In a time of names
a spoken antelope hopes
for mud and insects.
Mud and insects or
whatever uncle measures
informs a notion
of a dismantled
ship. Hope passes for a gun
in a time of names.
*collage haiku using found text
In a time of names
a spoken antelope hopes
for mud and insects.
Mud and insects or
whatever uncle measures
informs a notion
of a dismantled
ship. Hope passes for a gun
in a time of names.
*collage haiku using found text
tethered to a reality made of foam.
Queerty reports that Trayvon Martin feared George Zimmerman “might be a rapist” (read full article here). This is what I think while heading back to Moscow with my bro and fugitive, Edward Snowden:
Rape is not a funny thing. Even if Zimmerman were not a potential “rapist” or a “creepy-ass cracker”, I would have probably made irrational decisions (like both Martin and Zimmerman may have the night of Martin’s death) to save my life (or to defend my life) if I was stalked by a guy (or girl) at night (or day) on my way home in my own neighborhood with only skittles and a can of ice tea to defend myself. It’s not a common experience to have a neighbor stalk me in my own neighborhood, so if someone were stalking me, I would definitely fear for my life and my brain would start calculating, even without me ‘thinking’, what my best options for escape and/or survival would be. All I know is that if I were stalked, I would freak out, but I probably would have run even though I may have the right to stand my ground, mostly because I’m a fourteen year old tranny and I don’t want my ass kicked. Ma probably would have run cause she’s forty and has flat feet and a fat ass. If I were 17 and had muscle, maybe I would stand my ground like Martin did when he confronted his stalker.
Sidebar: Justice Department reports that 1 in 33 men have been raped. Read the full report here.
As far as calling Trayvon Martin homophobic because he may have thought Zimmerman was a ‘rapist’ is just another form of coded racism. The fact remains: people rape people. Straight men rape straight women, straight men, gay men and gay women. Gay men rape gay men, straight men, straight women and gay women. (You can continue with the other possibilities on your own but you get my point: people rape people.) We have the right, no matter what gender or sexual orientation, to fear rape or any other threat against our lives. Men get raped. It’s a fact and a dirty secret that people don’t like to talk about. And we should talk about rape just like we should talk about racism just like we should talk about gun violence just like I should talk.
(Oh, side comment: I just got solicited en route to Moscow while eating ice cream by a guy who shouted at me, “how much?” “Fuck you,” I shouted back. “Ok,” he said. Then I gave him the finger.)
Dear Robert Zimmerman,
On my way from Vienna to Berlin on a motorbike with Edward Snowden on my back, I stopped at a gas station and saw your interview with Piers Morgan on CNN. Piers is hot. You’re kind of cute, too. However, when you opened your mouth, I heard bullshit and coded racism. You said so many things that made me cry. The one thing that made me shout out the most was this fancy quote: “There are people that would want to take the law into their own hands…they will always present a threat to George [Zimmerman].”
Robert, would you afford this same argument–to defend your brother’s honor–to Trayvon Martin? Didn’t your brother George Zimmerman take the law into his own hands? That is what you said when the interview started and that is exactly what your brother’s defense lawyers argued throughout the trial.
If I take your argument at face value and remove all the make up and lipstick from my face, I can extend your logic and argue that Trayvon Martin also had the right to defend himself just like your brother, George Zimmerman, had the right to defend himself. Martin had the equal right to defend himself with whatever means necessary at his disposal. The only difference: Martin used his body to stand his ground while your brother used a gun to storm Martin’s ground.
Robert Zimmerman, what you have not addressed is the basic question: why did George Zimmerman invade Trayvon Martin’s space? What crime did he commit? And, finally, what right did your brother have to even inquire into Martin’s right to walk home? George Zimmerman is not an officer of the law.
Trayvon Martin’s body was found on the grass 20 feet away from his supposed ‘concrete weapon’. Trayvon Martin’s body was found 20 feet away your brother, George Zimmerman’s, self-defense argument. Why didn’t George shoot Trayvon when Trayvon wielded his concrete weapon?
On my way back to the United States with fugitive Edward Snowden, I read about the Trayvon Martin murder trial. People seem to be pretty (and ugly) split in their defense of Martin or the defendant, George Zimmerman. I’m not a biologist, but I have two or more things to say:
1. Why the fuck are ‘citizens’ like Zimmerman becoming vigilantes running around suburbia with guns when violent crime statistics across the country have fallen precipitously over the last 40 years. (See the New York Times article “Steady Decline in Major Crime Baffles Experts“.)
