Category Archives: Essay

Podcast Transcriptions for Thomas Robert

Since Thomas Robert and I are no longer speaking (I hope this isn’t permanent) and I am not sure whether or not he has my transcriptions of his podcasts, so I thought I would place them here, so at least access is possible.

Given that these transcription are of time spent in Alaska, I thought that my picture should be a bit more wintry, although it is well into June 2017, also indicative of the coldness between Thomas Robert and I right now,  I sure hope that it isn’t lasting;  I’ve known him so very long.  Well, these transcriptions were a gift and I give them again.

 

It was a pleasure to transcribe them, and here is one offering of a transcription of Episode one.

 

Well, it’s my last night in New York

I had a poem I wrote a while ago, “Last Nights”

–last nights are very important to me, because I’ve had a lot of them.

I love last nights because you always have, “well, that happened last night” but when it happens on your last night, then you know that you’re ready

for whatever comes next, the molecules lining up

in preparation for departure.

I can’t believe all of this is not even off the beaten path; it’s

off the highway here in Juneau.

That’s the sound of the waterfall coming down

–just one hole through the ice sheet

through the glacier; glaciers move back

and it turns into a waterfall

The green is the definition of green

which of course is a multihued “green”,

the “moss” popping, the leaves looking primordial

and the fir trees getting dark, dark, dark

and the sun filtering through with gold.

 

Everybody’s a bear.

Counting eagles from the front porch:

 

1. one just flew over, and then slowly

straight into the clouds

across the bay

 

2. two surprised me:  At a diagonal so close

I could hear the wind in the wings

 

3. three sailed so high up in a spiral,

I didn’t know it disappeared…


___________

It was a pleasure to try to transcribe them as they are all poetry, at least to me.  I did not transcribe all of them, but I did my best from close listening at the time, so these are for you Thomas Robert, the best I could do at the time that I transcribed them.

I had more difficulty with episode two and there are two versions; here is one of them:

I saw the bear a half hour after I landed in Juneau.

The crow has welcomed me, and three eagles;

pretty much the clans have given me the omen of omens.:

You really feel who owns the place

–and it sure ain’t me.

 

Gray.

 

Pick a gray that pours into Auke Bay

like a glacier, and what is true

for a cloud in Juneau is to be born rain

in a gray garment handed down from seals,

that gray, that other gray, that gray over there.

 

Mountain continues ocean

Language continues continues

Story continues language

Mother continues child

Child continues memory

Memory continues whale

Whale continues sea

Boat continues life

 

Twitter continues Twitter

 

Waves continue ice

Milk continues poem

Laughter continues dance

Mountain continues ocean

continues contains continues

rain continues continues continues

continues language

__________

(I believe this to be the other version, sorry if they’re identical; every time, I tried to open Microsoft Word, I couldn’t, and these are transcriptions I found in other places and copied them into Apple’s Pages word processor which has never given me a problem):

I saw the bear a half hour after I landed in Juneau.

The crow has welcomed me, and three eagles;

pretty much the clans have given me the omen of omens.

You really feel who owns the place

–and it sure ain’t me.

 

Gray.

 

Pick a gray that pours into Auke Bay

like a glacier, and what is true

for a cloud in Juneau is to be born rain

in a gray garment handed down from seals,

that gray, that other gray, that gray over there.

[some of the prose interlude]:

I’m looking out over Auke Bay in juneau; it’s not “awe”, but “auke” the “ka”

is a diminutive, so it’s little “ah” –just a little “awe” [ah] in the air

along with all the grays that are there.

–a lot of these clouds aren’t clouds;

they’re the moisture

off the mountains;

I know they’re there; I’ve seen them when the sun decides

to set fire to the sky.

A sea lion crossing:

 

In Kotzebue, you’re never too far from the tundra

In Kotzebue, you’re never too far from the sea.

The sun and moon dancing with the Northern Lights

–that’s about it here in Kotzebue.

