So Much Remnants

Saturday 6

Creativity is our only true revenge. Being creative is the revenge against all the bastards trying to break the spirit of our fellow humans. We will meet it all, together, and no other way. Fear is not an option, is not even capable when we meet it all, together.

– CA Conrad

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A lot of the thinking at the recent Trans & Genderqueer Poetry Symposium felt so tinged by happiness, so stained with the joy at (finally) having a space for trans and genderqueer poetics. Joy Ladin standing at the podium on top of the roof of Casa Libre taking us through her history, her transition, her sadness, her God, her poems. Samuel Ace doing a similar performance of pre- and post-transition, a startling narrativity, a longing to trace the pathways that had brought us to that courtyard in Tucson. The poetry written in so many faces.

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We are so much remnants or the reactions to those remnants.

Our work as poets must defy agreement.

How to build community beyond agreement? Beyond safety?

The borders we wrap ourselves around for comfort or safety: fort building, locking doors, keeping enemies at bay.

How do these protections hold us back?

– Scraps of my notes from “some of the glories sigh for prophets (excavating false grammars and unnatural borders),” a workshop by Samuel Ace at Troubling Tucson+

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I think it’s the danger that moves us, not safety.

– Eileen Myles’ poetic statement in Troubling the Line

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The inevitable nostalgia of coming home. When home is not what is remembered as home. That gap.

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pig says to Frank

“this fence keeps you in your world”
Frank says to pig
“this fence keeps you in your world”

pig says to Frank
“this fence keeps you in your world”
Frank says to pig
“this fence keeps you in your world”
pig says to Frank
“this fence keeps you in your world”

– CA Conrad in The Book of Frank

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Let me always be embarrassed.

– Samuel Ace*

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Realizing the grand difference between trying to make a community space, a safe space and making any other kind of space.

You’re willing to speak with one another.
Willing to thank someone for triggering you.
Willing to fail to create a safe space.

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I emailed some of the [out of nothing] writers a few posts back for their reflections on my my posts. And as I wrote about previously, I got a response from Andrew Choate. I also received a brief email from Saehee Cho who said that these posts make her feel

wandering and a little aching.

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There is no answer, only process moment to moment.

– Trace Petersen in No Gender

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The comments are closed on these posts, but if you email me at plujo7 at gmail dot com I am happy to continue the conversation. If you email me, I might use some of your words on the blog though.

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Bharat – capacity
Jiva – vital

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Friday 11

Photo by Samuel Ace

One of the big reasons I decided I had to go to Tucson was because I wanted to see CA Conrad. And not in some huge corporate hotel conference setting with 60,000 other people. The first time I heard CA, a friend, Lester Robles (who has some gorgeous poems on Dusie’s Issue 14), read his poetry to me out loud in San Diego. And I’d read his poetry since then out loud to friends. I’d watched online videos. And even taught his (soma)tic exercises in a community based workshop in Houston, called Copy Paste in 2011.

I wanted to be around his raucous, on-edge energy. Because he flies in the face of the good and the well-behaved. Because he isn’t afraid to speak out and speak back. Tirades against the killing of innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq and Yemen and Pakistan and the list goes on. In the face of a genocidal present and a more hollow future, he doesn’t behave properly. Makes an art out of behaving improperly. Makes poetry out of behaving improperly. What is proper anyway?

Proper: learning the rules of rooms where power is divided unequally, learning the language to use so as not to offend the hierarchies, the ways to contain the rage or the anger or the depression or the emotion.

And then comes CA with his painted nails, his long hair (growing out as a protest against U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan), his love of chairs and his insistence on poetry as an avenue for creative resistance. He makes jokes, talks back, talks out of turn, talks in a river of words. Designs (soma)tic exercises accompanied by the miraculous poems that result from the torrents of notes he takes during the exercises.

The whole trip was worth it to find out a simple fact: that CA Conrad prints out the torrents of notes arising out of a (soma)tic exercise and then he highlights, underlines, erases, cuts, and re-makes them to find the poems somewhere in those notes.

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maybe a speechless idiot idol, feeling the
return, returns to the flesh, something sent
through the gate returns hollow, broke,
expansive, turned from no longer mind to
almost human.

– kari edwards

 

 

A trailer for the next post: Expanding out from the thinking I’ve been doing so far, I’m going to think about the new translation of Heriberto Yépez’s The Empire of Neomemory from ChainLinks. Another writer who has recently ended up thinking his way into the benefits of forgetting and dying as he digs into the life and poetry of Charles Olson, as it reflects the function of USAmerican experimental poetics within the Empire. Stay tuned.

 

 

* I thought this was a line from a Samuel Ace poem I heard in Tucson. But now I’ve Internet searched it and it also appears to be a line by Jenny Boully. Not sure of its provenance exactly. But I love it.



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