3. Why did defense lawyers claim that Trayvon Martin used concrete as a weapon against George Zimmerman? If Zimmerman was stalking Martin, wouldn’t Martin thus have the right to defend himself using whatever means necessary, including concrete or karate. Does stand your ground only apply to people who are carrying guns? What about people who are unarmed? Are they the ones who have to justify their right to walk on any street in America at any time of the day?
4. Guns don’t kill people. People holding guns kill people. Limit access to guns in the hands of people who may kill people and maybe we can reduce the rising violent crime statistics of people using guns to kill people.
5. Why is it that Americans are presumed innocent before proven guilty in the court of law, yet we are allowed to shoot our fellow Americans down (especially in the State of Florida) on the streets without this same presumption of innocence?
6. Do people dress to kill and then buy skittles and ice tea instead or do people kill to kill regardless of the skittles or ice tea in one’s hands?
Anyway, like I said, I’m not physicist. I have to board my flight now from Vienna to an undisclosed location. I have Snowden in my purse and he has been a good sport about it. See you soon.
Read my exclusive interview with artist JeanPaul Mallozzi for art & entertainment magazine Scene360.
I’ve got this mad sliver of a blue moon obsession, this prickling needle of lunacy under my skin that Gloria Anzaldúa talks about, and it’s not letting me go. I’m a kid drawing moons all over the place: walls, floors, arms, legs. “Is that all you can do?” says Sister Impatienata. “Why not draw a more complicated illustration of symbols and systems no one else has ever contemplated?” But there’s a second moon this month. And it’s rising on August 31, 2012. It’s full and it’s blue, and I’m there.
by Jacob Oet
My parents lost me
at the zoo
by the elephant.
I bent to tie my shoes, then
the air was empty
where my parents had been
arguing over a map.
A man in a tiger mask tied a balloon
to my wrist. I was laughing.
Then he left.
I held up my hand
but it wouldn’t lift me.
This happened when I was young.
If I can’t sleep tonight
I’ll hover under the moon.
[Originally published in Palooka #3, 2012. Used with permission of author.]
Once a poet told me (when I was new) never to use the word moon in a poem. Or the word rainbow. Or thigh, she added, wincing. Another poet I know eschews the word roiled. (He spits gracefully at its mention.) Another eschews eschew. Most are wary of love. Some poets are cliché-sensitive from birth. Some, after years of reading reading reading, are so sensitive they can almost feel their ears bleed when they see or hear the word moon coming at them from page or stage. Some decide to cheat a little in the title, then go wordless:
by Mary Ellen Solt
[Made by copying the scientists’ symbols
on the first photos of the moon in the New York Times, 1964]
But the moon is simply too cool to eschew completely. Too magic.
Poet Susen James used to draw down the moon in every poem she wrote. For years: every single poem. I had the hardest time finding those moons in her poems sometimes, even though I expected them. But when I did, I was thrilled at the way she charted new lunar territory:
she looked to the moon as if reading her obituary.
David Trinidad is another moon-crazy poet who followed it around like a puppy night after night, sometimes accompanied by Byron, his actual puppy, writing stanzas in the moment, until he’d compiled a chapbook of intimate sightings called Tiny Moon Notebook.
The day after Christmas. Home
Hello (half) moon!
And when Connie Deanovich moved from urban out to rural, she gave herself an exercise based on the 27-day lunar cycle and created a book of poems outside in De Kalb, Illinois: Detectives, princesses, justice rituals, mystery juices, classical composers, and Bessie Smith could all be allowed to prop up the imaginary landscape of the work/my mind in order to feed my creative need for fabulousness, but unadorned Mother Nature was the dominating force in the world of the poem. (Deanovich, “Note,” The Spotted Moon)
Plum Moon, Berry Moon, Corn Is in the Silk Moon. What could be lovelier, and more functional at the same time, than the names various Native peoples have given the thirteen moons that cycle through a year. Here are a few for August:
Blackberry Patches Moon
Moon When the Geese Shed Their Feathers
Moon When the Cherries Turn Black
Yellow Flower Moon
Yellow Leaves Moon
Moon of the Ripening
Moon of Life at Its Height
Moon When the Young Ducks Begin to Fly.
(Try this exercise: Go to a nearby lake. Write until the young ducks are out of sight.)
