecstatic and practical, in turns.  Lisa Birman, if you are reading this on the other side of the earth, this is the full moon above Colorado last night, which seemed, to me, to be full of a rose and light green light, that was downloaded promptly -- as it rose.  You can't see those tones here, but I feel the voltage, the shakti, just looking at it now:

And transmit it.

In this venue.

To you.

And to anyone reading these words.

At your midnight.

My noon.






Sunday, February 21, 2016

In which: the lining of the universe: responds: with a basic HI

What I briefly wanted to note today is the extraordinary thing that happened in the parking lot of a fabric store, a couple of hours after I got home. I had gone with my mother to buy coppery materials, to sew/build a "patch" for Jennifer Scappetonne's project. And I looked up at the sun. All the way through the visit to Chicago, I had been running the energy that comes right down through the structure (shakti) as a way, too, to regulate any residual anxiety about my talk. Or what it would be. Not anxiety. I think I always feel, these days, the karmic nature of fixed, temporary groups, and what my deepest offering might be. That it is about what comes through, what is shared between us, as much as it is the other: things.  And yet, I did not -- want to improvise.  Yet when it came to it, I could not repeat what I already knew.  As I did at Pratt, I distributed my back-up lecture: "Narrative and the nervous system."

And so, to run the program of the sun. 

There we were.

Having purchased copper wire, gold thread and a raw wool.

For the copper frame Jennifer is working with. 

And I looked back. I looked up!

I had been thinking earlier in the day about how you might: receive a message in turn. How the lining of the universe or what comes through the deity reaches the human being, the person who is praying, you could say, with their body. How long does it take the human question, the human longing itself -- to reach the lining of the universe -- and what are the ways in which -- the universe responds?

I looked up. I wanted to photograph the sun, as I had during my journey. I wanted to connect with the energy that comes from behind the sun, as we did in the Healing Cyborg Gazebo at Rollins (Florida.)

And then, just now, when I looked at the image on my phone...am I mistaken...the word Hi is spelled out by the clouds!!!!!!!

I feel as if the lining of the universe just said hi back!!!!!!!

Amazing!!!!!!!

This is what I wanted to show you. Can you see it? Am I mistaken? Can you see the "Hi"?


The next day, my friend gave me a unicorn wrapped in yellow paper.  And as I unwrapped it the silver glitter fell off a shelf, and then once more as I was leaving.  I thought of the silver glitter I emptied all at once in Chicago, onto the yellow and black page.

I feel as if I cannot write about what happened in Chicago at all.  Why?  I am building my heart up.

The serenity and bliss I feel this evening is -- what I wanted to write into this post -- to share with you.  As we all know, tomorrow will bring cappucinno and perhaps reversals, but for now, I transmit the deepest part of the gold light -- that has been coming through -- to you, whoever it is that is reading this.  Your eyes turn the words to light.

A sudden memory of a forest and my teacher, Tony Piccione, outside Upright Hall.

Thank you, Tony.  I think I am beginning to understand.

"What are you now?" Holderlin.


  

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A PHOENIX WITH BROWN FEATHERS HAS ALIGHTED ON A WALL NEXT TO THE THAMES

The opposite of a colony is the colony's mother.

A mother is a land mass with a residual vibration.

Do birds orient to this vibration?

In the cloisters beneath Westminster Abbey, there are plaques honoring the brave men and women who initiated colony life in Malaya.

The plaques are pristine. They are made of a milky, hygienic marble.

Slipping through a wall into a tiny stone foyer, stepping over the graves of composers – a record of Haydn's visit – I come face to face with the oldest door in Britain.  I touch that door, like a Jungian scholar of ancient forms.

It's cold here.

En route.

The medical building glitters in the pale silver rain coming off the Thames. A non-wave. Evaporation. Hockney's California transposed to a London afternoon.

From the hospital I go to the Tate and see the Hockney.

My friend once saw Hockney unloading his paintings from the back of a car in Santa Barbara, outside the art museum.

Deep in the gallery, I find a painting by George Shaw of a housing estate on the outskirts of Coventry; an ordinary scene tinted yellow and gold and silver with hobby paints. The social housing project is supra-romantic – a currency. I think of the previous day’s activity – an ordinary scene next to a fence overgrown with ivy – on the outskirts of a city – the place where public housing buckles at its seam, is written on, fails. There, in the place where Ban curled up like an autumn leaf, I lay down.

