13 November 2006

Going to the grocery store to buy salty yogurt drink and dates to break the day's fast, a grocery store at the top of a mountain in the middle of the jungle on a Thursday afternoon, nearly impossible to describe precisely as I am in a kind of desert now. A likely place for dates. To go from desert to jungle I will need a lot of water, millennia, and continental shifts. Also, I will need money and time off.

I can imagine an oasis but not with much detail: water, a spring, a wadi and some date trees, an unruly camel who breaks away from a caravan to chase me out of the oasis. I look back and see the camel's neck stretching out. It bites me on the shoulder, leaving a camel-bite shaped blue and purple bruise which is now yellow and brown.

So I'm back in the desert imagining airplanes. One comes but does not land. Instead, women and men dressed in purple robes parachute out of the plan and run towards the oasis. The ill-humored camel at the threshold bites a few and I want to return to the oasis to find them so that we may sit under date palms with our feet in the wadi and compare camel-bite bruises.

It rains and the wadi floods and I paddle down it in a canoe, listening to operas on a waterproof gramophone. On the way to the ocean I pick up several women and men dressed in purple robes. One woman also has a camel bite and we talk about what that's like. The initial shock, how we didn't know camels could run so fast or bite so hard.

Because there are no stars it is night and there is no rain; we've reached the ocean and all the other women and men are gone except for the other woman with the camel bite. We won't make it across the ocean and we don't know where the nearest jungle is. We throw the gramophone overboard and stay close to shore. A reef forms around the gramophone, so we assume we are close to the equator and close to a jungle.

I put my right hand in the water and am stung by a jellyfish. My hand swells to two-and-a-half times its size and I weep and weep. My companion says "hush hush." The water is warm but where is the jungle?

Ea shows up and the water boils. Or maybe Tiamat comes--I'd rather a goddess than a god in this story, but she's usually watery and depersonalized, or else she's a bloated dragon, and anyway, one of her grandchildren stood upon her hinder parts, smashed her head in with a club, cut open her veins, and then had the north wind carry away her blood to secret places. So Tiamat can't come and I don't trust her children, much, except for Ea with his love of beer and penchant for incestuous affairs. Perhaps we should stop telling each other about ourselves.

First time goes and then our sense of it. Landscapes shift but look the same, transient scapes and disappearances. An impossible unduality not in but is, where burial and banishment are a knack for death, entertainment, and storytelling--I kept throwing the beetle away from my bag. Unless we are here for some kind of visionary experience, prefabricated cities will appear. There is no border or gate to guard, no bridge, no leaving to follow the voice of your lover, no never coming home.

First doubt comes and then our sense of it. An inability to bow before kings, the ability to lead armies and argue over how to rank elements of which we are made. An arbitrary request. "Get thee out of it," we might say. We might plead for clemency; wish to avoid being cast anywhere. Speak of me and I will know you are speaking of me, the sense of self before framework. The story is this: We went up then down. Or else we just went.
Look to time alone to be alone
so that we can be
alone and not have to tell
you about it or
withhold information.

If we attract what we're thinking about then we'd have to think clearly: "I'd like to be friends with the tall woman who can stand on her hands."

I now understand why abrupt departures in the midst of conversation are detrimental to conversation.


Surely my mother did not sell Tupperwear.


Your friends are dying. Don't you care?

Thanks for bringing that up, asshole.

10 October 2006

We are like angels, kind of. But we die. And eat. Also, we sometimes marry and have children. Perhaps you imagine us as resentful older sisters and brothers. Perhaps we are angry for legitimate reasons—it’s important to imagine a time when we were all working together cooperatively to churn the cosmic ocean and produce the Elixir of Immortality, I suppose. Or else we can concentrate on the remote possibility of being reborn as a saint.

09 October 2006

having had it several times the sunheat on my
right shoulder and forearm being designed
desensitized grilled there’s a courtyard and parrots in the design district
wrought iron natural oddities of nature marketing find something
to tie the bike to to sit and eat in frontlong garden shade
and doorknobs to go


lizards not bats no adults
private school students and
people going north


swooning—no going to the UN but
never believed anything could be saved
love is still a good idea “God willing
you will find a wife” g-d willing in English
smile officers do and strip club bouncers do
nearly no one going is


polluted lagoons are pretty egrets don’t avoid them


stuckout limb complicated telephone poll series cut it off
what can I do / why go home in my body are biles—yours, too
track by the track and difficult fences self in everyone


“the new wheels are about an 18th of an inch
too long
and the little
snappy rings don’t work “I don’t really need the top hats


something is slow no possibility to assess what the data something about
inbetween and among that doesn’t account
there’s backbend eat review fix file and fillout especially
one says to one we are negative too often and houseboats farms lofts groves


I lack content.