Over the Arctic Circle, 60 miles from Russia

–unbelievable!– what they call the “Beringia Region”

–where the continents of Asia and North America

connected, where the Wooly Mammoth crossed,

and it still fels like wooly mammoth territory…

I read about how today was the last day of summer

in New York; it’s 70 degrees, but here,

it’s right at freezing, and you gotta bundle up!

 

Mountain continues ocean

Language continues continues continues

Story continues language

Mother continues child

Child continues memory

Memory continues whale

Whale continues sea

Boat continues life

 

Twitter continues Twitter

 

Waves continue ice

Milk continues poem

Laughter continues dance

Mountain continues ocean

continues contains continues

rain continues continues continues

continues language


_________

 

-“and it sure ain’t me” anymore, but it used to be me, Thomas Robert; it used to be me.  

A few more images of winter, not in Alaska, but right in Michigan:

This used to be my own back yard; I like to think of the world as my own back yard.  I am connected to so much, and all of it moves through me, all of it “continues” to use Thomas Robert’s language.  

 

Who can say what will be the lucky entity to continue something?  I will continue being myself; I have little choice in that anyway.  

I am not a bear per se, but I did write something about a bear that I will transcribe as soon as I can.  You see, Thomas Robert said,  at least that’s the way that I transcribed it.  As Thomas Robert said in episode one, “Everybody’s a bear”… 

 

Indeed, long before I knew Thomas Robert at all, I knew that everyone is a bear, and called my father “Teddy” out of that knowledge,

and not that you need confirmtion of your statement from me, Thomas Robert, but you  have it anyway.

Let there be peace for the universe, for the world, and also between us, that “US”-ness you named and used to speak about, that very “US”-ness I will always love,

 

Even that “US”-ness of humanity; I give that back to you, my friend.  Always.

Olivia Pig Falling Zone

Please listen to this recording go “Olivia Pig Falling Zone” to be part of my LFMK collection of Prose-poems”

 

LFMK Olivia Pig Falling Zone 

 

This is where you can hear all about Olivia, the girl I knew who I was 8 years old, living on Linn Drive in Cleveland, Ohio.  

 

Olivia was just thirteen and about to be raped.  Her apartment building was also on fire, burning, burning, burning, and I was the reluctant witness.  

 

There was nothing I could do; no 911 then.  1962.

No cell phone either.  But Olivia jumped from that porch and cracked her head on the concrete.  I had never seen anyone die before.  This was how saints were made.  Dying  

to preserve chastity.  

I was there, just my family neighborhood.  I could never forget this.  Not sure what I learned.  All vocals by me, the writing also. Music composed and performed by Ansted, perhaps still of Strexx; he was at the time of the recording.  But things change, even things supposedly solid and stable.  The stability is, of course, change itself.

This one is for Olivia herself.  

 

“Olivia” by the Whispers:

 

Tarpulin Sky: What I’m Reading

  I have just completed and submitted my essay on “What I’m Reading”

books of influence and comfort, books, ideas and words of propulsion, the books I chose are among my favorites; I own just over 5,000  books and Lisa was generous enough to help organize them for me today.  But in the end, Lisa turned out to be neither who nor what  thought she was.

No longer tight rows of a hundred boxes of books; the books I selected for Tarpulin Sky:

  1. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, by Eleanor Coerr   

     2.  Schindler’s List by Thomas Kenneally

3. Contact by Carl Sagan

     4. Touch the Universe by Noreen Grice

5. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

You will be able to read my essay very soon, online. As soon as I have it, I will post the link.

I hope that you will want to experience these books. 

I live with them, these books form an archway;

I had to walk through them just to get to my bedroom, lines, images and words fell down as explosions of popcorn that kind of excitement about what will soon enter my body –that’s how sensuous reading is to me, active not passive.  

the swelling and opening of kernels, that rank indeed. Idea Gardens. Essences of the plant, no higher order of magnitude, necklaces of popcorn balls, popcorn hat that falls apart; I hardly get to wear it.  