Like a British child.

It was raining. I pushed open a gate and walked down to the Thames – afraid to slip, yet enchanted – by its roaring waves. The Thames is a tidal river. It is pewter, slate, violet – all the colors, in reverse, of the top-down world.

From the Thames I went back to the hospital. Hospitals refract their contents; they are not built to retain illnesses, but to dispel them – either by curing them directly or relocating the bodies that suffer from them. On the train back to my cousin's house in Kingsbury, I continued on with the Rey Chow – there, I found a description of a text from which there is no escape. The way a person attends in massive, dreamy ways to the architecture of the hospital itself, as distinct from its technologies of constraint.

Document the corridor. Dream the corridor.

Hockney elevates then sections the medical building, an activity that also gives intense pleasure: to whom?

So love the pink, blank sky. And the palms.

Friday, February 19, 2016

But now

it's night. I am only able to write a note of gratitude for the Chicago nest and the Chicago wave and the Chicago sea-anemone and the Chicago love. It is 8 pm and I am in bed!!!!!! I thought I was falling ill but then I realized I was not ill; I was sleep-deprived. To summarize: I was shimmery and wrecked. I am glad to be shimmery and wrecked, but I have to wake up at 5 a.m tomorrow so I must rest.

Nevertheless, my heart is bursting a bit, with love, for the time spent with others in the vortex, in the cafe, in the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, in Valois, in the planetarium foyer, in the foyer of the Hyatt Palace, on the street, in the car, in Bonne Sante, on the steps of the North Shore, in the elevator and in the Ethiopian restaurant. 

Pumpkin wat. The penumbra. Possible and different work. 

To summarize, this was the milky gold February sun:
And this was the moon:
And this was the charcoal-glitter protocol of early to mid 2016:
And these were the roses, wired to perform:
And this was the cave behind the waterfall:
And this is the same cave, in the process of being deinstalled, but closer in and with a chair:
Do you remember when the doorway was a waterfall and we were in the cave, writing? Do you remember when we pressed the root of the antlers into the bone of our chest, the sternum, the heart as we said it was, again? Conductivity, I thought. The sun. 

Notebook. Aeroplane. Taxi. 

It's not possible to do anything more now than fall, as soon as I've written these words, into a deep, revealing sleep. 

Thank you, strangers.

Thank you, my beautiful friends.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Shame May Be Fatal: Notes

What is the mudra of incarnation?  BAN was just a book opening its eyes for a few moments then closing them again, like a cobra.  Now that I am here, in a studio, in mid-life -- almost too late -- to do this -- a force is coming through me -- that feels like a current -- that could -- take me out to sea.

I have so many notes, and have expended this -- only day -- in writing yellow pages. I write the pages to attenuate -- and this, I can already see, is becoming the whole work.  Stories (body-life) is [are] coming now.  Is it too late?  What is a problem is that in two days time I have to go to Chicago, and that my cultural energy - - which should be directed towards a talk, Shame May Be Fatal: Narrative and the Nervous System -- has instead been circulated in [through] these other notes.  I have to first write myself into the person who could write -- this talk.  It's hard to tell you this, but I, your heroine, am sometimes a half-dead, ultra-internal mermaid, and not in a good way.

Mid-ocean.

I have come so close to being murdered in my life, at every turn.

Some angel came in and pressed their mouth to my arm; suction.  I turned and ran.  Just in time.

I should not speak about these things here, in what I imagine to be something -- my own child -- or grand-child -- or your child -- or your sister -- or another child -- who doesn't belong to us -- in the space beyond progeny -- might read.

I have pampered myself, writing the yellow pages, but now dusk has fallen or is about to fall -- and I am already on the verge of writing a Bluebeard story, a story of descent.  Have the courage, I want to say, to receive frequencies.  To stop measuring time in the way you have.

Why is it so easy, so effortless -- to receive this other kind of love?

I can't write the talk I thought I would give, though the card I pulled is the card of the nervous system itself: Rachel Pollack's "seven countries dreaming" with its -- spine, voltage, brain, left side/right side equations.  I propped it up against the yellow board, and in front of this board are the two notebooks I have yet to fully decompress: my notes from the World Conference of Cultural Psychiatry at Queen's -- in the U.K.  I thought I would use this talk to do so.

