stronger

the sensations you are feeling in you body right now?
alyssa, the best yoga teacher in san diego ever says
as she circles slowly around our mats
while we hang out in some bound lunge or balance in standing splits or dancer pose
the burn rising out of our bones
shaky and going to our breath when there is nothing else to hold us there
that is you getting stronger.

teaching moment #89349582034

i don’t think there’s a way i can get this moment across without straightup storytelling, so i won’t try:i teach two discussion sections. one meets from 1-1:50 and one meets from 2-2:50. for the last 15 minutes or so of my 1pm class, the discussion got heated. not the students debating or arguing each other, but unpacking/breaking down what went down in lecture two days ago (having to do with racism, privilege, power, codeswitching). this is delightful on several levels. (1. did you ever notice how an entire group can have a personality? that’s how i feel about classes. and this class had a quiet/gotta pull teeth to get it to talk personality. so the delight on this level is that they’re talking! 2. not only are they talking, but they’re making well articulated points). those students leave at the end of class and the students of the next discussion section trickle in… two of the students who have just walked in talk about how stuffy it is in the room (i have been teaching in this room for 15 weeks and have yet to hear someone say it’s stuffy). i notice i’m warm/feeling the stuffiness myself. i can’t help but think that the new students noticing this are obviously picking up on an energy that was left behind from the heated conversation that took place here minutes ago. (how badass is that? for the intensity of ideas and opinions of ideas raising the temperature, the tone of the room??? especially when the critical look the students are giving these ideas are breaking down racism, systems of power and privilege.) so we propped the garbage can in between the doorframe and door and let the cool hallway air leak in.

because they won’t give themselves over to a world they don’t believe in

news from the water world:

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Australia is battling flooding in two states, with the inundated Queensland city of Bundaberg at the heart of the crisis. bbc news, day in pictures

plus,
it’s hard to follow what’s happening in egypt right now, but it might be appropriate to say the shit’s going down. again. (which sounds too callous and casual for people losing lives in the street because they won’t give themselves over to a world they don’t believe in… a world without dignity.)

reuters_egypt_protest_28Jan13-975x717

 

Riot policemen beat a protester opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, during clashes along Qasr Al Nil bridge, which leads to Tahrir Square in Cairo. (Reuters)

 

 

 

ap_egypt_protest_24Jan13-975x648

Egyptian protesters try to tear down a cement wall built to prevent them from reaching parliament and the Cabinet building near Tahrir Square in Cairo. (AP)

egypt, it feels like a lie for me to say we are with you when i can hardly muster enough focus to be with myself
but i am
we are

_______

while i hand over the garlic
lia and i laugh
about being miniaturists
even though both of us are
no matter how amatuer
_______

night ride east
under rising papermoon
for the first time i notice
the grass/twigs of a birdnest
sticking out from the the streetlight
(in the compartment for the yellow light)
at 8th and university

 

freud’s laptop

at some point we begin to laugh about the difference between a photographer who would say oh, stand in front of that, i need to get a shot of in that light and a photographer who takes one picture a week

vistas i call them viewpoints
well, you’re the writer here he says

what drives you, like the perfect shot drives the ‘real’ photographer?
ideas.

taking the leash signs as a clue, we follow a path to a lookout point from where i say look! you can see the mountainy things and the ocean at the same time the sky opens and closes sending sun down in patches to illuminate what was once a river valley – now a string of malls, now land dug away at in tiers and bordered by yellow machines, now a highway

_______

my laptop is from 2008 which is nearly ancient in computer years honna says from carbondale illinois and we can’t tell whose machine it is, but our faces our being impressionistic-ized/pixelated, our sound coming in and out, our faces frozen in motion

and somehow the joke of the night is that honna is actually on freud’s computer.
and i am on ceasar’s (since mine is older… 2007).
i bet ‘buttsex’ was the name of freud’s hard drive i say
and ceasar’s screensaver would be an image of a calendar with the 15th of march circled frantically
i wonder if people would pay extra money (or less, i guess, depending on who they were) honna says if i listed my computer (while selling it) as freud’s computer
and then put in very tiny text at the bottom of the ad that this is just a skype joke between my friend frannie and i

glowing green

the downside: i didn’t get any work done today towards the already overdue (by 8 weeks or so) paper/project
the upside: the smell of rain in the streets, the way the houses in the neighborhood look a little more familiar under a grey sky and with yards/plants glowing green and wet, the smiles and spanish at the city heights farmers market, lenore’s walked-out sprawled body on the hardwood floor, watching the cloud roll in so that our house, the street, the city is in it, waiting for the 7 under the bridge that connects the cactus garden to the prado water fountain, the film that – if watching it didn’t make you cry, listening to the humans in the audience afterwords would, the film that reveals (amongst a million things about rape in the u.s. military) how the u.s. military considers rape an occupational hazard, wiping fog off the inside of a bus window on the ride home (north, then east) where kaya says what bums her out about being sick: i just wanna party

catch our breaths at corners and huddle

hand to ceiling
where a small line i never noticed before
weeps rooftop water
onto bedframe and mattress
they are small slow drops
but still enough to elicit panic words 