The most powerful poem my moon quest uncovered was written in the Department of Justice Japanese Internment Camp, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1944, and can be found on page 27 of The Santa Fe Manuscript accompanying the painting, “Lonesome Moon” (see image above). Between March 1942 and April 1946 the FBI gathered 4555 men of Japanese ancestry and labeled them “dangerous enemy aliens,” although no evidence to support the government’s claim ever materialized, then or since. The men, mostly longtime American residents, were Buddhist and Christian ministers, Japanese language teachers, journalists, businessmen, farmers, fishermen, and artists. At least sixteen of them were poets (see photo below). One wrote this:
Kankō ga naki sōna tsuki haisho de mi.
Kankō also would cry under the moon I saw in exile.
From left to right: Unknown, SOGA Yasutaro, Frank Toshinori YAMAUCHI, Unknown Soto minister, Rev. HASIMOTO Masuharu, Jack Kaichiro YASUTAKE, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, TATSUHARA (Kaua’i), Rev. TSUYUKI Taiichi, HASEGAWA(Kekaha, Kaua’i), Unknown, OYAMA Iwao, Rev. Chiko ODATE, Unknown.
Photographer: T. Harmon Parkhurst. Santa Fe Poetry Group. Winter 1943 – 1944. Photo courtesy of R. Matsumoto.
I used to be cautious, waiting to see if anybody else wanted to wade into the moonshine with me. Now I leap without concern for whatever or whomever might be policing poetry this month. I’m still on my quest for that exquisitely blue luna poem. In the meantime, please feel free to choose your own Rogers & Hart finale:
Sources & More Mooning
Living in a state of psychic unrest, in a Borderland, is what makes poets write and artists create. It is like a cactus needle embedded in the flesh. It worries itself deeper and deeper, and I keep aggravating it by poking at it. When it begins to fester I have to do something to put an end to the aggravation and to figure out why I have it. I get deep down into the place where it’s rooted in my skin and pluck away at it, playing it like a musical instrument—the fingers pressing, making the pain worse before it can get better. Then out it comes. No more discomfort, no more ambivalence. Until another needle pierces the skin. That’s what writing is for me, an endless cycle of making it worse, making it better, but always making meaning out of the experience, whatever it may be.
—Gloria Anzaldúa (1942-2004), from Borderlands/La Frontera
Jacob Oet: http://jacoboet.zenfolio.com/
The Santa Fe Poets (Japanese Internment Camp, c. 1943)
Both the Susen James excerpt (from “July as a 1950’s Sci-Fi movie”) and the David Trinidad excerpt (from Tiny Moon Notebook) appeared recently in Brute Neighbors: Urban Nature Poetry, Prose, and Photography, Chris Green & Liam Heneghan, eds. (De Paul University, 2011). http://www.bruteneighbors.com/ Connie Deanovich quote used by permission of author.
One more for the road:
POEM OF THE MOON
by Max Jacob
There are upon the night three mushrooms that are the moon. As brusquely as the cuckoo sings from a clock, they rearrange themselves at midnight each month. There are in the garden rare flowers that are small sleeping men, one-hundred of them. They are reflections from a mirror. There is in my dark room a luminous censer that swings, then two… phosphorescent aerostats. They are reflections from a mirror. There is in my head a bumblebee speaking. (from Le Cornet à dés, 1917)
Glit Lit # 13 is dedicated to Linda Braasch, moon lover and firestarter
In memory of Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
–Maureen Seaton, August 31, 2012
Ma and I are taking a leave of abstinence. She’s going to Hawaii on a private jet with caviar smoothies and gold plated inlaid ivory toilet seats and I’m going to Guam (pronounced Gu-Am! by ma). Not sure what we’re going to do with Bobo the Mutt. He is torn between chewing ma’s sock, my red sneakers and a roll of toilet paper. He’ll probably stay home and take care of the house and the mouse that keeps crawling around at night scaring me when I’m trying to sleep. When we return from vacation, ma and I will rejoin the real world again. The world where war and poverty, famine and underfunded healthcare systems, pollution and drag queens plague our planetary conundrum. Or eardrum.
“The poet is a monarch of the clouds…” (Robert Hass)
Clouds rule at high altitudes, seducing us with their dew points and their outpourings. (Like poets.) They glow, grow noses, morph into steeds, give good sky, move a mile or so to the East, give it again. They’ve been a major poetic accessory since way B.C.—if you consider Genesis and, certainly, Virgil. They’re omnipresent, enigmatic, drop-dead gorgeous, and they seem to charm the metaphors right out of us.