Instead, I am writing about the amethyst, as large as a human form, that I once encountered in a cave above the Ganges, where my uncle -- used to  meditate. We were on a pilgrimage and he wanted to visit his friend, in the next cave over! A hermitage.  And this is my cave, said my uncle.  In I went.  CA Conrad would probably enjoy visiting this cave, in the hills above Rishikesh -- where I so recently was.

I am not interested in stylistic or rhetorical progressions.

The progressions Agamben writes of in The End of the Poem.

I am interested in the cave, and what I am doing by not writing my talk, by only at the last moment becoming myself.  Both are conduits.  How to live in a way that is all conduit.
Kearney plus Psychiatry Notebooks

Shining Tribe card, Seven Countries Dreaming, which is a figure of the nervous system, that I -- just pulled.  And also the yellow pages, tucked in -- attenuation.  Stories just pouring out.  And Anzaldua, who says: "Knowing that something in you, or of you, must die before something else can be born, you throw your old self onto the ritual pyre, a passage by fire." (138).  I note, privately, that the pyre in BAN is what precipitates the mermaid.  And am so moved by Anzaldua -- in this book of notes, fragments, of works that weren't completed or published when she was alive.

Feeling that it is a bit of an emergency that I am going to meet Lauren Berlant, and unsure of how -- to move from the blocks of sensation -- in my work -- to the discourse of sensation -- I thought I should bring along Cruel Optimism to dream with the notebooks, to become, in its own way, a notebook.  It's okay.  Life is short.  Pull it together, BK.
In a break, I went home to take Mummy for a walk around the park.  Then I went for a longer walk, with one of the hearts Mummy had knitted for Valentine's Day.  

And here is the heart on the Fairy's wrist next to the lagoon.

For the last seven years of writing BAN then setting BAN aside -- wanting only --- the trace of the book -- to appear -- like the flare of fire and water that streams from the terracotta shard in Schizophrene -- I was frightened at every stage of the writing.  My mother fell seriously ill.  I am not sure how I wrote at all, or how I am writing now.

The book I feel closest to today is: Douglas Kearney's MESS AND MESS AND MESS.

"But to accomodate what? A dominance?" (Kearney).

Sometimes, the metal worker in the next studio is here and she plays music.  So I have been listening to Igor Levit's Bach Partitas all day long, with earphones.

And there is Cecilia Vicuna.

And there is the Harappan shard.

And there is the red sun of the bracelet.

I should put on the bracelet now and try to write.

Now, when it's almost too late.

I'm falling in love.

Who will I betray?

To betray the person who is falling in love with you.

Is to write.

This deep connection is one I must unmake.

I should put the bracelet on.

And write.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine Morning

Gloria Anzadlਯa : oh! My font just autocorrected to Hindi at the u!
I have decided to be very organized in this writing of this Novel on Yellow Paper.  I leave everything just so.  If you know me, you might be laughing wildly at this moment.  For the last two years of editing Ban, 2012 to 2014 (Fall), I wanted to make the work into chaos again.  I wanted to make Ban out of that chaos, at the expense of...the cost of...But this is a different work.  I think of milking my grandmother's water buffaloes in SANGRUR. (Hi, Vidhu's mum.) Methodical, butter-white: the milk.  Came out.  You had to be disciplined.  One day I fed the water-buffaloes sugar lumps.  They went wild.  But I maintained my extreme focus and lined up the buckets to start again.  My grandmother did not speak English.  She was wizened.  She died at 98.  
I just wrote about giovanni singleton's work [page] in BAX 2015.  My Hybrid syllabus made it in, and that feels right.  Teaching and writing to students and for them feels like where my art-making energy circulates, as much as it does: other realms.   
The sun was streaming through the window.  Mg Roberts gave me the green dress.  Without Mg, I would have no cool clothes.
Early, before the day began, I made it to my writing studio across town. I just sit down and yellow page after yellow page flows out of the heart-notebook mysterium. I can't write about this new work in the way I wrote here about BAN, who is an energy still organizing herself, mid-ocean. Are you alive? Today I brought in the five books I wrote, and tucked them in, like a basket of electricity and algae, on my desk. My Valentine's Day has consisted of writing, and grading student work, reading it, taking my mother for a goat walk, visiting a paddock of baby alpacas, responding to text messages from two men I like (one is Indian and one wears a kilt)*, and talking to Thelonious, my son, who was skiing for much of the day.  "Love you, mom.  Happy Valentine's Day."