What about point of view in Moby Dick.

I cannot print labels correctly.

People come through the weapons testing zone.

My body adjusts it does and must and it is not a blessing. Everything that happens is not a blessing.

I wanted to learn about food and rituals associated with eating. They knew about these things so I spoke with them.


Weird and normal are tiring. Someone is cooking rice. The desk chair at the yoga center is rigid and uncomfortable. “It takes spiritual discipline to get up at 3 in the morning,” he says, “I know.” Lean in. I want to be obvious: Warhol. Desensitization. The fact that I will never go to Oman again and I’ve never been. I miss the fear of being attacked by people I love. Searching for shared context but we blow it. A runner passes me running. Says, “are we there yet?”


You will die but not before we see you naked.


town squares recent hauntings the imperial valley is looking forward to a temperature of a hundred and one one day the damn blew up again we blew it up and we want you and them to come to us


it’s the getting out of the house that helped
not the Wal-Mart I mean it wasn’t that specific
it was the getting away from abuse that helped
not the things I say I like my neighbors but have nothing
to say to them


flip flops in the jungle comfortable anywhere but no good for leeches it rained and the river was brown and there was mud in the river and on the road the road was mud and the river went over the road we walked or drove a white pickup truck it was fun the main character had so much fun and was so happy she looked for rocks with her father it was a family moment and she rubbed mud all over her body and stood in the sun until it was gray at that time the sun came out


don’t want to visit because


militated improvident trips to the grocery store tetchy car trips a charry attempt to invite a new friend to dinner alone in the mountains under roofs sough with rain and so on rain as if it were linked together in a series an order of things it’s a good idea to have your characters talk to other people


can’t imagine anything except jumping into a pool of edible packing peanuts or
rectangular styrofoam chunks in shakes of grey and blue


When I can’t write I think of chickens. I think, “I can’t imagine not sharing my life with this machine.” I can’t write about autumn. My cuticles are dry. They are not sexy. Are they sexy?


In Haifa I ate many dates and persimmons and various sorts of cheese. Yesterday I bought some dates and will eat one each day until there are no more of them. I think a lot about eating dates in Oman. It’s Ramadan and my friends are breaking fast with dates. I wore a shirt today that is cut too low for teaching. I remember the names of the tragic students first. We visited the museum and saw all the taxedermied animals.


organized wife dinner party carpet cleaner car seat hardwood car shower brunch with friends phone calls money Persian carpet dusting


try to get us off the street during the end of the world
off it people are exchanging bodies on purpose
there are people saving other people and exchanging bodies
there’s a brief attempt at reggae music people must find
a way to do things or all will be lost things actions
movement glue all of it in the meantime create
sustainable industries and products other than soap and coffee
the heart decipher futuristic pictographs that are more complex
than pictographs the fast food is appealing as long as it is abstract
“This is concrete,” I say, holding up a magenta dry-erase marker.
“If I threw it at you, you could catch it.”


The heat is off in a gorgeous loft in Istanbul and we are there together.


Then, we walked through the wedding party in our bathing suits.


after practicing asceticism we practiced asceticism made verse looked at the moon and the stars and the dirt we did not ignore water but we looked at other things first


27 June 2006

I don't know what
want to drink
eat dinner. Please
tell me what to do
--be a better
lazy feminist.
The kitchen is
all wrong. Can hear
your watch ticking two
blocks away, smell
the gas from the stove.


Obviously you prefer
your friends to be
self absorbed.


Do you remember
when that car hit
you in Beijing?
A huge gash on
your achillies?
It's very sexy.


Did you write that at the pizza place?


Other poets have written
about this. I'm reading
them. Obviously.


He said, "I like the word continuum."


Not on a subtle
plane today, not
with extraordinary
powers, not fully
mature or invoked.

Various creepers.
Imobile things.

Besmeared with


Chick Corea. Chick's Natural Roasted Chicken. It was funny.


Fragile. How
Sadness is only lonliness with
or without others.

Grey-blue. Trite, I know.

That kid again, in his
plastic toy car.

On the train from Shanghai
to Huang Shan that man
sat up all night, smoking.

We took his bunk,
slept heads to feet,
flipped like fish,
tried to speak French
in the morning but
couldn't, so we went
back to Chinese.

I'm cold and nauseous.
Mark reminds me he
was ill our first night here.


