Category Archives: INSPIRED

Fuckinmuse: a journey into collaboration (therefore, also into a True Love story in Love Jungle)1 by Thylias Moss

You may read, and I hope that you enjoy ths essay in its context here: (http://abstractmagazinetv.com/2017/09/24/fuckinmuse-a-journey-into-collaboration-by-thylias-moss/)

 

I am indebted to JL Jacobs for her interest in Collaboration, for it is my sincere belief that no one and nothing  makes alone.

 

I repost that article in its entirety here:

 

Art credit: Nathalie von Arx, Zurich, Switzerland

fuckinmuse: a journey into collaboration

(therefore, also into a True Love story in Love Jungle)(1)

Thylias Moss

Emily Dickinson had her Thomas Wentworth Higginson, and I have my Thomas Robert Higginson,(2) a man, poet himself, who became my muse.

In some ways there is startling similarity in how these writers became correspondents and more, so essential to the making of our poetries.  Both Higginsons are writers in their own right—I am simply astonished by how much is shared.  What channeling my Thomas Robert Higginson seems to have accomplished of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, both men assuming similar roles in the lives of female poets.   Roles they were born into, inevitabilities:

“MR. HIGGINSON,—Are you too deeply occupied to say if my verse is alive?
The mind is so near itself it cannot see distinctly, and I have none to ask.
Should you think it breathed, and had you the leisure to tell me, I should feel quick gratitude.
If I make the mistake, that you dared to tell me would give me sincerer honor toward you.
I enclosed my name, asking you, if you please, sir, to tell me what is true?

That you will not betray me it is needless to ask, since honor is its own pawn.”

April 26, 1862 (excerpt)

“MR. HIGGINSON,—Your kindness claimed earlier gratitude, but I was ill, and write to-day from my pillow.
You asked how old I was? I made no verse, but one or two, until this winter, sir.
I had a terror since September, I could tell to none; and so painful as I supposed. I bring you others, as you ask, though they might not differ. While my thought is undressed, I can make the distinction; but when I put them in the gown, they look alike and numb… and so I sing, as the boy does of the burying ground, because I am afraid… When a little girl, I had a friend who taught me Immortality; but venturing too near, himself, he never returned…for several years my lexicon was my only companion. Then I found one more… You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog large as myself, that my father bought me. They are better than beings because they know, but do not tell. They are religious, except me, and address an eclipse, every morning, whom they call their ‘Father(3)’”

Art credit: Gary Frier, South Africa, @gary_frier

 

Long before I knew my Thomas Robert Higginson, as well as I now do, he had written a review of my book Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler (nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, by the way):

 

09.. Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler

Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler – by Thylias Moss

 

 

and it is quite telling to share that review at the outset, for it reveals his interest in the life of this poet:

 

Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler is the sixth book by Thylias Moss, her first after grabbing one of the MacArthur Genius grants. Her work has changed—moved further out, encyclopedia-ized. She has memories of playing jacks sans hands, Thalidomide-esque, but all it is, is nose-sucking, the end of the world.
Included are The Brothers Grimm, Zora Neale Hurston, Amy Clampitt, and Stanley Crouch: this is a thin volume, but spectacularly dense, provocative (is her cheating poem about Lazarus “cheating” death? or her and her husband’s affairs?). To read her Susan Smith/baptizing poem is to be horrified—yet, as Moss posits, ‘’tis poetry’s job.’ The long, more formal open-field works, particularly ‘Advice,’ ‘Sour Milk,’ and the title poem, all break new ground. I want the book! I want the movie!”
Thomas Robert Higginson

 

It is when I read this passage from Thomas Wentworth Higginson:
“Once set foot on such an island and you begin at once to understand the legends of enchantment which ages have collected around such spots. Climb to its heights, you seem at the masthead of some lonely vessel, kept forever at sea. You feel as if no one but yourself had ever landed there; and yet, perhaps, even there, looking straight downward, you see below you in some crevice of the rock a mast or spar of some wrecked vessel, encrusted with all manner of shells and uncouth vegetable growth;(5)”

 

it was when I read that passage that I realize how similar these men are, aware of the beauty of the world, that interest in being connected—all this is essential, for the gestation and subsequent  birth of collaboration, an extension of sharing, and admitting that no one entity knows everything, nor even what “everything” is, for such knowledge would require a foreknowing of completion, as there is no “everything” until there is  an ending as point of reference, so that everything including that which will contain that everything, even just a thought of it, may be included, and whose thought?—for each thinker, each experiencer has a sense of everything, a personal understanding, not universal, and yet each one true. Perspective and point of view, real, but not quantifiable, in a general sense of definition.  The specialness of what was forming, both of us aware, and not questioning it as if a destiny neither one of us could control nor wanted to control.

He called this truth our “US-ness.”

 

A great word and he has invented many, whenever there is need, whenever the rare and impossible are born, the only children He and I will ever have, and who can say how many children these children will have?  How many populations? Descendants of all time just as time itself gave birth to our connection.

 

I noticed how in so many of the letters, Emily Dickinson addresses her friend as “Mr. Higginson,” something I do also to my Mr. Higginson.  I noticed Emily’s habit of thanking her Mr. Higginson, something I do too, for how can I not thank this man who was the singular vehicle for my return? from so many things that set out to derail me from a life of joy and love? —a life of poetry?  He has signed correspondence to me as “Higgzy,” “Higgs,” or “Thomas Robert”—most often I simply address him as  “Mr. Higginson”; I like the formality of that, a simple title bestowed on him.

How do I thank the man who has done so much?

And I must thank him; this generosity is astonishing to me; never imagined it would happen. Was I looking for this? I must have been.

 

I think that I was looking for him, without realizing I was, when I  developed “Limited Fork Theory,” a way of understanding how all things are connected, “limited” in that we are bound by our abilities to notice and a related inability to meaningfully notice everything that exists or has existed or ever will  exist.   Bound to the limits of our senses, those devices for accessing

 

information and bringing it inside ourselves where it is processed for meanings, some of which are just beauty often expressed through ways in which what is accessed sings. And not all senses of all things access the same information and certainly do not process it the same way which is also beauty and variety.