*I was watching Meet the Patels, a romantic documentary.  During it, the lead character -- Ravi Patel -- signs up for Shaadi.com, a "matrimonial site" for people of Indian origin interested in getting married.  Shaadi means wedding or marriage in Hindi, etc, etc.  I was like, okay, let's see what this is, shall we.  And as a comedic trajectory, I signed up.  "I am quiet, gentle and kind.  I am interested in meeting someone who is funny and kind."  Disaster!  Many, many eligible Punjabi men -- orthopedic surgeons, IT professionals, engineers, doctors -- wrote to me from places like Boston and Aberdeen and Toronto and San Jose. Only one of them managed to get my phone number before I deactivated my account in horror, and despite solicitous phone calls from customer service in Mumbai, encouraging me to have another go.  All I can say is that "Raj" seems amazing, custom builds houses, and ate pasta for breakfast as a child growing up in Singapore.  He calls me every morning as I am waking up and wants to come to Loveland to visit me in a month.  Readers, what am I going to do?  I have accidentally put myself on track for an arranged marriage, a cultural tradition I went to great lengths to avoid. This person sounds really kind and lovely, and is quite handsome. Should I break it to him that I am actually a wild animal? No, not yet. 

What is a day? What is a life?  What will happen?**

**I am going to Chicago on Thursday.  I am going to meet Lauren Berlant. My brain shuts down a little, at the prospect of what I could possibly contribute to the cosmpolitan society of Chicago.  Perhaps I will go the hot springs instead and have a massage.  NO.  I am thinking of it as an opportunity to decompress, very lightly, the last part of my notes on migration and mental illness: the worlding or epidemiology: of the novel: I did not write.

For now, I just want to document (remember) the beautiful space of the studio. Also, here are the baby alpacas:

Baby Alpacas of Loveland Unite!!!!!!!  There were 9 of them, or 8 and a mama. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Xylem and Phloem Notes: Hoa Nguyen, Lorenzo Gonzalez-Flores, XimenaKeogh Serrano and Martin F. Manalansan IV

Hoa Nguyen, taken by Christine Cody next to the Ikebana
On Monday, Hoa Nguyen said: "Nerve ghost."  Yesterday, Martin Manalansan said: "I am not interested in ghosts."  I am intetested in the nerve ghost. On Wednesday, Lorenzo Gonzalez-Flores put his make-up on in the Green Room with such intensity and attention that I wondered how it might be possible to preserve the memory of someone becoming a monkey before my eyes.  Last night, Ximena Keogh Serrano, who had told me about Manalansan's talk at CU, "(Un)moved: The Paradoxes of Disaffection among Undocumented Queer Immigrants" -- mailed a letter.  So did I. We mailed our letters together, beneath the first visible crescent moon of the lunar new year. What is a letterbox?  Sometimes it's a crack in the slab of the sidewalk with what appears, above it, balanced precariously, to be a pile of dirt and twigs, compacted, as if a tree had just been pulverised into its constituent parts.  We mailed our letters beneath a crescent moon, recollecting the voltage and brilliance of Hoa's reading and talk on -- what I would call wordlessness -- (thinking of the mouth filled with silt) but which Ximena called -- impossibility. The "not-never tongue."  That Hoa's talk also had 1980s punk, the violet energy ingot and the story of her mother -- who ran away to join the circus in 1958, in Vietnam (an all-female motorcycle stunt group) -- are also things I am still thinking about.  It was, as many people I talked to afterwards said, a "perfect reading."  And somehow, by last night -- encountering the figure of mess, the field sites in Manalansan's talk -- I felt closer to being able to write about them: the "disturbed sites," the "rush of blood and unconscious features" in Hoa's poems and profoundly embodied thought.  

Here are some notes/associations I made during Hoa's reading/talk, which I want to record here before I lose the thick piece of paper, folded four times, that I wrote them on and which I have been carrying around in my handbag.  They are notes as I made them, and thus function as contractions and fragments, compounded here as they would be, in a traditional pharmacy:

"The Vietnamese language is a ghost in me.  Beautiful flower from heaven.  A kind of doubling."

"Pre-corporate radio."

"The act of yoking or doubling."

"The ultimate make-out poem."