_______

ricebreadtoast peanut butter and jelly in hand while william and i
detour around puddles
catch our breaths at corners
and huddle under shelter
where others also huddle and wait

_______

you see a three foot wave
and you say ‘naw
i want the 10 foot, the 12 foot
eduardo says
you are a revolutionary

_______

arm in arm
i teach william the monkies walk
towards the #2 line bus stop
what felt like rain to avoid earlier
now feels like rain to offer our hands to
and everything growing around us spiraling out to meet it

_______

we strategize with plantain chips in our palms and light sabers and desert adobe in the background

_______

seriality
ben says
and calls it a book
and says something about when it’s published
he talks about the opening poem
as a guide
and the closing poem a bow (as in: what one does at the end of the performance)
and when he suggests a disappearing of the titles
it makes sense
and when i mention shuffling in the unnamed phenomenon
it seems like, if chosen right, this book could pull it off

_______

waiting for the 1
at 30something and el cajon
i entertain urban hitchhiking
minutes before rene and jesse pull up and tell me to get in, fool
this is the kind of chance, this running into people
that makes a city feel like i live in it
rather than just passing through

_______

incomplete, but a detail nonetheless:
the lowering of lake washington
(in currently-named seattle)
by eight feet
to build a ship canal
and the native tribes that died out
as a result

in progress

i questioned whether or not to post this sneak peek (since it is not fully formed, but close). it’s about completion/progress. i’d rather not reveal until complete, but i want the satisfaction of saying look what i did bad enough that i’m willing to post this in its underconstruction-ness. (it’s like deciding it’s ok to sit down and eat even though all the dishes from cooking the meal aren’t clean yet.) so welcome, welcome to my dishpiled sink. don’t worry about that mess, though, just feast.

more to come, but the back story is that i turned this poem into a zine and then took it on tour last  summer. while it was delightful to share the poem in different places, what was even more delightful was passing out notecards to the people in the audience and asking them to contribute their own sentence, phrase or paragraph addressed to every human in the world (suggested by the phrase dear beloveds) and this sneak peek is dedicated to sharing what i collected along the way.  hopefully, it will also be a place to gather new contributions (don’t be shy, ya’ll). scanning each card in separately and posting each one separately is laborious, so i don’t know when i’ll get every single contribution up and when i’ll start and complete the ‘about’ page, but hopefully i will. (anyone out there wanna be my personal assistant? )

that tour page is also in progress of slowly being caught up on. ah, the affliction of the obsessive documentarian.

speaking of documentaries, liz and i went to this film tonight as part of the human rights watch film festival at the museum of photographic arts in balboa park. if you ever get a chance to see it, you must. (uganda, where a bill is in the works that will punish homosexuality by hanging. it is not only uganda though, take a look at lgbtqi rights by country/territory here.)

may the stars cast their glitterdust down onto the crown of your head. may you be safe and alive. may you be shaken nearly out of your body by some kind of sharp and radiant beauty today.

the light i was made of

there is a song with a banjo about the shapes a body makes
it is playing
now
which is 1am
someone is playing the brushes on the drums
and because it is happening right now it is the only thing i want to write about

because even though this morning’s warm air
was something else
(sky all gray and thick like it never is in this city
suggesting something like rain all day
but instead, it simply blanketed itself
over groves of eucalyptus trees
layed itself across the bay)

sidenote:
ever since i was told last year about eucalyptus trees
(about their invasivness and non nativeness and how the oils or something in the leaves
when they fall to the ground
keep anything else from growing there)
yes
ever since i was told about eucalyptus trees
i cannot help but think of them as colonizers
colonizertrees

even though this morning’s warm air was something else
the headline North Korea says it is proceeding with plans for a third nuclear test
is really something else

and then the song about ghosts
backed by the guitar might as well be a banjo
how that song will always be playing on a 2lane highway north of herebut only the girl angled into the middle seat, knee hitting stickshift, will hear

(In a statement carried by KCNA news agency, the top military body said the “high-level nuclear test” and more long-range rocket launches were aimed at its “arch-enemy”, the US.)

really, you are all alone in your work
kaya said last week over a kale smoothie
in reference to this phenomenon called gradschool
and how it changes everything
to hear it from someone else’s mouth
where mentorship looks like
a professor who says
well,  you wouldn’t want to overburden the people on your ocmmittee
when i dare to suggest compiling a manuscript that reflects/charts my progress since being in the program
rather than a manuscript that barely exceeds the required 60 pages
mentorship a myth
how different it was to be witnessed

in another time
when others saw the light i was made of
how i draw deep from the well of myself

(For several months now, analysts have spotted tunnelling and earth-moving operations inside North Korea which they say seem similar to preparations ahead of the country’s previous tests.

The confirmation today, though, contained an added detail: North Korea’s Defence Commission described the upcoming test as “high-level” – a possible indication that the country is planning to test its new, uranium-based nuclear programme for the first time.)

flight/fight

there is a kind of pride i carry away from the intersection
in response to  my flight/fight instinct kicking in
(calling out STOP!!!!!!!!!!!! as a white truck pulled forward into the intersection i was biking through in a way that suggested that the driver never saw me)
because sometimes i fear i don’t have it
sometimes i fear i will not find my voice
before the metal meets my frame