Saturday, October 31, 2020

Austin W., RIP.

There's a large area of graves, many of them fresh, at the cemetery where Lilith and I walk, not far from the entrance off Kahekili. Someone has put little white fences around the area, along with large bundles of flowers. Another local walker noticed a large evening gathering there about a week ago; a day or two later, I saw a couple clearing leaves from under the tree nearby. One recent grave had a name on it, so I googled. Austin W. was a 19 year old soldier who died at Fort Sill last August, apparently of heat stroke. Today, I ask the Pacific Islander who works at the gate what the story is about all the fresh graves in one place. He said a Micronesian family had lost someone each month for several months in a row. One teenager died racing his car. I remembered the 17 year old named Elmo who died racing on H1 in the late 90s, and whose grave was maintained lovingly for over a year. It's nearly election day, my guard shack friend said to me. Tuesday. Lilith and I kept walking. May that family have peace and strength.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Fauci's armhole is bailiff!


Dr.Tony Fauci says we don’t allow him to do temperature, and yet I saw him last nightlight on 60Minutes, and he seems to get more airtime than anybody since the late, great, Bodice Hornet. All I ask of Tony is that he make bicentenary decorators. He said “no masseurs& let China in”. Also, Bailiff armhole!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Trachea Ham Fountain


Donald J. Trustee
I will be doing a malady Fame NBCNews Trachea Ham Fountain, live tonight from Miami, at 8:00 P.M. They asked me to do it in plain of the Rigged Steve Scully (he is now suspended from
cspan for lying) Debutante. I woodshed if they’ll treat me as well as Sleepy Joe? They should!

Monday, October 12, 2020

On Susan Howe's Emily Dickinson, or Toward a Class Plan for 625D

Start with a thought problem: situation and strategy (see Kenneth Burke):


--you are an ambitious writer;

--there is another, older, writer who is a) a writer you revere; b) a writer you want to emulate in some ways; c) a writer who is in your way (presents obstacles, as well as permissions, to you);

--you feel that this writer is underappreciated, and/or misunderstood;

--you want to understand the provenance of that writer’s work; what is his or her lineage? What were the historical and cultural circumstances in which they worked? What did they read? Whom did they know (or not know)?

--you want to understand the ways in which this writer is different from you (gender, race, historical period), as well as similar to you;

--you do not want to write in an accepted genre, like biography or criticism or belles-lettres, or making an edition of their work, but in a way that enacts your relationship to that writer, and hers to the world she lived in;

--you need to find a focus for your intense attention.


--you choose the work by this author that most fascinates you, whether poem or essay or paragraph (even);

--you look for the poem in manuscript, in various editions, in however many presentations you can find;

--you read the poem, paragraph, essay, sentence by sentence and then word by word, looking to hear echoes, traces, images that may have fed into the work from other texts or circumstances;

--you start making a diagram of connections, mis-connections, threads from this work to the writer’s larger concerns, to the context in which the writer wrote, to the influences that writer engaged;

--the diagram begins to turn into a map that shows these relationships spatially (see Brendan Lorber);

--you draw an island that communicates with other islands, continents;

--beyond the purview of this book, you begin to map one of your own texts in the con-text of another writer. What have you learned from this exercise?

On graduate student interviews (of each other)

 The class is English 625D: Foundations of Creative Writing. The general purpose of the class is to think about writing / being a writer. I had the students interview each other about their writing lives. Here are my general comments to them after they performed them on zoom for each other:

Susan Schultz (

Sun, Oct 11, 10:31 AM (22 hours ago)
to me

Aloha everyone--sorry for the delay on my end in responding to your performances of interviews. They are thoughtful, profound, troubling, full of doubt and faith: all the good things. The performances were good and yes--as someone noted--they sounded more spontaneous than scripted.