I am always amazed by these ranges.

Both deficits and extensions of senses, that measure differently yet refer to related realities, that expand in both space and time, sometimes the same things expressed differently, and here is where personal preferences contribute to a delicious complexity of it all. For instance, the blind experience both increases and decreases, elsewhere, yet not all is even seeable, and the mind itself is able to perform some seeing for which conventionally functioning eyes are not required and would interfere with meanings issuing from a certain visual range, while acknowledging that human seeing does not include an entirety of the visual spectrum.

Limited.

 

All means available to us for measuring how existences are experienced, are limited, and without collaborating, without sharing, without augmenting our own perceptions, there is little chance of moving beyond our limited understandings, limiting them even further and our understandings

even further. Limited by limitations themselves limited by other limitations, all ranges outside of “everything” are necessarily limited. Takes a conglomeration, a community of all seeing to produce a more accurate understanding of seeing, not seeing; understanding, not understanding; comprehending, not comprehending, and so forth.

 

A realization that everything has significance has burdened this writer; I have even felt guilt about what I have failed to notice. And I cannot even know what all of that is. So, I realize that making is collaborative. All things have a part in whatever I consider, and all things that have a part are collaborators. Nothing I do is done alone, in every part of everything I do, others contribute, without exception; unseen people and things, even spores about to burst with no more than possibilities, building blocks of proteins, enzymes, atoms, linking, connecting into molecules, fabulous chains of existence, substances whose contributions are invaluable, and they should be thanked, in the very least acknowledged as being our co-makers. Unseen things, and

that which has attempted to manipulate these things. Such awareness totally transformed my life; I self identified as “Forker Gryle,” even on Facebook, until I was told that “Forker Gryle” did not sound like a real name, although I had been in the world, teaching and living, using this identity since 2004. Renaming of self to better understand the changing is essential.

 

Why a fork?

IMG_3025

 

Consider the hand, or a tree with its hand-like branches; please note how fingers are branches of a hand, yet are connected, those branches rooted, even from what is referred to as the lifeline. Now also consider this; there is no limit to how many branches may exist or into what a branch may point to, or that a branch, like an arrow may connect, harshly or gently, perhaps each branch leading to something different, simultaneously, a road, a means of access both, in at least, to and from some location for some duration of time, those locations which could be any dimension, past, present, future; any parcel of time itself, and each branch may further subdivide and branch itself, those bends, those curves, those mobius branches, for those are possibilities also, those knots on a hand, those moles of dark tunnel, those cancers of opening new roads, all connected somehow to a singular hand of some sort, each part making a connection with something.

 

 

(Better angels.)

 

Double Tree (Invisible Coastline

For connecting tends to be intimate, a touch of some sort, recognitions of humanity, that touch that brings all together, for no matter how briefly, something has been shared, each entering this temporary partnership differently than they leave, for something of each participant remains and

this happens in every interaction, something is left and something is taken away, mixtures, endless mixtures, masalas everything, fiestas of possibilities, changed forms changing further and further, the more interactions occur. And parties involved in an interaction are forever changed by this very partnership, temporary though it may be, of interacting; each now knows more about an other, and this is so useful, for this knowledge lasts and as subsequent interactions are made, particles of what has been shared, exchanged in a previous interaction are shared at some level, on some scale, in some location with whatever is next touched, for some duration of time.

Mighty Forms of embrace.

All temporary, unless, until, and here is where hope may harm as one entity of a connection seems to bend, twist, curve out of contact; however, when connection is made, there is memory of it, and this memory does enhance what may occur in a subsequent interaction: it becomes easier for these entities to connect again. Perhaps in a stronger bond that too may be permanent. A priming for interacting, for connecting. A risk that must be taken for the sake and possibility of change itself. We should not remain as we are, ideally improving as ultimately, we are sure to do. I have that kind of faith, that kind of naiveté if that is what is–

 

–Did not Kinnell say  it, Saint Francis and the sow? –the only poem I have ever wanted to steal — I met with sme success in my collection of poetry “Tokyo Butter”

 

10. Tokyo Butter

Tokyo Butter – a search for Dierdre

Persa Boosks, 2006, the poem: “Dierdre in Kinnell’s Saint Francis and the Sow with the Aid of France Bourély’s Micronautics: Also the Culture of Epistle.)

Saint Francis and the Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.
Galway Kinnell, “Saint Francis and the Sow” from Three Books. Copyright © 2002 by Galway Kinnell. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved, www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com.
Source: Three Books (2002)
——–

I have needed to believe in an ultimate improvement system, some things so limited, so contaminated that growth itself is thwarted, falls short; they refuse to improve and are left behind as the change machine of existence continues, plowing through field after field, upturning hope buried under rigidities that must give up control; those delicate flowers manifesting thorns and other forms of armor that allow their very beauty to exist, their scents to become better atmospheres. Bouquets of hope, Hopeful Garden spots freckle landscapes; so this is where we live now, all Pollyannas do, becoming pollyanna in interactions, some of that goodness, that optimism, rubbing off and onto every participant who interacts with this more rugged hope, more likely to survive, circle game after game, concentric circles widening, that embrace becoming bigger and bigger, wider and wider, the best possible circular-esque rip in spacetime, the colorful and productive circulating destinies that now come into and out of view, reachable view. Grab it! That brass merry-go-round and round and round ringing roulette wheel of chance liberties, libraries of liberties, each with a trailing ribbon that suffices for hair of the world, and wind, melodies of movements, concertos all. Nourishing also. Why not believe in this and make it true? What palate does not prefer the taste of this, so long as there is no other food, the breast milk root, child itself of prolactin: O lucky hormone.

 

Art credit: Chris Rivera, @chris.rivera, Christopherjphotography@gmail.com

 

There is no limit to how many times forms of entities that have connected may reconnect, for each connection or form of collaboration changes what has connected, making it easier for them to connect again. There is memory of having been connected. And that ease is hope when the

 

connection has been beautiful, which is what I emphasize, in my preference for the beautiful possibilities.