Only thing better: would be to wear a honey comb; I go to bed like that, golden caramel and buttery, even between my toes;  most of you will just have to imagine this

–for a moment I think of popcorn balls at Euclid Beach Humpgrey Popcorn balls 

(Image from : http://www.humphreycompany.com)

Now a video of Popcorn popping from YouTube:

“Good Hair” Essay live in Mythos!

airmythos

Very pleased to announce the publication of my essay “Good Hair: an Endordsement of Vanity”  in Mythos Magazine! at this link: https://mythos-magazine.squarespace.com/essays/good-hair-an-endorsement-of-vanity

Please enjoy!

–by the way, I love my hair, and will be going on Wednesday to have my hair done at Penthouse Hair Salon,  561 N. Hewitt Street, Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197.

PenthouseHairDesign

Pat Freeman understands my hair, almost more than I do.

When you visit Penthouse, please ask for Pat.

 

No weave, no extensions, no hair pieces, never relaxer:  100% natural hair.

A clip from the Chris rock film “Good Hair” with which my essay shares a title”

 

 

 

“Good Hair” essay in Mythos magazine

Apparently publication of my Good Hair: essay remains on track in Mythos Magazine illustrtions and everything.  Here are the inital comments from the edios o Myths:

“Thanks so much for your submission to Mythos Magazine. I loved your piece. The richness of your narration was powerful, smart, and unapologetic, and I’m interested in working with you in the coming weeks to publish it for our site. I know it would be deeply appreciated by our readership. 

Let me know if you accept this offer to publish, and I’ll reach out with more details. We have an illustrator for pieces who would likely do some accompanying artwork for yours, which we can coordinate a bit later. 

Looking forward to hearing from you!”

and here is the followup just received minutes ago, a wee k befor my 63rd birthday!

Hope you are doing well, and sorry for the long delay on my end! 

Our illustrator is going to work on a piece to accompany yours in the coming weeks. Do let me know if you have any specifications for that.

 I’ll be back in touch by the weekend with some logistical things. 

My Best,

Bindu “

and now a few photos of this “good hair stuff”; I must thank my parents for my haiving the hair I have, especially my moher’s own shame of her short, kinky nappy hair:

Mama here with the hair she hates:

FLORIDA PAST

She always wears a wig now, will not be seen without one, and not necessarily the  100% human hair wigs, but  in hers as seen below, the fibers are plastic, but they do cover her shame, the curse of having Afro-textured hair.

 

And then there are those who insist that my hair could not possibly be natural, although it is.  

Others have problems wth my hair, not me.

 I was born this way;  I do nothing to cause my hair to grow. NOTHING.  AT ALL.  

You want this hair, you can purchase it. There are all kinds of products that I do not use, well, watch the Chris Rock movie if this is something you do not know for yourself.  

Do I look better because of my hair?   Some men think so, and isn’t that what this is really about?    The sex appeal of hair?  

I cannot say for sure; I only speculate, but in my mother’s case , she hates her hair, and made sure I wouldn’t be born it,  but xI an also say that I am glad not to be bald, and if I am relaxed, that is just my demeanor.  I have the hair  I haeve because of heritage, that’s all.

My parents, the reason for the hair she always wanted and didn’t have.  Specifically my paternal lineage.  I am not in control of my birth; just glad that I was born, and also glad, very glad to have hair, good or not.  Even my hairdresser has commented on my hair, because there is no weave, no hair pieces, no extensions, and I have never had a relaxer, and will be 63 years old in a week.  The only change I make is some occasional hair color.  My hair dresser can attest to that –not that I require any proof.  If you want to think  that I have good hair, then think it.  I’ve been told often anought that I have it.  

Please, I am glad to have it,but no need to make a big deal about it.

And I would not trade my hair for another form.  Yes, indeed, men tend to like my hair, for a variety of reasons, but one thing I can say is that my hair does not come off, unless it is cut off.  The way it looks is the same way I wakeup wih it.  I do no have to have “weave sex” as in the movie “Good Hair” by Chris Rock.