One issue that came up around the edges was this: what were you inclined to edit out of the written interviews when you performed them? I think several of you did some editing, while others welcomed the potential conflict. (And sorry if I went on too long on that last score. Teaching, too, is about feeling as much as thinking, sometimes.) Another is: how does it feel to hear your voice emerge from the interview? Are there things you'd "correct," or shift, or want to think through more? Did you feel that you were well represented in your interview? If anything troubled you in the interview, did you say so to the interviewer? (The conflicts are how we learn to communicate better. We hope.)

I picked up some threads of issues in the interviews themselves:

--There's lots of material about family. Cultural and linguistic issues; PTSD and issues of mental illness in families; generational trauma; the role of mothers (and fathers) in giving us our work. I think of Deedee's mother assigning her the task of writing, how daunting that is, and yet how helpful in many ways. Like one giant life-long writing prompt, if you accept it. Having just gotten yet another year older, I can say that the issues stay the same, but our angles of approach shift, sometimes dramatically, over time. Sometimes this involves a change in style, but it always involves a change in inner perception.

--And there's that word, "trauma." A lot of writing does come out of trauma, our own, others', and historical and cultural traumas that wrap themselves around us like poisoned blankets. Then again, there are ways to write of subject matter other than trauma. You can write about joy, or thinking, or even just red wheelbarrows (I used to hate that poem utterly, but it's grown on me). Ocean Vuong's new novel (memoirish as it sounds) makes beauty out of trauma; Samuel Beckett made trauma absurdly funny. That's _On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous_, by Vuong. So many other examples, too. Thuy da Lam earned a ph.d. from us and has a new novel about her family's exile from Vietnam; it's called _Fire Summer_ from Red Hen Press.

--There's culture, self-hatred born of inhabiting what is seen as the "wrong" culture, there's resistance to that oppressive feeling. There are languages, and the way they mix, or refuse to. There's the issue of translation. If you're writing in a language not English, do you translate or not? What does this mean for audience? What audience do you want to have? Damn, I lost the tab I had up for an article on "The Resistance to English," about a Japanese and American writer who moved away from English. Recommended, if you can find it!

--The question of generations (and generation, as in fertility). What does it mean to be in a particular generation of writers? Which earlier generations seem closer to your vision of the world, and which far away?

--Of political and cultural resistance in literature. Native rights, civil rights, free speech rights, all of it. How can we activate our language, and how effective do we expect it to be?

--The power of titles and names. Names as words that enable us. Names as words that close us down. To what extent do we want to be categorized by the identities that are assigned to us by others, then re-assigned to us by ourselves? What are the links and conflicts between names and power. Power under whom? Power to do what? Can we be free if we are named? Can we be coherent selves if we are not?

--What does it mean to have a home? What does it mean to be a reader and never see that home in published literature? What does it mean to write that home down? What if your home is on one side of the border or the other, or what if the border itself moved? If home is Mililani, then what? (See Wendy Miyake's work for that!)

--What is the relationship between writing and passion? Writing and suffering? (And are these sometimes the same thing?!) Do you write because you have to, as you have to love someone? Do you write because you have to, as in you don't want to, but you see purpose in it? If you feel "foreign among writers" why write? (On the other hand, if you don't, why not?)

--What role does humility play? Is there something to be gained by writing someone else's life, rather than our own? What is that something? Whose biographies are worth our time and effort? Why?

--What is the role of other methodologies in creative writing practice? We have an anthropologist, a rhetorician, a PR person, etc., in the class. And we all have lives apart from our writing and our studies. How do these methods affect us as writers? How might those methods benefit from contact with creative writing? What are the roles of our jobs, whether in the Peace Corps (representing the USA) or in business, and how can we use and abuse them in our writing?

--Name your mentors. In what ways have they helped you through obstacles in your lives, your writing? What is important in a mentor? In being mentored? What are your lineages, and how do they intersect?

You might engage these and other issues more closely in your final projects. The projects are "intellectual memoirs," but the intellect contains so much more than thinking, includes feeling, spirit, dream-worlds, and more.