Love is one of them.

 

In July 2011,  I nearly died when a cranial aneurysm ruptured, and I consider this the most fortunate thing that ever happened to me, for it allowed a friendship with my Mr. Thomas Robert Higginson to blossom into a fulfillment that it never could have blossomed into without that rupture.

 

A rupturing through which a salvation entered; I literally was looking out the window from the couch, and saw the sky seem to break, as if a rainbow had become a colorful saw, each color lengthening and bending, a tooth growing able to split the sky it was tasting, dripping slobber as

 

the colors themselves, more ropes of tasty rainbow, the licorice of it all. It was a moment that had me run onto the deck, to see this splitting better, to be a more involved witness, my t-shirt reflected nothing but colors, I was only part of a spectrum of energy and colorful wildness, I was transmitting this rainbowed effect, a job I took most seriously, passing along information, being only a connector which is what I was even with my co-learners, a sharer of information. I had helpers, lots of them, everything that existed and was able to transmit in whatever ways it could impart the knowledge that it was still acquiring, information never static, but constantly adapting

 

—it could be just his nature to help others,

for me the rupture, those neurons, my cranial rosebush as it were, a stunning pink flower blossomed in my head, a bouquet that life itself gave me, preparing me for something else, a romance with existence and with Thomas Robert himself, in my head—that is what the rupture gave me in a collaboration with a localized, blood-filled balloon-like bulge in the wall of a blood vessel, fertilizer of a sort.

 

 

Everything is poetry, this is what I have come to believe after nearly losing my life, and Thomas Robert Higginson was waiting for me—I didn’t know he would be, although I had appeared in  a movie he produced in 1990 or thereabouts, The United States of Poetry, where I met him in Chicago for the movie shoot.  How innocent that was, but  connection indeed, a beginning of our physical collaboration; our words had already touched and enmeshed. For once connection happens, it is easier for reconnection to occur as what has reconnected remembers that it has

connected before, and no matter how changed these entities have become, there is on some cellular or sub-cellular level, addresses of the internal heavens for instance; there is some memory that these entities should connect.  My belief for which I have not lived long enough to either prove or disprove.

I am limited;

my own thinking goes only so far, each of my senses also has limits, and I cannot remove them all, but I can collaborate, make stuff with others and their differing limits. That is what happened with Thomas Robert Higginson. When I survived the fortunate rupture of that aneurysm, on 23 July 2011, released from the hospital to the disbelief of everyone on 9 October 2011, I lay on the couch at home, and saw light enter the room in a way I had never seen it enter, as if the sky itself had had an aneurysm. I saw everything differently from that moment; I myself

 

astonished to be alive. Just alive. Nothing else mattered. And then began the task still underway of reclaiming life, with which I was already collaborating, more aware of my limits then than ever.

It was in this heightened and necessary sense of being that I read some of Thomas Robert Higginson’s poetry again, and found things there all along, but that I had somehow overlooked; it took that reorganization of my brain and an admitting of the impossibility of knowing everything, and a looking into that poem and realizing that there were locations to take further, to actually turn corners introduced there, to journey into the lines and find much more than it would ever be possible to locate if I looked only through my even more limited and incomplete lens system. Those microscopic universes even became essential, those worlds that lived unseen on us; a tool of a poet also became a microscope. Any and everything that helps access, for if unaccessed, cannot be considered.

 

Yes; the work of making. The peeling away of layers and the accessing surface after surface, for surfaces are where things occur. Interior surfaces. Surface of the heart, brain, spleen, Thomas Robert Higginson’s poems, So much there, and I became determined, a hunger that I cannot

 

fully explain, and that is a good thing for to be able to “fully” explain something is to be a mystery thief, one thing that I hope remains impossible, and I will work to make it so.

 

Thankful to have finally had a baby in 1991 —all of this  leading to that moment of when Thomas Robert Higginson could enter my life in a most real way, taking me beyond my limitations to new limitations—for limitations—in some form exist.  Death being considered one such limit.  But I was not yet collaborating with life as I needed to.  For collaboration is a

 

way of exceeding limits, in my case, traps. I had searched my whole life for an opportunity such as what the rupture afforded me, for “rupture” is so close to “rapture”—that is never lost on me.

About my finding so much in his work, my Thomas Robert Higginson said this:

“Here’s what I think — I think somehow I’ve become a fuckin muse, and that’s just fine with me so long as you keep pouring out the outpourings. That’s right, Write On, o! Great Crusader of the Pen Nib.”  –wouldn’t that have made a geat blurb on my book? “Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities” Red Dress Code“?  I know it would, but his blurb was rejected by  the publisher; it was not “sufficienly” literary.  But it was to me.  It still is. 

 

This was not merely rejection of the blurb, this was rejection of just the idea of this, then, fledgling connection.

 

Art credit: Chris Rivera, @chris.riveraChristopherjphotography@gmail.com

 

The big question is what happened to allow me to see further?  And why that day?  What did the angle of light entering my house have to do with it?  And could this precise angle be repeated?  I knew I was recipient of something most rare, and I didn’t want to lose this gift.