I just want to repeat that I have no relaxer.  I do not need it.  Sorry.  I am a black woman, but that is not all. I am a multiracial woman, if that is needed to explan this natural growth of my hair.  My hair grows the way you see it in these photos. 

If it looks relaxed, that is only because that is the way my hair grows.  

And this clip from the Chris Rock movie also:

I am also naturally small, 98 pounds, and I have never dieted.  No, my life isn’t perfect, but I am thankful for whatever I’ve got, and I do not apologize for it.  

If it took races mixing to give me this look, then let them mix, for I could not exist any other way. I a naturally thin like my father. And his father seen below. Races should mix anyway; such devisions help no one, but my mother was completle bypassed by black movemens she never said it loud that she was “black and proud” because she isn’t.

And at age 87, and about to die, she is not going to change.  I will be sure that she has on a wig for her funeral.  I will be sure that she looks what she considers  “best” 

“Good Hair” essay accepted

I am delighted to report that my “Good Hair” essay has just been accepted by Mythos Magazine.

 

Not sure when the issue with my essay will be published; I sent it earlier todays, and I have already receved a response from the editor:

“Thanks so much for your submission to Mythos Magazine. I loved your piece. The richness of your narration was powerful, smart, and unapologetic, and I’m interested in working with you in the coming weeks to publish it for our site. I know it would be deeply appreciated by our readership.”

As usual, I spoke TRUTH  —nothing else is worth saying.  So I don’t say it.

There will be accompanying artwork, I am so pleased to say. No details yet, just feeling “acceptance” (all I have ever wanted, to be accepted as myself.  That is all you get with me, 100% natural; I do not mean this harshly.  No wig, no weave, no extensions.  None of that for me,… Not a problem if you want to accessorize yourself that way, I choose not to, not because it’s better, I am content with what I have right now. I not feel a need to change it or enhance it. I like it as it is. 

Doesn’t matter what I used to have or will have, this is what I’ve got in the moment that I write.  Take it or leave it.  Does not come off unless it’s cut off.

It is what it is, and I am who I am:  a tiny woman writer –age 62!– with a lot of natural hair. 

 My hair is thick, but the photo doesn’t convey that.  

We all have something worth celebrating about ourselves, as long as you woke up, that is excellent acheievement.  Be thankful, boast that you woke up, not everyone did.  

And yes, I woke up like this:

 

 

Flawless

I am as unapologetic here as I am in the essay.

TRUTH

and never anything else from me.  Everythg about me, head to toe is 100% natural. Everything.  No additions or subtractions.  Not one. Not even a diet.   No weave, no wig, no hair pieces, no extensions and I do not apologize, for what?

Does the “TRUTH’ need to apologize for being the truth? 

“Weave sex“? –not necessary here.

A man who is with me will see a woman wake up with him the same as she went to bed with him.  I am not hiding anything.  No girdle to unlossen. My waist is tiny but is not cinched.  I have not ever needed a push-up  or padded bra.  Never.  

I try to be quiet in the background; I try to fade away,

but this truth is as real as anything else,   and if I am accepted, please understand that this TRUTH comes with me. I do not ever separate myself from TRUTH.  

If you want to know something, depend on me not to lie

(not even to get the man I want, yes; I may have some truth and a lot of natural body, and I am not that stupid, was considered gifted starting in first grade, but TRUTH alone is not enough, I even gave him my best natural “cookies”, but I woud be lying if I said I have him, but not  if I admit I want him (and telling the TRUTH right there, may cost me, but I say it anyway, I must; I asssure you he already knows how I feel about him. I speak here as myself not as a character.  I speak about my real life,   from the depths of me–)

The naturally skinny, the naturally coiffed, the naturally aging (I don’t even wear makeup, only some lipgloss) also have something to say.

I am talking here about nothing I gave myself.  Born this way.  

Please note, I am not rich.