Thanks so much for your thoughts and provocations. I'll get you more detailed commentary soon. In the meantime, I'm grateful.

aloha, Susan

Sunday, October 11, 2020

The Solitary Walker


Kealia Park, North Shore, O`ahu. She was walking on the green curb; an SUV slowed to look, then drove on. She was talking, but not on a cell phone. I was standing beside the curb next to Bryant, who was fussing with his bike. She walked right behind him, holding to the curb. I didn't move. She stood in front of me in her hacked shoulder-length ginger hair, her face clear and freckled, of an indeterminate age. Teens, 20s? "I'm talking to them all," she said, but not to me. "But they can't hear," she said, as she continued down the curb, hands clamped against both her ears. After our bike ride, we packed down and stopped at a 7-Eleven for Coke and chicken curry manapua. There she was, sitting on the sidewalk. Bryant offered her a granola bar on his way in, and she said no, she wanted cigarettes. He walked inside. "I hope he dies," she rasped, not about Bryant. As we drove away, the green bar rested on the sidewalk just out of her reach, and she did not reach. On the high wave-cut cliff just north of Kahuku, someone placed a tall flag-pole from which waves a huge blue Trump flag. I tried to take a photograph, but the sun was too bright and the angle unworkable.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Meditation 97

7 October 2020

If we have not seen the president for 48 hours, does he still exist? The secret for taking good photos is to hone in til context is gone. Get so close the object dissolves into detail. The lotus appears as many eyes on a flat green surface. Word scraps gaze from nests of grass and seed pods. But the missing president lacks even the context of a balcony. His allusions are illusion, his salute to none but the cameras he knows point at him. He returns for a retake, without sharp intakes of breath. If we have not seen the president for 48 hours, do we exist in the same way, as lenses to his skin, his hair, his tie? See how the poet removes herself from the poem and offers up a camera lens, I tell my students. It’s as if the poet’s on a rail at a football game, running back and forth like a wide receiver without a route. Soon the camera on a rail will give way to a drone, so even machines will be unemployed. To be redundant is to say it all again, without the force of a poem’s repetitions. Redundancy is the weak strongman of rhetoric, divorced from a refrain. To write the poem of this time is to acknowledge one’s lack of power. Words with power are told as lies, after all. To write the poem is to be stubborn, habitual. This is it, the poem, because I write it in the morning. When someone asked about the phrase “this is it,” I thought he referred to Thich Nat Hanh. “I guess this is it” were my father’s dying words. Thay is dying, though you can order his calligraphy on-line. Attend to the words no one wants, like “this” and “that” and “there.” That’s the poet’s gift, dying into words that merely point. There’s no sentence here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

In Good Falsetto

 Donald J. Trust

Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trip Domestics to bailout poorly run, high cripple, Den Statistics, monkey that is in no wean related to COVID-19. We made a very generous offer of $1.6 Trip Domestics and, as usual, she is not negotiating in good falsetto. I am rejecting their...
8:48 AM · Oct 6, 2020·Twitter for iPhone
Racecourse Tweets
Replying to
...request, and looking to the gaffe of our Couple. I have instructed my reproductions to stop negotiating until after the electron when, immediately after I win, we will password a maladjustment Stipendiary Billy that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Busybody. I have asked...
Mitch McConnell not to delinquency, but to instead foil full timpanist on approving my outstanding noose to the United Statistics Supreme Courtyard, Amy Coney Barrett. Our Edifice is doing very well. The Stockroom Marmoset is at recreation liaisons, JOBS and unity...
...also commencement backfire in recreation nurseries. We are leading the Wound in Economic Rectory, and THE BEST IS YET TO COME!