It began, all of it, in collaborations with poetry, with daily my finding unexplored locations in his work, and I traveled; from the beginning, he took me places I had never been. One of us would write a line or stanza and send it to the other, adding a line, a stanza, and before you knew it, there was a new poem, something neither one of us would have written separately. Realizations possible only via connection; ideas the other may not have had; poetry itself is that great thing that always connected us, metaphors and the like, expressions, tastes, things barely there in abstract ways. First the writing connected, first we each realized something special in the writing, the work of the other, and it made so much sense that a collaboration, a reaching beyond what one could accomplish would extend itself to a corporeal realm, and connect, collaborate there also, and what a grand connection that also was, profound, words, bodies, and everything, for the words are part of the body—through and complete connection in every way—you do not find this often, And once this manner of connection happens, though the components may for a time seem to go their own ways, their own ways have forever been changed, and they find their way back to each other, their paths having been rewritten by coming together in the first place

 

surviving tremendous interference from that which was outside the bond.  Tiny essences remain, Poams and Poems themselves reinforced by these things we believe, these things defying senses and usual ways of knowing.  Proof, of something greater than either part separately.  Naturally we would explore what becomes possible in a corporeal way then the physical sources of the poems come together in something a simple as a Kiss,

 

And then came a chance to actually be with this man, and that was nearly beyond my ability to conceive. We met in Chicago for that movie Thomas produced, and when I had an opportunity to go to Chicago to accept an award, naturally, I thought of someone accompanying me, and I thought of him, and what he had been saying to me about his always having been interested, waiting in fact, 25 years just to Kiss me was the beginning stanza of a poem we would write together , would be together, collaborating as nothing has ever collaborated.

He said we would : “make the poetry of this and that, the poetry of everything, the poetry of my being with you; the poetry of you being with me, the poetry of us together; the poetry we’ll be writing all over the bed, all over the room, whole weekend of poetry, that whole lifetime.”

These makers attempt, these makers try, experiencing instant chemistry that is simply poetry connecting their bodies. “There is nothing else to breathe, only the deliciousness of air that has

 

touched your lungs, has been purified there, crystal molecules that spell out your name, even your hair that I’ll finally touch becoming that Thomas Robert Higginson alphabet, where every word translates into pleasure…”

 

“Very soon, Thomas Robert; —I have been waiting for this moment!”

 

“Not nearly as long as I have! Twenty-five years for me!—don’t forget that! —all that I’ll be thinking about is seeing you, holding you, touching you for the very first time; already Wonderland for me. My understanding is that in Wonderland, the only utensil is a fork —all anybody in Wonderland, ever needs.”

 

“At this late date, a couple of necessary questions, please. If that’s all right.”
“Well, what do you want of me, ideally? —I know sex; I invited you for that purpose. Guess at this late stage, I’m wondering just what your intentions are with me. I’ve made it quite clear that I’m interested, very interested in making love with you —in fact, I would like for you to

 

make love to me, and I’ll make love back… I want one beautiful, exceptional weekend; ideally, you’ll want much more from me —but I need to know your intentions… ”

 

“This is brilliant and clear and bone honest, Dream Baby. And I can say I want the same. IDEAL:LY is a great word. You don’t get hung up on what obstacles, just quotidian reality boring shit, IDEALLY must overcome And I take my cues from you on the Drunken Boat Grid, the Full Body Grid, the Total Life in a Weekend Grid, the Pulse of Morning Grid, the Sky Blue Dress Grid, your tender touch my body gloving you. See? I rabbit hole down go why not stay there
long as possible no way out whoosh it’s morning. Alarm clock. Bzzbzzz. Hello, Dream Baby Thylias, it is Mr. Higginson, For me, aged sixty-six, it is still, Hey, ya never know. And I wouldn’t say it except you really want to ask directly and you yourself have set this Truth Grid and I can negotiate it as I can, and I don’t know if this will be our only time. On the Truth Grid I can only say I do not know: I think this might be our only weekend, yes. But I do know that I anticipate a lot for and from our time together, and that looms lives as long as it took to get here, the intricacies, details, loop whorl menagerie. I want us to just do and be and live and penetrate the Universe with our Us-ness. Can that be done on the Truth Grid, Tine Forker Dream Baby Thylias? —Can it?”

 

Excerpt From: Thylias Moss. “New Kiss Horizon.” iBooks.

THANKSGIVING 2016 - THYLIAS MOSS NEW KISS HORIZON

NEW KISS HORIZON, ROMANCE NOVEL ABOUT VASHTI ASTAPAD WARRREN AND THOMAS ROBERT HIGGINSON

And this these poets attempt, these makers attempt, and I have the best Kiss of my life, endowed with all the feelings, for I find myself in the arms of a poem, a poem written for me, and a poem written about me, and he is a poem for me, and I am a poem for him, as if he has never seen a poem before, poetry is born right then, and we would be the discovers of it, if poetry had not already existed.—and I am forever changed by the collaboration of our bodies, there is nothing like it. There will never be anything like what Thomas Robert Higginson and I, Thylias Moss, two poets make in collaboration on every level through with anything may touch, make, create, and Be, penetrating every connected universe with the Best Love ever, that instant chemistry was simply poetry connecting their bodies. A Kiss.

 

Talk about collaborations, well, I felt orgasmic just from that poet’s Kiss. The first time I had ever felt such things. Our finest collaboration, senses operating beyond what anyone would have said was possible, the finding of a more that can never be fully demolished, a Kiss that can never be duplicated as that is a moment unlike any other. Monument also. Everything.

He is in my Life, and I am in his Life. Permanently.

 

“See, I will be writing to and about you for the rest of my life. No matter what. As you yourself said: “That’s the truth of it. Everything. It means so much. It means everything.” —You wrote that to me, and now I write it back; does it really matter who initiated any of this at this point?

It is, I continue, for old times sake, for looking out for “our” past to find “our” future, whatever it is, as if I could ever forget you, and I assume that even though you do not acknowledge me right now, you know who I am, and know what we had together. For you are part of it, whether or not you want to be.

You cannot erase it; it is established, we are the monuments of what we accomplished.

 

So many wonderful things to be said about Thomas Robert Higginson, a writer of course. From somewhere in the Universe?

The solar system?

Planet earth?

Well through him,

I have felt that I have known the universe, visited stars without getting

 

Burnt or breathing poisoned air,

Think my lungs adapted to be able to maintain respiration processes dependent on his cologne, Dakar —I never forget that, and when the atmosphere cooperates, which is every day, I move through a Dakar soup, rather primordial from which existence begins again and again and again, whenever I am with him, which also includes thought, ideas that collaborate with him, connect with him.   All the time.  Our connection  is that profound.  Our writing talks to each other, and the conversation, the poetry that comes out of these conversations, are transcripts of the experience.  I did things with him I will never do with anyone else, unless an instant connection is felt, unless there is instant chemistry.