“A cloud made of dust and memos and skin muscled across Manhattan.” (Bob Hicok, “Full Flight”)
“Clouds file through the dark like prisoners through an endless yard.”(Susan Stewart, from “Four Questions Regarding the Dreams of Animals”)
Poets love clouds, yes they do. And readers love those cloud-loving poets. (See Wordsworth, who wandered lonely as one in 1804, with over 3,450,000 Google hits.) You might say clouds belong to poets. And vice versa. Orbed clouds, eddying clouds, dusky clouds, uptossed clouds, dark clouds, black clouds, white clouds, pink clouds, gray clouds, creeping clouds, rainless clouds, disagreeable clouds, mythological clouds, monumental clouds, anatomical clouds, creature–filled clouds, and that old puff-ball “puzzle of fish-rib clouds…” (Albert Goldbarth, from “Stonehenge”)
“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper…
-Thich Nhat Hanh
That’s the famous epigraph from Sandra Cisneros’ famous poem, “Cloud,” and this is its first stanza:
Before you became a cloud, you were an ocean, roiled and
murmuring like a mouth. You were the shadows of a cloud cross-
ing over a field of tulips. You were the tears of a man who cried
into a plaid handkerchief. You were the sky without a hat. Your
heart puffed and flowered like sheets drying on a line.
(Sandra Cisneros, from Loose Woman, Vintage, 1995)
Thousands of poets over thousands of years have insistently inserted a cloud, nube, 云, nuage, nuvem, nuvola, into the titles of their collections and poems.
Others have chosen to sneak a lone cloud into a situation full of images.
sonnenizio on a line from Jean Cassou
If I drink at your sky it is because
I fold into a paper doll. Thirst is second
nature to me. Items, like xeroxed copies
of Apollinaire’s secret poems and an eyeliner
I’ve fished from the lake, replace
the ivory keys missing on the piano.
Grass in my hair identifies with the cat pawing
its face before the moon. I cut out
irises from your clouds and pin them
to sleep beside the ibis tablecloth.
A contrail’s itinerary lances my mouth like licorice.
I skin the elms, a drought of sorts, to read
the ice crystals on your stars. Wind, strumming
the clothesline, lifts the hem of my idle skirt.
Appeared originally in Juked #6 and Leafscape (http://www.leafscape.org/aang/). Used with permission of the author.
…Without a cloud there will be no water; without water, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, you cannot make paper. So the cloud is in here. The existence of this page is dependent on the existence of a cloud. (from Peace Is Every Step, Bantam, 1991)
Thich Nhat Hanh made this lovely claim for interconnectedness in the early 1990s. I got my first computer around the same time. Now it’s 2012. Many poets are still peaceniks. And some of them have been using screens instead of trees since they were 4 years old. “Paper?” You can hear my computer laughing as it purrs in my lap. “What’s that, darling, what’s paper?”
Furthermore,” my computer may someday query, perhaps with tongue-in-cheek, perhaps not, “what’s cumulonimbus?”
I asked a bevy of poets recently how they make use of “cloud computing,” that brilliant store-your-big-data idea some of us have embraced and some are trying to ignore, along with polar ice, hormonal shifts, and December 21. “If you’ve ever used a cloud or if you’ve got an opinion on clouds,” I asked them, “would you mind passing it along to me?” Here’s what they said, which, as you can see, was swiftly turned into a cloud:
In reality, most of the poets I queried joyfully sidestepped or embraced the cloud issue, giving it their own poetic spin. Two told of losing entire pieces of their lives to the cursed cloud (funnel?). One already has a whopping case of “nephotechnophobia” (fear of cloud technology). And one adapted a chunk of information on privacy (piracy?) from Wikipedia.
companies hosting the cloud services control communication and data stored between the secret NSA with AT&T and Verizon 10 million phone calls between American citizens powers to telecommunication complicate privacy of data customer or tenant data may not remain on the same system legal concerns over jurisdiction provide such as Amazon deploying local infrastructure and allowing customers to select “availability zones” [the service provider at any point in time may access accidentally or deliberately alter or even delete some the service provider at any point in time may access accidentally or deliberately alter or even delete
Here’s my favorite scene with a cautionary line from “How It All Works,” which was the cutest and shortest instructive video I could find for poets and others who are not and never plan to be big businesses:
There are plenty of reasons to be scared of the cloud too, but for now you decide to trust the cloud as backup… (2009)
I can hear something laughing. My computer again? That cumulonimbus floating by my window in the shape of a clown nose and glasses?