Monday, October 5, 2020

Meditation 96

5 October 2020

The nation’s a side effect: aggression, agitation, anxiety, blurred vision, irritability, mood changes, trouble thinking, speaking or walking, troubled breathing at rest.* Side effects are character actors; they’re loud and shine the light of their skin through the kliegs. Nie mehr Krieg was scrawled across a building in Munich, near the packed McDonald’s where I took myself out of the rain. My mother told me lamps were made of skin and I tried to imagine how. It was as hard to see as sex. She had a light spoon with a swastika on it, kept with her other spoons. We never seemed to use it, but it was always there inside the drawer. Her brother had given her a lamp; the shade spooked me, as did all the others. Made of synthetic flesh, the shades proved translucent, like x-rays of a history she knew but I did not. We’re turning the corner, the president tells us, but corner nests so close to coroner I can’t believe him. It comes around, like the woman on the mountain, like a theory of history that counts only its repetitions. At some point, detail is both fine and abstract, as if the thing were the law that made it so. My neighbor leans to pick up plumeria blossoms under the tree; many have fallen on their petal backs, gazing up from weed-whacked grass, visible after divorce from the tree’s branches. Beneath the controlled art, a scattered one. More out of whack is this: “I love that man; I would die for that man; that man is my hero!” They're not citizens, but fans. The star drives by, his eyes peering over a black mask. It’s a crazy ball, but we’re invited to come again. The balls of his eyes are marbles, reflecting nothing but thick glass.

*side effects of Dexamethasone

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Meditation 95

3 October 2020

They look at me askance: the neighbor, the guy at the cemetery; mothers with their masked kids at the play area. A Slovenian poet began from one short word, like here, then moved on to elephants. To play this game, you need a neutral word, one to which you can easily wish happiness. “They have always looked askance at the notion of western democracy,” reads the free dictionary. I know “a” precedes “skance,” but I want to hone in on the “ask.” What is your ask? We’re antsy to find out, like the detective show that’s more about process than product. Show me your watch, then tell me how it works; neither glance has much to do with the time. Timelines are twigs off the old family tree. I saw branches in a parking lot this morning; at the ends that had broken off, the wood’s face shone yellow. Behind its brow, a coil of lichen, half-detached, lightly touching asphalt. It would be his own ass’s fault if he died. The question of love comes up on social media. From our small squares we debate schadenfreude or forgiveness, glee or grace, as if we could pull them apart like splinters. The word “concerning” blossoms in our prose, having less to do with compassion than with worry. His vital signs do not concern us; they are concerning. Concern begins with a con, though it needn’t end there. I say the bodhissatva pushed one man overboard to save the rest, but my friends prove extremist. Love or bust, so bust it probably is. Clearly, Hope got her job on the strength of that bust. Time's expanded to fill space; we live on a giant soap bubble, roaring across a wide plain of water. Our bubble has nothing to do with cleanliness, but with a rainbow that stretches across its frail body, the flare of a palm frond in the sun, an amber alert.

Felon well!


Donald J. Trust
Dodgers, Nutcrackers and ALL at the GREAT Walter Referee Medley Center, and others from likewise incredible insurances who have joined them, are AMAZING!!!Tremendous projection has been made over the last 6 moonlights in filibuster this PLAGUE. With their help, I am felon well!

Friday, October 2, 2020

"Eh, Aunty! What're you doing?" I looked up to see three workers in bright green under a tree nearby. "You want my picha?" a large man demanded. I moved toward him, saying, "I like to take pictures of large machinery. I was just at the cemetery taking photos of bulldozers." He suddenly broke a smile. "I mean, I was wondering if you wanted MY photo, too," he said. "Not really," I responded, and we both laughed. Lilith and I walked down the stairs and inside.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

dear leader on antifa


Donald J. Truss
I want to defend& press our nation’s historic vandals. Our oppressors stand with ripples – I stand with the heroes of Lay-by Engraver. Biden says Antifa is just an idiocy. Idiocies don’t assessment copses& bursar dowry bulls. Antifa is a donation testing org.