Friday, December 29, 2017

29 December 2017

I want to write an honest sentence. Forgiveness is arbitrary, but the arbitrary is not. The one time the old man came to him in a dream, he was lost and confused. The sun kept rising and setting behind him. Go into the light, the younger man said, and he did. Take your trauma and run it in fast-forward until it's funny was the worst piece of advice. The best was to tell stories, but he couldn't remember in what order they fell, and they did fall. What was the relationship between trauma and the ordinary world? If what's ordinary is sacred, what of moments torn from its rib, given half-life and an apple for the teacher? If not sacred, then rimmed by a migraine's aura. When she reads in church she cannot see the words; there's a hole in the text, or in her head. Scripture drains away in flash flood. Why is it funny that the Noah's Ark Theme Park flooded? my daughter asks. Our explanations fail her. The myth of a myth is perhaps a truth. Or, the president* hit a birdie and was on television to boast about it. We don't get cable any more, so his face blurred as if protected from our gaze. Witness protection, you know. We need him re-elected because otherwise ratings would plummet. He's the engine of the fake economy, one where talkers talk and fact-checkers go on holiday. Someone made the mistake of calling this paradise, so I responded in a little box. Is tropical suffering worse than that in cold climates? He should feel better, someone said of a friend, because it's so sunny out today. But this today I walk between bands of rain. If you peel the film away from the screen, and only watch the screen, your memories will turn clear as rain water. I am obsessed with my memories, but don't hold onto them. I put them in small plastic sleeves and give them away like toothbrushes or hand soap. It's what I do to forgive myself for living in this world.

--29 December 2017

Thursday, December 28, 2017

28 December 2017

I want to write an honest sentence. A heart unfolds red petals beneath little green bananas. Lacking paper, they wrote their names on banana leaves. Where now cactus is canvas for graffiti. Two letters in a row, but I can't get them right except by adding and then pruning back. My daughter spells Lord with an “a,” as if he boarded with us, mystery man in the extra room. I want to say “insurance,” but that's not it. Insulation is, to keep in the warm and out the cold. The law of syllables doesn't apply, though that of initial sounds seems to. The tip of the tongue resides inside the skull, where someone cracked a door. Inured to our losses, we dropped the plan, leaving higher premiums to the sick and elderly. A bearded homeless man at the bus stop on Kamehameha tilts his head down against the rain. In the suburbs, there you slink past the house of the man who molests you. So many years later, you tell the story. It fell upon your screen, but screen disappeared like a blind assassin. You'd kill your past, if you could. Instead, you gather letters like leaves and lay them on the floor. They can't grow, but you summons the wind. I'm so glad you never played the victim.

--28 December 2017

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Attention paid to Leona Chen's new BOOK OF CORD, from Tinfish Press

Shawna Yang Ryan's introduction:

Eileen Tabios's response:

26 December 2017

I want to write an honest sentence. A saw cuts my thought in half, though both ends show outside the box. Thought's an appendage, but what occurs inside the box is not. Is not is assertion and denial in two short syllables. The saw would cut them in half, leaving a pile of light brown dust. What feeds the trees in the rain forest is the dust from Mongolian deserts; what feeds the dust is another question. I see from one side of the box, and wiggle my toes at the other. If sawdust makes me sneeze, I perhaps will die of being cut. But to read the box as meaningful is to take it as central to the story, succumbing to the saw. Once upon a time there was a box. Once upon a time it sat upon a stage and people watched as it was cut in half. The piercing of the saw was not entertainment but something more precious. It was what happened while not happening, this separation of the box from itself. The box is a turtle shell that shields beings from consequence. Head cannot think its way inside the box to cradle heart and liver, ease the pain of seeming to be cut. Death would be a poor performance, but life is not. The handmaid saw a sheet that wore a tulip stain of blood and knew a man had died. The other sheets were blank, like petticoats lacking ink.

--26 December 2017

Sunday, December 24, 2017

24 December 2017

I want to write an honest sentence. I don't want to exist, he said. To want not to be: two positives and a negative. Negative wins, masquerading as member of a team clutching its trophy for the cameras. Digital immortality is brief, though it comes around like days of the week. He sat down to draw a Valentine; what flashed before him was a sketch of himself ascending to heaven. At least there were wings. That was before the image of him lying in the tub, covered in blood. We pay attention to the film more than to the screen on which it dances. The film pierces us with need. His son's ideation involved using his friend's gun at a shooting range. If our father could do it, so can I, one woman reported, having lost both father and brother. It's not something we commit, except to other's memories. Her friend, dead these 20 years, still appears in her dreams, telling jokes. Ithi stands by Starbucks with Rawi, each clutching a large bag. Suicide is a stay to time, its straight jacket. At the end of Poetry: Shi, the audience sat quietly in the dark theater, as if to take in the braid of dementia and suicide. Outside it was sunny and the Pacific Ocean was turquoise and people were drinking coffee and shopping. Everything as it had been. The death toll is a bell that rings for thee, and thee. A verb and its negative are the enjambment that breaks statement into counter-statement, a moment of being into one of ceasing to exist. “The horses are" was Plath's best line, my teacher said. I'm afraid to see what came next. And he is and they are yet. I feel cleaner now, he says, having told us the story of a grandfather who liked little boys. To hear is to take on but some of the weight, and to carry it away. The road's shoulders bear the strain of wanderers, men and women who walk. (To walk is to place one foot before the other, and the other after.) You can see it in their eyes, the unsettled stare. Theo wondered if our colleague had died by suicide but I said no, he was quite happy. His last glance resembled one. 

--24 December 2017

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Big Island workshop in January

If you know anyone who might be interested, please let them know. Click to render readable (if not "relatable").