I was born that way also.  I too have needs, wants, desires.  Including a man who will accept me as I am.   I accept him as he is; he knows I do.  I just want love; I just want to give love…

I am little, but I can love him… My love for him is much bigger than I am.  Much stronger too.

I don’t even know for sure that I should say this, but as it is the truth, I am willing to take a chance. I am sure he knows anyway, whether or not he wants me to say it, but just a look at a photo of him, and I fall to pieces.  

Just what it is about this man?  –I am beginning a series of poems to help me answer that… “more poems” I should say, not as if I haven’t written about him before… even this blog post… 

Here’s to his Highness Higgs –and every Higgs boson everywher.

Still Waiting/Holding Pattern

Holding Pattern…

Still Waiting for word, good word, about my romance novel.  

Getting close to the time for “Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities’ Red Dress Code” September 2016 publication!  

 

wannabe_front copy

Red Dress Code-02

Pretty excited about that! 

 

Flap copy from the Persea website:

 

Thylias Moss, one of American poetry’s great innovators, is a national taxonomist and secular preacher who catalogues our culture and responds in gorgeous outrage to its injustices. This career-spanning volume conveys the hypnotic spectrum of her full poetic output, from Hosiery Seams on a Bowlegged Woman, her 1983 debut, to Slave Moth, her acclaimed 2006 novel in verse, to more than fifty pages of new poems. Whether in early or recent writing, Moss makes no promises of smooth sailing: even when her poems begin with beloved cultural icons (Robert Frost, Doctor Who, the Statue of Liberty), they insist on new perspectives, truths, and realities. She is a fearless reimaginer of poetry’s possibilities, a writer who seems made for (and by) the digital age—its blitz of interactivity and reinvention—a futuristic archivist always compelled by the current moment.  Arranged chronologically, this volume offers us Moss as she has evolved through the past three decades, recognizable yet unpredictable, ever “a poet of fierce intelligence and radiant intensity” (Martín Espada). Wannabe Hoochie Mama of Realities’ Red Dress Code is an indispensable book, a record of who this essential writer has been and where she may be heading.

Praise for Thylias Moss

“Thylias Moss is a permanent American poet, canonical in the old, authentic sense.”—Harold Bloom

“As if the muse of Wallace Steves were transplanted into the body of a black, female pop-culture maven.”—David Yaffe, Village Voice

“It’s tempting to confuse Moss with the characters she describes, so deeply does she appear to inhabit their lives. . .[with] her trademark intensity and ferocious intelligence.”—Jabari Asim, Washington Post Book World

“Reading Thylias Moss is always dangerous and exhilarating, because one never knows exactly when the poem might explode and leave its reader marked forever.”—Raphael Campo, Parnassus Poetry in Review

“Thylias Moss names the black truths behind white lies. She is a writer who speaks bitterness and makes her own music of it.”—Marilyn Hacker, Women’s Review of Books

About the Author

Thylias Moss is Professor Emerita in the departments of English and Art & Design at the University of Michigan. Her eight previous books of poetry include Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, and Slave Moth, named Best Poetry Book of 2004 by Black Issues Book Review. Moss is a recipient of the fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur foundations, among other honors. She lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

 

Okay, maybe naming “black truths” is part of it, but I hope that I have not been figured out completely; I hope that many of you are still guessing… I like to think that at some level, truth is truth, and does not have to have a color, but apparently, we are not there yet, if that is what I am doing…  but if truth must have a color, then I am all for black truth, for if black is as powerful as it is supposed to be, then how could I avoid “black” truth even if I wanted to; if black is this powerful  that black alters whatever I experience, let it! –I need do nothing but use my senses —bitterness? Me?  –dangerous? yep; that’s me, a dangerous woman –yes, trademark intensity (Lord know, I am intense, as in Lisa Fischer, “So Intense“)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just completed a draft of an essay I will be submitting by 15 September about being multiracial in America.  looking forward to that,  and soon, waiting and waiting and waiting.  I wrote about “Hair”, of course…