Stinky the Cat leads
a somewhat lonely, vocal
life outdoors. Unlike Cage,
he's not happy about
his feelings. Contract,
release, etc, then
complain about being
pushed around. Wetland
from dam break, agricultural
run-off. Something to be saved,
to walk while keeping arms
perfectly straight.

Anthropomorhic strippers
on a dance floor dance across
the stage, shedding metalic parts.
Maybe they lurch. Spontineity
as animal is a masculine thing
to say, I think, but mostly
I'm angry at my failed attempts
to be a suburban female flaneur.


The birds fly under the awning,
over our heads. We like it.


He said: "Where I come from, people aren't so concerned about age difference," and then he began to talk about the path to healing. "I'm a healer," he said. "I heal people with my hands." We were in a parking lot near a bank and a takeout Chinese resturant.


No, I haven't read Raymond Roussel's Impressions of Africa.


Neither is.


A lesson in impersonality. My lesson in impersonality. I hate adagios. Also, a permanent desk slouch.


A tutu is never a trend.

23 May 2006

Ok, I promised Kevin R. Hollo that I'd write something about my "early experiences in the acquisition of any sort of dance knowledge." And I will write you, Kevin, separately, but since this is connected to my thinking on gestural memory, I thought I'd try and start here.

I have no memory of the first time I danced, or moved in a way that might be considered dancing. I don't even remember my first ballet class. Oh, wait, I'm lying. I don't remember ballet, but I remember taking some kind of creative movement class in the upstairs of a fabulous old building on Main Street, in Sedgwick, Maine--one right on the Benjamin river. One part of a dance involved cradling our arms and making a movement that was like rocking a baby to sleep. Maybe I was six, or seven? I don't think there was any music--we sang or chanted some kind of a poem/song that went with our movements.

I probably remember the "rocking the baby" movement because it's one I would have already known in some form.

I don't think the class lasted more than a few weeks one summer. Our teacher was a slightly plump, "earthy" looking woman in her 30s or 40s--though who knows how old she was, really. She was older than me and seemed motherly. My own mother was in her early 30s at the time, so this woman could have been the same age as my mom.

What I loved most about the class was the dance space. Every town on the Blue Hill peninsula has an old town hall, usually with a large meeting/dance hall and a stage. The room we danced in was like that. Maybe it was an old town hall. Old wood floors: slippery, dusty, full of splinters (but good for turns), light and ocean air coming in through the windows. Exposed beams in the ceiling.

I just remembered this now. Before I was going to talk about music. I have very very early memories of singing and being sung to. Mom singing lullabys or asking me to sing, Dad singing and playing guitar. One day I may coax my father to either write his songs down, or do a low tech recording. There are a few recordings of me when I'm five or so singing--sometimes I'm singing a song I actually learned, but often I'm just making stuff up, or telling a story about what I did last week, etc. As I got a bit older, singing was something I'd do while walking, a way of processing information.

As a dancer, my musical phrasing and use of space is certainly what I'm best at. I'm not flexible, and wasn't even when I was younger. So, my early knowledge of dance then, would be based in two things--sound and space. The whole idea that dancing can be social, something you do with another person, came much later.

Of course, I danced with my Dad while standing on his feet--this has to be a common little girl experience.

22 May 2006

This is a cheap poem about being a man in the woods. Suddenly, I experience a very deep epiphany. Or else, this is a poem about being a woman in the woods, alone, thinking about men. Or else I'm feeling my innate, womanly connection to nature, especially the earth and the moon. This poem is terrible. It is a tired poem. In Carlsbad, everyone says "namaste" to the teacher after class. In Washington, DC, only a few people mumble it, very privately. Actually, there are people in Washington, DC who say "namaste," but I didn't practice with them. A woman in Whole Foods once greeted me by saying "namaste!" I was smelling tomatoes at the time, and looked at her with a dazed expression. She pointed to my yoga bag. I smiled and nodded my head stupidly. I don't feel blessed by my womanly connection to nature, nor by my manly ephiphanies in the woods. I don't believe in "blessed," but I believe in other things. There are probably people in Carlsbad who do not say "namaste after class." No one has said it to me on the street though on the whole people are eager to greet and engage in small talk. It's important, I suppose, to accept that some thing are true and real. I don't want to be true and real, but I belive in other things that might be. The sunset is beautiful, obviously. I imagine watching myself eat a fish taco in my large sunglasses, the wind blowing my hair into the salsa, the blue of the water and the blue of the sky looking clear and fake.