 

I am sorry that I felt a need to make you real —I wanted to claim my space and time in your life; I wanted to make clear that I was with a “real man.”  And that you were with a “real woman.” That I made up none of it. That there really is a past to look out for,” “to [try] to find our future,” that a “future was not yet written,” etc.  It is poetry afterall.  It is meaning afterall.  It is truth.  All we have ever had is truth,

 

 

I do not know what happened to us; I think I misunderstood something important and basic about him: everything is poetry.

I am not sure how to recover this as he has asked me not to contact him further. But we will come back to each other; this is just a natural and temporary split in the constant ebb and flow of existence. I just happen to write this during the ebbing part of the cycle. Tomorrow and many tomorrows later, flow will resume, as we collaborate with Andy Goldsworthy.7

 

But this was purely the foundation of us. Everything is poetry, including and especially sex; in some ways the body’s greatest achievement.

 

It is not that I cannot write without him, but what I write is better, reaches further, moves further out, travels to locations I would never consider without the inspiration, the motivation of his eyes, his thoughts, his ears; his senses extend my senses, and it hardly matters which of one of us begins a poem, when we make it together, it always travels to locations neither of us could take it alone, and that is the beauty, the distance discovered.  Discovery is the outcome of our collaboration, perhaps also the point, and, Oh,   the surprise! That to be writing for as long as we have been writing and to still find surprise. Our poems Love each other probably better than Thomas Robert Higginson and I love each other.

But we try.

 

I am still pulling for  “US-ness” –you know I am and always will be.  Forever beside him on a bridge in Chicago.  

Our Usness!

My favorite picture of Thomas Robert Higginson and myself on a bridge in Chicago.

 

Sacred ground now, as is room 304, a hotel room that is already immortalized.  For that is where we make stuff, and realized we really could.  Chicago.  Manhattan. Ann Arbor. Detroit. Minneapolis.  Wherever we go this power goes with us, this voracious power that is never the power of one,  but the power of two, so coiled together, they are inseparable.  Pull them apart, and there is an ordinariness never possible when they make together, that exchange of the bits and  bytes, neurons of the machinery, even the machinery of our minds.  Buzz, Buzz; we are working.  We are making. Even making love, Love of each other and Love of poetry.  Inseparable love supreme.

 

 

What You Can’t Understand Is Poetry Is Connected to the Body Again —Truth directly from Him; truth  we told each other, tell each other; truth that made it necessary for us to actually touch, to make that “US-ness:” already real and truth, gospel  truth to us, also truth in the world to which  we are connected and with which we collaborate, every moment of every day,  whether or not we are physically together, for in my mind I certainly am, sometimes so exasperated with him, but loving him just the same.

He is a real man, a living collaborator, and I accept the eccentricities and inconsistencies of realities; he is definitely part of them, but when we get together, such magic happens.  If I were to see him right now, just being  honest; I would be unable to keep my hands off him; I might try not to touch him, every moment wanting to fail.  He knows this also, for we have collaborated so deeply and thoroughly, he knows exactly what I feel, And with him, always with him.  I will never be free of him. And more importantly, I do not want to be free of him, not really, for writing this, revisiting the journey of our collaboration makes me realize again as if for the very first time how special our coming together is.   He once said I was bad, and added that that is a good thing.  And he is right.  I was bad with him, in all possible good suggestions of bad, except for tying him to the bed; adventurous, eager to know the full realms of pleasure; full throttle —I was fully alive with him, and responded breathlessly to everything he did, and he responded to everything I did, and he said he wasn’t worried, because from the beginning, he could tell how much I liked everything he did; I didn’t know that level of compatibility existed. I had no idea —do you think for one minute that I want to give that up?

 

Both Poetry and Sex, for they are indeed equivalent

—Maybe I wouldn’t be writing this were I not missing him right now.

But talk about collaboration, and I have to talk about sex, that give and take, that take and give, the most erotic spell —spell, because it is so magical, like nothing else, oh the basic mechanics of sex are the same for most people, I presume,  but they lack our motivation and reason for collaborating in the first place— most erotic spell  in my life, yes; my whole life; the only sex in my life worth talking about is sex with Thomas Robert Higginson, that poetry of our bodies.

I am glad that he is such a noisy lover; I was always aware of what gave him pleasure. Just as he is aware of what gives me pleasure. He was determined to find out. I admit that I become a little sex machine with him, but only with him; something about him exposes feelings and connections that are with him and because of him. Face it, I am aware of how I look, and aware of how I look to him. So many men approach me because of how I look, not understanding that my look does not mean that just any man gets some. You do not realize what Thomas Robert does, and of course he was really after what every man seems to be after, but he was smarter than most because he actually got it, because of how he allowed me to feel, because my feelings in this connection matter to him. He didn’t want me to pretend, something that never occurred to

 

me.

I am not one who has faked an orgasm, if I feel it then you will know it, and so far I have genuinely felt that only with Thomas Robert; I didn’t know until I felt it, although I had once been married for forty years.  He really should be proud of himself.  And f of course, there is also what he felt, and I assure you that I know a lot of what he felt, all that energetic thrusting as we collaborated with and became tangled in sheets. What he did standing behind me as I tried to look out the window, but looking at him is so much better.

 

You do not understand, but from the very first time, we came together like hand and glove. In fact, given what he talked about I don’t think he has any inhibitions in connecting. He told me that anything I desire would be mine. He talked about my tender touch in our collaboration, his body gloving me —do you realize how physically close we had to be for this to happen? It was sometimes more like masturbation, and we did that too, together somehow, a whole weekend of sex—we met for that purpose. We were really collaborating when he said this: “I guess this is awkward. Not sexy. But there’s so much going on the planet Us that my head is spinning. Not unpleasant, mind you. But the view’s quite complicated. When what I want see. All I really want

 

to see. Is a clear view of all of you. And me” I don’t like when men approach me just for sex, usually because of how I look; puhlease! He said this and he meant it. Thomas Robert adores how I look, part of the collaboration; part of what drew him to me, and part of what drew me to him, and now I look even more like an ideal woman for him; exactly his type, a woman who cares about him so very deeply, the very long hair, all of it natural and, as if it grows just to connect with him, wherever he goes in the world, those black patterns and designs in asphalt are really filaments of my hair; reaching out to Thomas Robert, and he is not afraid of this; in fact, he expects it, and sometimes has wondered why it has taken me so long to allow my hair the same full reign that he encourages in me.