"Yoke."  "Disaffected." (When the word, disaffected, came again last night in Manalansan's way of analyzing posture/facial expressions in the compact living arrangement of The Queer 6, in Queens, NY -- it functioned as a circuit.)

"Distortion and force."

"Nerve ghost."

"Aerial carpet bombing."  (I thought of the spare squares of carpet we had found in my office before class -- Architecture class, which met before Hoa's reading -- and distributed, saying they were "tesserae."  I wanted to link Hoa's reading and teaching (through tesserae) to the class, which is a class on how to design then re-design the cultural space of an as-yet unwritten text, with the proviso that we are also asking, each time, what the space is for. Which was the genius of Hoa's talk, and her relationship to poetry as a set of materials that gesture as much as they: speak.)

"Nerve ghost."  Julia Seko, behind me, rustled in her bag for paper and I could feel her writing it down.  Just before, we had talked about butchering, and both of us had memories, from our working-class urban worlds (east LA, Julia; industrial Greater London, me) -- of slaughtered rabbits!!!!  Hoa's reading was like this too -- that we remembered, or thought things, or knew things -- that we otherwise would not have recollected or dreamed, separately and together in that space.

"The delta means change."

"And sometimes I feel my mouth is silting up."  

"The nine mouths of the Dragon silt up....The Vietnamese believe they have always been poets.  This unlocked something something in me."

"Tree walk."

"Disturbed sites."

"Poignant: to prick, pierce, sting.  To vex, afflict."

"The double reverse."

"She struggles to carry the flowers up the stairs."

"Voices coming out of nowhere."

"I am done."

"I had six eyes and nostrils."  As Hoa was speaking, I drew these out.  Six nostrils means three noses.  Six plus three equals nine.  What is a mouth?  I realized these were the nine mouths Hoa had spoken of earlier.  This is my diagram:

"My notes say soul."

Somewhere at this point in the reading, I had a vivid memory of a woman I once saw in Heathrow.  She was about sixty years old and she had a long white beard; she was Sikh.  We were leaving England; I was almost thirty -- and bereft. Nothing had happened yet. I was not a writer.  My father had died.  And then there, in Terminal 4 -- our flight was delayed -- I sat opposite this woman, who sometimes prayed, sometimes ate an aloo parantha that had been wrapped in foil and that she'd balanced on her knees, and sometimes slept.  My mother sat next to me, reading -- absurdly, I thought -- a dull novel by Anita Brookner, a novel about a lake in Switzerland.  All of this, which I realize now -- is the instant of a reverse migration -- or "return migration," as Manalansan said last night -- flooded back to me during Hoa's reading.

The power of her reading was the way in which, so simply, like unlatching something, she opened time in the bodies of her listeners.  Both Julia and I spoke afterwards about the memories we had had -- that evening -- that we had not thought about in years.

Around Hoa I could see the violet light, the flow of energy that is contained within the ingot perhaps, and that it was mixed with gold. 

"I have a zig zag instead of what you think is there."  

"At home: chaos."  Manalansan's -- depiction: of mess...he also used that word, "chaos," and how we might, then, retrain ourselves to think of this mess as productive, the lack of affect as related to survival.

The deep survival, that is, of what it is to walk out the door and close it, shut it behind, so that: "the frame trembles." (Manlansan.)

"The Vietnam sea dragon and the mountain fairy."

Yes.  

I am so grateful for Hoa's visit.  I had a daydream that I could go to Toronto and attend her Sunday poetry school!  Are you reading this in Toronto?  Quickly, pack yourself a delicious sandwich.  Go.

*

Hoa's being-with -- with us all -- in that space -- shifted something in me, in so many of us, and made possible, it felt -- every other extraordinary and magical thing that happened this week: Shambhala Day and Lhasang at Naropa (I was the MC, Lorenzo was the ecstatic/rancid/terrifying/affectionate Red Fire Monkey), and then -- the remarkable lecture last night.  I wish I had photographs of last night, but, in lieu, you will just have to imagine in your mind the crescent moon and a pile of dirt beneath it: two immigrants interested in wordlessness, in impossibility -- in what is felt but not seen -- crouching over it.  But this is Lorenzo and I in a "pee break," Lorenzo during the ceremony -- not listed in the program, just peeking out to give everyone a shock -- and also the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen in my whole life, driving home from Boulder to Loveland.  