“I would dive from it—a horse at the fair, the pool below looming larger with every passing second.” (Holly Iglesias)
“…a cloud, full of poems, that is mine all mine.” (cin salach)
“The poem I used to write, mean to write, simply have to back up, surely need to back off, the poem I woke up on the laptop but needs to get dressed on my desktop…the words like a kite, the string in my clattering keyboard hands.” (Alice George)
Poets are natural skeptics, it’s true, but also, often, so preternaturally absorbed in the elegances and peculiarities of life—the sundry and minutiae—we might miss the immense storage facilities popping up like the crops that used to grow around the globe. As our wise spokespoet, Mia Leonin, has stated: “I was introduced to the cloud as an expansive zone that can ‘hold all of my stuff.’ I was immediately enchanted and suspicious.”
I’d have to be really quick
to describe clouds—
a split second’s enough
for them to start being something else.
they don’t repeat a single
shape, shade, pose, arrangement.
Unburdened by memory of any kind,
they float easily over the facts.
What on earth could they bear witness to?
They scatter whenever something happens.
Compared to clouds,
life rests on solid ground,
practically permanent, almost eternal.
Next to clouds
even a stone seems like a brother,
someone you can trust,
while they’re just distant, flighty cousins.
Let people exist if they want,
and then die, one after another:
clouds simply don’t care
what they’re up to
And so their haughty fleet
cruises smoothly over your whole life
and mine, still incomplete.
They aren’t obliged to vanish when we’re gone.
They don’t have to be seen while sailing on.
WISŁAWA SZYMBORSKA (1923-2012)
Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh.)
Thanks to my cloud associates in this Glit Lit piece: Samuel Ace, Neil de la Flor, Alice George, Holly Iglesias, Mia Leonin, cin salach, & Terese Svoboda. Thanks also to my original cloud collaborators, Suzanne Cohan-Lange and Niki Nolin, without whom I’d still have my head in one. (And bless the poets who had little or no idea what I was talking about.)
“Why I Don’t Trust the Cloud,” By Kenneth Goldsmith
“Weird Cloud Fell from the Sky:” 3:57 mins.
“OMG!” A face appears in the clouds (if you’re patient): 2:50 mins.
“Both Sides Now,” Joni Mitchell live, 1970: 3:38 mins.
–Maureen Seaton, May 29, 2012
It’s true. Ma and I raised $957 for Florida AIDS Walk 2012. We didn’t win a certificate of authenticity though, but we don’t mind, because we are already as authentic as Barbie & Ken. When we were at the walk, the guy on stage said that for every $1,000 raised 10 people could be tested for HIV for free. Ma clapped her hands and jumped up and down like that crazy puppet in that Sia song: “Clap Your Hands”.
Ma clapped her hands until the woman next to us wearing a propeller hat told her to calm down.
That’s not a woman, I told ma. But she didn’t care. I don’t discriminate, ma said, so she took the propeller hat then propelled the woman about 7 feet before the police came and told ma to settle down. Ma did settle down and apologized for her instability. It’s a charity, the policeman said. No need to kick ass today.
After the incident with the cops, ma decided to join the South Florida Boys of Leather. Even though ma wore spandex to the walk, the Boys of Leather welcomed her with open arms. She got bored then decided to hang out with the rabbi from Temple Beth El of Hollywood. She kept asking the rabbi for Beth, but he didn’t understand what she was talking about so he suggested she seek psychotherapy and stay out of the sun. Beth must be popular, ma said. She is, I told her. She is.
I told ma to chill because we already kicked some ass by raising so much money in just a few days. Let’s go to Paris now, ma said. I had to explain to ma that the money we raised wasn’t for us. It was for the foundations that provide healthcare services, educational support, love and peace of mind for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS regardless of their ability to pay. Ma looked disappointed, but that’s just her funny face all screwed up and sideways.
Anyway, we walked 5 kilometers and ma couldn’t help but think of Johnnie Walker. I’m so thirsty, she said over and over again until someone gave her a Sprite.We ran into some friends, but no one got hurt. I thought ma’s makeup was a bit too much, however the bullhorn blended well with her big mouth and ruby red forehead gem. You look fantastic, ma, I told her just so she wouldn’t feel too self-unconscious.
After the walk, we got some beers and celebrated our victory over indifference. It’s been a long time since we’ve been fighting this battle with HIV/AIDS and it seems like a never ending battle, but just like the Never Ending Story everything comes to an end. In real life, that end is just something we have to work hard for because the solution to the problems that inhabit our lives won’t fix themselves. Ma and I helped a little toward that final fix. When it happens, who knows? But it will. So, we celebrated life and the love that each person at the walk represented. We celebrated Jesus and the way he inspires us to be more like him instead of the pope. We celebrated the weather and the meatball food truck. We even celebrated the Port-a-Potties which saved ma from wetting herself. Again.Just as we were about the cross the finish line.
You can still make a difference here.