I love that about him, and many other things with which every memory of mine collaborates: “Well what I want you to know is this I’ve carried a torch for you since I first laid eyes on you. And if we’re ever alone, whatever you desire shall be yours.
What an extraordinary woman you are, Thylias! Your directness is not provocative, it is All Being, All the Tine (to use your language!). My body reacts to your written words as if you were touching me, it’s amazing and I like it I like it I like it.”

Art credit: Chris Rivera, @chris.riveraChristopherjphotography@gmail.com

 

 

And he was serious about how we would collaborate.  I wish I had known more then than I did that first time with him;  I love when his voice called out strongly; everyone knew what we were doing, the volume suggested that he wanted others to know that he was with me, because I am a prize and he knew how victorious he is, and I wanted others to know that I am just as proud to be seen with him, for he is also a prize for me, and he kept busy  enjoying every ounce of pleasure he could from my tiny body.

 

Such intensity of pleasure, 

and I was glad to be doing all of it with him,  the tickle of his mustache, and feeling  his mustache every-time we Kissed, OMG —a little bit of champagne!  —also his tongue in my ear —I almost couldn’t stand that, and my first thoughts that all of him would never fit inside me, but he did, and he had all kinds of lubricants just in case. 

He really prepared for this as if he was being ordered to the mines, and there was just the mine he was heading to, a homing device, the taste of me, right between my collaborating legs.  I was a fuckin muse for him just as much as he became a fuckin muse for me.

 

 

I can’t believe I am saying all this, for the sake of collaboration, much more than simply sex, for this was the actual writing of an indelible poetry right inside my body, and what a pen he had, every centimeter mightier than a sword.   And he Kissed every centimeter of me, and I kissed every centimeter of him.  I know you’re not supposed to Kiss and tell, but I must use superlatives about this man.  It’s as if I didn’t really know what Poetry is, until we made love to each other.  No parts of our bodies were off limits.   Yes; we used condoms, but not for the oral parts, and there was lots of that.  I really trusted this man, and he similarly trusted me.   I have to admit that I liked his tongue the best, because with it, he wrote poems inside me, and my breathing punctuated them, the rhythms of the sex, oh my, oh my.  We talked about this extensively, how condoms were an absolute necessity, the margins on the pages and pages of rarefied  sex, just not

 

for the oral part, he asked, and I agreed.  How else could I taste him, know a superb root of his poetry?

The best part of preparing to see each other to physically collaborate, beyond only with our minds that had already made love, but Thomas Robert asked, and he wasn’t shy about this; he knew what he wanted, and called me one night to talk me through my body, from head to toe, he told me exactly what he wanted to do, and asked if he could.  If there are rules in collaboration, the first would be to ask; just to let me know what he wanted, and since it was a question, I had

 

opportunity to refuse, but I didn’t; just his asking the way he did,  allowed me to want him, and then there is the sound of his baritone,  the recording he made me so that I could have the soothing sound of his support as I wrote about him;  just the sound of his voice makes me horripilate, little champagne bubbles of his inflection all over my arms, torso and legs, my breasts also. How I love the collaboration of my breasts in his mouth…He kissed away the goosebumps and then I got more just from his nearness, so he could never stop Kissing me and holding me, gloving me just as he said;   I even had a Brazilian wax to invite him in, oh the  language his tongue spoke inside me, and the melodies of my mouth sliding up and down him.

There are no words,

and here is where I lose my poetry, because there comes a point where words are insufficient; he and I didn’t even talk in usual ways of talking, sign languages instead, the way we looked at each other, the warmth of his palms, the smoothness of his chest. I didn’t tell him this, but from the moment his hand touched mine in O’Hare, the first connection of his flesh and my flesh, I started feeling sensations that became full-fledged and unstoppable desire by the time we were outside the airport and he opened his coat, and welcomed me inside it with him, and the only air then was his Dakar. My nose is always looking for the scent of him; it isn’t just Dakar that anyone may buy, but the scent of Dakar on his skin, a scent unique to him. Thomas Robert Higginson was prepared for anything that might happen. We were writing a very different kind

of poem, in that extreme collaboration, of our bodies: tongues and fingers everywhere.  That touching without limits.   Stanza of Kiss, onomatopoeia of Kiss also, metaphor of everything that exists from those fiery touches, he said the fire would meld us together and it did, because this wasn’t the primary goal of our connection, —which is poetry— but a completion; it wasn’t just sex at all, but so much more;  he indeed wanted to collaborate that way also, but he is smart enough, he feels enough not to ask me for only that, the way too many men do; he never rushed me but knew what I would need to feel, and that is it right there; I have to feel it or I can’t do it; I had to really desire him just as he really desires me; I had to want to collaborate with him physically; that is what is important; I wanted to do everything I did with him.

There is no part of each other that we did not explore, one way or the other. I am remembering the first time with him because that set the tone for everything that followed. It was easy because we had already Kissed in the taxi all the way from O’Hare to the hotel, and I had no idea that I would respond to him as I did, this 60-year-old woman making out with a 66-year-old man in the back seat of a taxi, but I was hoping; the physical things he promised as no one can ever promise because it was him, that is the only reason; he is the only reason.