Even the snow turned pink:

I took this from Liz Acosta's Facebook page. Hope this is okay, but it is an emergency.  I knew I had to make my blog today before anything else remarkable and magical happened.  I can't even get into the quotidien magic of my workplace, like bumping into Liz and Sue West as I was slumped in my car after the MC duties had been completed, wondering what to do about lunch, and then suddenly being in Whole Foods, which I haven't been to in years in Boulder, to see it had become Paris in 1879 complete with black and white marbled soaps made by hand.  Sue was very inspiring.  We discussed, to summarize, true love, shrines and what it is make a serious body of work as an artist.  Something about her use of the word "rooms" and how fill those rooms looped back at Manalansan's talk too, which I would not have attended if Ximena had not come to Hoa's reading and we had not met each other again: kindred.  I think I am writing too much in the caption of this photo of Lorenzo as Monkey, giving everyone a shock.  




Monday, February 8, 2016

To wake before dawn



knowing that the day brings terror and beauty in equal measure. That is how I lived, for example, when I was a child. 

I think of the oily, sooty charcoal of the burned out houses on the day after the riot, and how we touched them, the boiled-up houses, the still-warm houses, with our fingertips. And drew a mark down the paper or on a wall. Perhaps we were carrying our satchels, walking home from school. Why else was their paper upon our person? 

And I remember too the cliffs of mud at the end of the street, off Uxbridge Road, when they were digging the foundation of the Alfred Beck Center.  We pretended they were mountains. I remember the day   I saw Stephen Whitby cresting and hid. Packed down hard against the sand and dirt slope, I knew I had to wait. To be found, in the open, by a Whitby, was unthinkable. I was eight? Nine? Seven? Stephen was perpetually twelve, tall, blonde, with always his Doc Martens on, the laces tight. Sharp bones everywhere but also weightedness, fury.  I began to sift the earth mixture, the cliff mixture, through my fingertips, understanding I would have to wait for him to leave, to get bored and keep on towards the public park, and it was then that I found  the quartzes. They were, I realized, everywhere, just below the surface. There were dozens of them, all around me, and each day I'd return, to gather more. 

Some I kept. Some I left on the wall next to the front door of an elderly neighbor from Glasgow, Joyce Morzuch, who made me a fried egg every Saturday morning while I recited poems. Some I gave to my friend Mona. Some I buried in the roots of oak trees when we drove out of Middlesex towards the great country parks of Black Lake and Langley. 

Can you see in your own mind the quartzes?

Can you see the black lake and the oak trees and the rain that has begun to fall, in light silver sheets, the indigo hard behind it as the next night falls?

*************

I feel 24% nervous about this day, a high number for me. 

What/who am I hiding from? What/who am I so frightened of? How can I dig, right at my own feet, until I find the jewels?  

**********************

This post is dedicated to April Joseph! Hi, April! Thank you for your beautiful email after the blog post "Endlessly." I think this is the beginning of answering your question, or thinking a little more about how we might, as a cardinal or daily practice: convert: the poison. 

To nectar. 

Into nectar. 

With every breath. 

In every instance or case. 

I actually can't write these words without thinking of the poisoned water of Flint, Michigan, or state violence in its infinite array/kind. 

What is the relationship of mindfulness practice, dzogchen practice in particular, to social and environmental justice? 

April, it's started to snow lightly. 

I must wake up and drink tea and go to Naropa, where once you played a wind instrument, something resembling a flute, though perhaps it was a saxophone, then paused, to read the poetry of Akilah Oliver; Akilah, who would have answered these questions deeply, properly, though first. 

She might have laughed. 

And offered you a cigarette. 

Or, I suppose, a joint. 

Is every question a question about the brevity of singular lives, the fragile silky membrane, an easily torn but as yet intact: skin?

No. But today the questions have brought me here, to the present, and to the space I am about to enter, and a memory of Akilah in dungarees, smoking behind the Harry Smith recording studio in summer, patches on her knees. 

I used to meet her girlfriend C. for breakfast at Dot's Diner on 28th. We used to talk about trauma therapies and childhood; what a child was. C. worked with previously incarcerated "youth," somewhere down near Golden. 

April, hi. Could you submit a report, a report from the edges of life, and I will put it: here:

[                                               





                                                            ]

Does that sound like an adequate plan? Please send a note of any kind and I will, retroactively, post it here. Like a mixture of butter and fire, held in place with red string.