17 May 2006

More thoughts on memory, body, etc. Jessica asked about:

"Is that true? What about investigations into Alzheimers? Or--the loss of normal memory? Also into how one learns--that's research into memory."

There's certainly been work done on different ways of learning.... It might have to do with the way the research is classified--"gestural" or "bodily" are terms most frequently used with PTSD. Surprise.

And her idea that:

"memory is arche-writing. arche-writing is violent. violence is traumatic. thus all memory is traumatic."

Yes. Violence and pain play an important role in subject formation (I'm more up on my psychoanalytic theory than Derrida). Actually, I find it helpful to go back to Freud when thinking about actual bodies and how they might connect to language and subjects. He talks a lot about how physical pain helps us become aware, literaly, of where our bodies begin and end.


This is kind of gross, but I remember once asking my mother if it would hurt if I peeled off a piece of dry skin and then bit it. I wasn't sure if I would still be able to feel the skin when it was detatched from my body.

14 May 2006

Guilt and identification are not the
same thing. Either way, I’m not
going to shoot you. Excuse me,
I have something to take care
of. Thinking about this makes me
hunch my shoulders up above
my ears. We were white people
at a party. It wouldn’t be funny
without context. There was
common ground, but we don’t
know any of the same people and
you kept making paranoid statements
about your relationship to
my profession. “It was all beautifully vague, “
I later told my friend. It’s spring,
and there’re a lot of dead animals on the road.

11 May 2006

I've been editing editing editing. And working on some fiction-prose stuff. And making picures. So not so many poems, unless the fiction-prose things are poems. Or the pictures are.

Lots of discussions with friends and with Mark about bodies and space. It's not a new topic but new to me. Gestural Memory, kinetic memory--most of what I can find to read on these subjects is focused on how bodies react to trauma. Psychophysiology. Slighly more new-agey--"cellular memory."

But what about memory based in not necessarily traumatic movement? I mean beyond the fact that sitting in chairs at the computer gives us bad posture. Or that repeated eka pada paschimotanasanas will help your...hips (?)

05 May 2006

Take, for an example, the feeling of being abandoned - not that of the adult, who feels lonely and therefore takes tablets or drugs, goes to the movies, visits friends, or telephones "unnecessarily", in order to bridge the gap somehow. The relief of being abandoned! In dreams, being abandoned can have several connotations that derive from psychological or physical experience. It may be painful now and it will surely take a while to get over the hurt of being abandoned, but fear not, the pain will ebb and you will be strong once again. The dying fear being abandoned by their loved ones as much or more as they fear pain and death.

“I have a fear of being abandoned,” I said matter-of-factly.

Because rabbits don't like to be cuddled and get frightened when restrained, children often lose interest and hence, the rabbit ends up being abandoned.
I'm going to



I'm not going.

25 April 2006

This poem was going to be about the dog's
copper-gold hair and the old
man petting it. Two days ago
I paid $400 to my dept consolidation
program--a 3rd party that manages
my past lack of understanding or
awareness. In three and a half years the
car will be paid off and my dept
too. Friends ask, "why Tanzania?"
I can't just say "real estate" and anyway
that would be a lie. So I say "uh, beauty,
desperation, a different way of living."
A friend is grading papers and swears
and I say "what's wrong?" but I know:
parry, parry, etc. I can't just go to
Tanzania, not with these debts,
and there are even more substantial reasons.
Can't even be homeless. Children march
around a California court-yard. It's not
paradise but I know no place is. It rains.
Step out of the plane or now more
likely airport anywhere in South East
Asia and the air is sometimes nearly liquid.
My Beat Reader toting x-boyfriend wanted
to go to India with me. "Beat is for boys,"
I might have said, but Dad left Bombay
before I could visit and Beat boy dumped me.
I got fat. It's too bad I didn't understand
my major abandonment issues. Moping
around reading Paul Bowles.
I'm healthy now, though. Mark can't read
anymore and I can't concentrate. I say
"let me finish this," but I can't. My
stomach hurts from donuts and coffee.
"Good company," says the man of his dog.

17 April 2006

Airplane Poem (written with Mark)

making a buck on passenger safety info
and the sleep keeps growing
and defining the pre-conditioned responses
this not talking was taking up space
the shame of dancing around the maypole
--a code for precise description in compound sentences
no more pseudo-witch intercom cackle
as fast as, as green as
lounging in the sun below a dot-com high rise
we wonder about new found fear like new
you looked, you looked, I saw you look

09 April 2006

The squirrels are all California squirrels.
They keep asking me how I am, hoping
I’ll like it here, too. I’m becoming less something,
more other things, but not because of the beach, and the
highways don’t induce mellowness,
so I don’t know what is induced or why.
It rains a lot. We crane at each new
accident. I’m using language
carefully, trying not to be too precise.
I’m a sucker for hostility.