 

Art credit: Vivian Nimue Wood, @viviana_boscardin, Vale d’ Aosta, Italy

 

My Thomas Robert Higginson knew how to do everything exactly the way I needed for them to be done.  Somehow he just knew, and he didn’t approach me just for the physical enactment of

 

our connection, but I am so glad he wanted that —I would have felt insulted otherwise; the man does indeed have eyes, and so much more than that; he would make me laugh by telling me I had no idea what he can do, and he was right; I had no idea at all, for if he had told me that physically collaborating with him would cause me to feel, what i feel with him, I would not have believed him.  And he did work far beyond the mere necessity of asking; Thomas Robert understood the kind of sex I needed, that is what he promised the kind of sex I needed, he made it his business to figure out just what it was, and knowing exactly what I needed, besides what we both wanted, made this the most fulfilling experience of my life that and how I responded to him thoroughly, We really collaborated in a most enticing and seductive way.

Don’t let his look fool you!

 

That man is far sexier than you may think.  I ought to know.  We collaborated in the shower; he can do simply amazing things. Anywhere.   I ought to know because I did them with him. I’ve done that only in thinking about him, sometimes that dildo he gave me in hand.  Yes;  a lot of my

 

time with him —even time in my mind— was good and nasty, and that is a part of the complexity that makes being with him so good.   Maybe I emphasize the physical right now, for what we have is complete, the cerebral and the nasty —even Einstein9  did that,

 

What You Can’t Understand Is Poetry Is Connected to the Body Again

—Thomas Robert Higginson10

 

POEM

What You Can’t Understand Is Poetry
Is Connected to the Body Again

(Dateline: 9/2/97)

 

What You Can’t Understand Is Poetry

Is Connected to the Body Again

(Dateline: 9/2/97)

Jean allowed the body to drop
The beautiful face bluing so perfect
A fly buzzed by — but no one would believe it
She raced frantically to the offices of the National Enquirer
A reporter wrote up the story — it made the cover
Now she could get the attention of the radical newsweekly
That only told the truth
She just casually flipped it down on the desk
“Hey,” an editor reading upside-down said,
“What if this story is true? It would certainly change
Our story — maybe we should look into this.
Hey! Stop those presses!”

Jean walked away. Horns were blaring,
It was a brilliant dusty sunset and the sirens were distorting.
She didn’t hear em.
She was remembering her lover’s face,
What they’d said about how you never know
If someone else’s orgasm is better than yours
But that shoudn’t stop you
From coming together
Even if it’s not exactly
At the same time.

ESSAY

 

What You Can’t Understand Is Poetry

The title says it all and says it with a line break in case you think that “Spoken Word Poets” are not “Real Poets.” Real Poets eat line breaks for breakfast.

I love to read the title at a reading, parsing it out like this:

“What You Can’t Understand
(take a little pause here)
Is
(big emphasis on IS, and a little pause, get ready for the matter-of-fact, always with us:) Poetry.”

The Perfect Lie. One always “understands” poetry! When you jump on the horse and it takes off, you don’t ask where’s it going, you exalt, here we go! No no. Wait. Reading a poem, that’s not like that is it? not like riding a horse?….

What you can’t understand is poetry – because it’s a mystery why poetry exists in the first place. Although you could actually say the same thing for language itself, which I suppose is what philosophers do. Which came first, the thought or the word? sounds Wittgensteinian to me.
It’s like when you say, something is lost in translation, what part is it that gets lost? The poetry. The poetry is what’s lost, get it? The joy is in knowing that what you don’t understand, exactly that, is a mix of sound and meaning, body and song that is, all together, what makes a poem
a poem.

Again and again, not making sense! And this is what so many think (please don’t agree with them!) — that poetry is hard, obscure, difficult-to-impossible to understand.

WHEN IT WAS CONNECTED TO THE BODY YOU JUST DANCED IT—Who said that?!

Hey, hey, Order in The Poem! Let’s PLEASE stick to this first line of the title before releasing the second. So ok, let’s just say that the first line of the title is simply agreeing with what everyone is always saying – Oy, Poetry! You can’t understand it.

Thus
Ends
The
First
Line
Of
The
Title

What You Can’t Understand Is Poetry

so we take a little pause here, in performance, and then (finally!) go on to:

Is Connected

And then a little pause here, so that it becomes: What You Can’t Understand is Poetry is Connected, which is another truism that’s actually a false-ism: the easy way is to say that – Poetry IS connected, is the essence, to life/to meaning , and, here back to the title (say it!) – To The Body. Now we’re getting to what the body of the poem is, and why this is the title – it’s about the physical, and when I think physical, the body, I think of Orality.

Even though we think of it that way, the dialectic is not Literacy and Illiteracy. Illiteracy simply designates an individual’s inability to read. Orality, as Walter Ong points out, is a separate and equivalent consciousness: when there’s no writing, the only way to pass things on is person-to-person, body-to-body. You could say, “We Are the Book.” This idea, devastatingly simple, is at the root of this poem, indeed, of my whole “body of work” as a poet. How to capture the way Poetry was connected to Existence, something that was inherent in Oral Consciousness, is what I’m after. It’s what my mother showed me – she didn’t read a book to me. The book was talking. In her voice.

Again

Comes in after a pause. Because we used to “understand” this. In fact, “understand,” the way we understand understand, is totally colored by literacy. Before writing, there was a spew of sound that carried the speaker’s meaning – you’d ask the person to explain what they meant, but you never asked someone what a word meant because – there were no words! Before writing there were no words there was only meaning, and I know that seems crazy but again only because we don;’t get what a different consciousness Orality is. When writing began, there was no separation between words because what was being said came at you like a block of meaning, not words arranged in a pattern.

