Monday, April 9, 2012

War games, genetic drift and tulips

9 a.m : Poetry class.  The first draft a private genetics.  "Genetic drift." -- Curtis.  "The phenotype is revised again and again." -- Sally.  We think about failure and the phenomenology of distance: what's furthest from us.  On: "the rim." As void-like, reflective: our reflection on the curved space behind the farthest star (light point) we can imagine.  What backs up against that is Shiva: a substance with the power of ten thousand suns.  Meditate upon that and anything is possible.  All of this from an unpacking of Joan Retallack's talk and reading this last Thursday and Friday: our inaugural Leslie Scalapino lecturer.  Atopic negations.  "Otherness." -- April.  How to work on new descriptions of things.  Though what about the "blankness of the page?" -- Natasha.  How the page might want something else.  Less touch.  More touch.  The page as endocrine: a pressure before appearance.  How to document non-being, the not wanting to look, the desire to orient differently: to the objects and actions of the world.  Yesterday, it was the abyss.  Today, it's the world.  The writers broke off into groups to incubate the next draft (the phenotype) and analyze the letters (pathogens/nutrients) they had received from each other.  Here are the writers beyond the prayer flags (group 1) and in the little garden with the transition altar behind the biodynamic garden bed with the adobe wall (group 2):

12 p.m: Prose class.  We looked at the Bolano excerpt in the current Paris Review.  War games, erasures, triplicate dream-theory and the role of chance and degradation in a work of fiction.  I was incredibly impressed by the presentation: a marker of which was my uncharacteristic passivity to what was being said and the unearthly capacity to write in a classroom setting.  Contemplative education is the most incredible thing, done well.  I feel like these students did it better than me today.  Dazed, I had to go to a meeting for the Higher Learning Commission, who are visiting this week.  Water, baclava, lemonade.

3.40 p.m: What a SHOCK!!!!!!  Walking to my car, I see Luis H. Valadez -- an alumnus, currently of Chicago.  He read me a poem from his incredible new chapbook VALID LUSH and there -- in "Akilah's place," the smoking section outside the music studio and to the sound of electric drumming --  we smoked an American Spirit in her honor, that we bummed, though neither of us smoke, and talked -- profoundly -- of her:

Luis and Tim Hernandez, another incredible, well-published alumnus are giving a talk in the student center in Nalanda this Wednesday at 6, on contemplative education.

Wait. There's Bolano's Manifesto of Infrarealism in front of Luis.  It was distributed in the prose class.  For some reason, I left with it in my Frida Kahlo bag.  Excerpt 2.b (with my favorite sentences highlighted in fuchsia, scarlet and what in other countries would qualify as maroon):

Try daily to leave everything behind.

In architecture and sculpture the infrarealists start from two points: the barricade and the bed.

Galaxies of love are appearing in the palms of our hands.

AND: here's Luis's poem for Akilah:

good lovers repatriate fires that have disbursed each other, he said

i should have asked you to help me face my hips forward without strain. instead i asked for you to let out class early so I could get to my hummus and fritos. i’d beg your forgiveness, but you heard only men do that. would you lend me your car so i can get into the mountains? i’m working on being audible enough for you to hear me profess my desire for someone else to tell me about my boundaries. i’m losing my punch behind social medium. i heard a loud mouth can help me laugh, but isn’t better at taking in than my nostrils.

hold my child, i said. i’ll pick him up when i retire from my position as a miscellaneous employee. make him hot dogs and eggs. teach him to slice his Corn King Franks pieces smaller with a fork. i only got him cause someone once let me in on a joke. the way to my heart is through my gullet. my breath is the pots i ate of almond cheese and vegan chili thinking it wouldn’t show above my waist. my scent is the shower i took in a dream so lucid i didn’t take one before you. i promise i never tried to sell you what i served, even though you smoked heavily.

i need gloves for my extremities. i would take yours if they weren’t yours. my wrists would rather take the weight of my shoulders than distribute what makes them feel significant. i am wrecked in the hips from the times i approached you from the outer edges of my feet. if i wasn’t the same age as your son, i wonder how much sooner you would have stopped nodding your head to the tune of be mine not anyone else’s. besides, i didn’t know how to recognize when someone wanted to touch me. still don’t. it’s because of you i figured out that my language is filed under gets i ain’t got. i apologize for my jealousy. you didn’t lust for me and my girth would have kept me from reaching you, anyway.