08 April 2006

As always, location is difficult. I’ve already mentioned water and doorway.

Some heroes have four eyes and four ears and breathe fire. This is infuriating. Still we get sliced in half to form the world.

Fair skin so strong that it could be used for making soles of boots that would last three years or more. Sometimes we forget that we cannot breathe underwater, because we do so in our dreams. Usually we drown and are eaten.

06 April 2006

I walk upright and have excessively many human features: too many fingers or none at all, no bones or no skin. Perhaps I have several heads. There is something about my mouth that is alarming. A feral tale. Intense heliophobia. Taloned feed as a hawk or a parrot, yet interested in the subaqueous--a castle, for example, entered via lake or river. A subaqueous castle of unbaptized baby spirits is one explanation, but we would have to borrow men to propagate.

05 April 2006

Water contains vast supernatural populations. We come from water and we drink water, or else it floods us. For all this to be true, one must be protean and indwelling, about the size of a microbe or the size of a grandmother. I thought I might be all of these things, I thought that I'd like to lurk around a portal and defend with overprotective, retaliatory gestures: a tornado watch in DC, for example. For all of this to be true, I'd have to reason, love, be compassionate. Such things melt us.

04 April 2006

It was spring, and we were eating almond croissants. Why would she go into a room alone with a man she didn't like or really know? Because she didn't know if she liked him or not. Because she wasn't confident enough to not go in. I went to the beach with a man I didn't know. I was finishing my tea and chatting with a sunburned English boy at my favorite kedai kopi. Our conversation was faltering. A man swaggered up to the table and said. "I will take you to a good beach." I smiled at the boy and said, "Perhaps I'll see you at dinner?" Wrapped in my blue sarong, I went.

The man was a Malaysian fisherman, and his red motorcycle was in bad repair. But we got to the beach and it was a very nice beach. Small and undeveloped, with clear turquoise water and white soft sand, a few large rocks to climb on at low tide that were mini islands when the tide came in. The fisherman stripped to his underwear and we swam in the ocean and held hands in the blue blue water while waves broke over us.

"What is biting me?" I asked.

"A fish," he said. He cupped his palms together in the water and then held up something pinched in his fingers for me to see. "When it is big it will have hard skin, and it is good to eat."

The shrimp was not as big as his pinky nail, which was long.

After three hours, we rode back to the cafe. I kissed him before he asked me to and then he left. The sunburned British boy was still there, drinking tea. So I sat with him and ordered tea.

"Can you pour the tea and make it fizz?" I asked the girl who was minding the tables. I gestured with my hands to try and communicate. I looked in my dictionary. She waited. "Uh, terbang?"

She nodded and left and came back with two jugs, one full of malty Assam tea and condensed milk, the other empty. She poured the tea back and forth between the two jugs until the tea became frothy. Then she poured it into two cups, even though the British boy was not finished. The girl waited until we had tasted the tea to leave.

"It's very good," I said. "Thank you."

Later that day I went swimming with several Bhutanese economists. "We are old Bhutanese bureaucrats," one told me, "but we like to have fun."

03 April 2006

In most ways she was crazy. "That football player almost raped me in Barcelona," she said, and you winced. They'd met at a club and her friends tried to hook them up. They spread rose petals all over the hotel bed. The room had a balcony. "But I didn't like him, anyway." You drank your coffee and stared at the sidewalk. What always disturbed you about her stories was the fact that she was constantly getting into dangerous, awful, violent situations, but she never seemed aware of this. She was indignant. When you're feeling kind you suppose that her indignant reactions are a kind of awareness.

02 April 2006

You'd broken up with him, but you wanted to do more damage. Your friend was in love with you--this is why you hung around her. In most ways she was crazy and unbearble.

01 April 2006

A lot of people go to places no one can go to. For example, the woman yells at her dog, "you fucking crazy bastard!" The dog is drunk and she knows it. She arrived before we did. She knows that a starlet is short and her bodyguard is always mafia gone legit.


"I always sided with the Zulus," he said. Me too. Not that they would have had me.


We love to bounce our babies in front of mirrors and say "that's you that's you" until they laugh and then we tell them to kiss the pretty baby.


I don't want to be a parody of me interrupting myself, at least not exclusively. A confident young woman just doesn't interest me. The woman yelling at her dog yelled: "you fucking crazy drunk dog, you're lucky you have me as your mama!"