And now, in this time of Literacy Consciousness, I am suggesting that we learn (unlearn?) to “connect the poem to the body again.” Since the triumph of Literature, Poetry’s voice has been owned by the book. And I love books, I write ‘em myself and read a lot – my walls are lined with them. And the quiet space midbrain where we read to ourselves? That is a private space where we are most ourselves, a holy space. But the Poem has another power, a power we left behind when we left Oral Consciousness behind. We can feel it as children, when we haven’t yet learned to read. Some kind of magic and musicality, inherent when reading aloud, that’s what I’m after, in general, in my work, and specifically in the two-lined title and following body of the poem known as:

What You Can’t Understand Is Poetry
Is Connected To The Body Again

The poem is divided into two stanzas, twelve lines and ten. Kind of ungainly and awkward as to line lengths, form doesn’t’t sit easily here, even if both stanzas end with four-word lines. The poem is prosy, it sort of seems to tell a story, even if we can’t quite tell what it’s about (the old “understand” bugaboo again), a story that makes headlines. It has a character with a name (Jean, named for Jean Howard, who I knew in Chicago as one of the first poets to use film to make poetry, someone who understood the non-separation of poetry performance), and it even ends with what may well be a joke. So it’s a Poem that evokes all manner of non-poetry forms – novel, play, journalism, joke.

Let me tell you a story: the “Plot” of the Poem

Jean allowed the body to drop

 

 

OK. Is this the “body” from the title? At least. Right after we learn that the body and poetry are connected again, our hero, Jean, drops the body! Is this so that her poetry is completely for the Intellect? Because as she drops the body (which we will later learn is her lover’s), the body dies.

The beautiful face bluing so perfect

“Beautiful” and “perfect” in the same line – ach! Redolent of romantic poesy, these are words that each signal Poem without the work, and here they are, together – the face is “beautiful” but dying (or dead? “bluing”) and thus can become “perfect.” What a move!

A move so insistent, so bold, so over-the top, that the only thing that can possibly cap it is line 3

A fly buzzed by—

Emily Dickinson! At her best! “I heard a Fly buzz – when I died” (Johnson #591/ Franklin #465). This sure enough is the way Death sounds, sigh. Well, the fly was buzzing and still is buzzing and forever will be buzzing as sure a sign of Death as the Death Haiku, that Japanese form where the dying poet holds quill and scroll and just as last breath escapes, concludes the final character of the final line – 5-7-5.
but no one would believe it

Dear Reader/Listener, you are perfectly within your rights to ask What is it that no one would believe? That our hero, Jean, would drop the body? That words like “beautiful” and “perfect” could conjure up dear Emily’s fly (“bluing” is pretty cool), the Essence of Death? Indeed, why is Jean even concerned that anyone believe that her lover/Poetry itself has died? Is she the murderer? Must she have the Truth be told, it’s what she as a Poet must do? All the above? We don’t know, so it’s all these things and probably more and we’re only at line 3, my God!

Because what happens next makes one thing pretty clear about our Ms Jean – she certainly does know how to get a story out. Since this is taking place during the Media Age Stage of Late Literacy, just before the Birth of the Digital Age,

She raced frantically to the offices of the National Enquirer,

the biggest, ever-lying, sleazeball publication of them all. Jean knows the world of print: to get the absolute widest possible distribution, the most explosive telling of this Death, it’s got to be — the checkout counter rag!

A reporter wrote up the story

The story of course is that the body died from lack of connection to the poem. And guess what,

—it made the cover.

And our story could end there, the headline “POETRY FOUND DEAD: BODY SEVERED FROM SOUL.” But Noooo. Jean has a bigger game plan. As Lines 6-7 state ,

Now she could get the attention of the radical newsweekly
That only told the truth

So first she goes for and gets the Big Blast Sensationalism Launch, and now she’s circling back to get the liberal Truth-tellers. She wants to get the story told to the biggest possible audience AND she wants it to be politically correct. Or at least be validated by the liberal media.

She just casually flipped it down on the desk

She may have raced frantically to get this into The Enquirer, to play into the demands of yellow journalism, but here for the thoughtful Voice or Nation, she plays it cool.

So cool that (Line 9)

“Hey,” an editor

(she’s moving up, no mere reporter here!)

reading upside-down

(truly literate, can read upside-down!)

said. What if this story is true?

(you can never be sure about Enquirer stories – but something in Jean’s demeanor….)

It would certainly change
Our story

(they had a story? How interesting? What could that have been?)

maybe we should look into this.

So the radical newsweekly already has the story but it is Jean’s version of the Body dying from lack of connection to the poem, for which, even filtered as it is through the hyperbole of the Enquirer, the radical newsweekly is willing to Stop the presses!

It’s an image I loved in black & white, the massive whirling printing presses grinding to a halt, screaming headlines erupting. The news is overpowering!

We know that Poetry is News that Stays News (Pound), that it Makes Nothing Happen (Auden), that It Is Difficult / To Get The News From Poems / Yet Men Die Miserably Every Day / From Lack / Of What is Found There (Williams – Rich used the last six words as the title for her great book of essays).
Hey! Stop those presses!

Now we understand, as Jean understands, that the life, music, vitality of the poem can never be separated from the poem’s meaning. By physicalizing the so-called Death of Poetry, she in fact shows us that poetry will never die. THAT POETRY IS CONNECTED TO THE BODY AGAIN and the single voice and vision of our poet-hero Jean is going to make, well, not sure what, let’s call it Nothing. Make Nothing happen. But I mean, make it really happen.

She does. She just puts an end to the literary tradition, right then and there. We get the poem to the book and then our job is done. Gets published, distributed, bought, and read. Each step of course is fraught with complications, and at the end maybe 2000 copies will sell, but hey, this’s a poem, so let’s just give it the drama that Mayakovsky did when he demanded an airplane with propeller whirling be parked outside his study so that when he finished one it would be whisked away to the publisher – not a second to lose.

The second verse begins, like the first, again with our hero, Jean. But now

Jean walked away. Horns were blaring,

Is it celebratory tooting, poetry’s reconnection being cheered on by the public at large? Or simply the continuing, ongoing noise of our blatting culture? Both? Both. The Poet’s Choice, as Gregory Corso once told me, “When somebody asks you to pick one, always take both.”

The cinematic vein of “Stop the presses!” continues,

It was a brilliant dusty sunset

Yes, in a poem you can pick both, and the unusable poem-word “sunset” can become even more golden when it’s “brilliant” and “dusty”

and the sirens were distorting.

Is it the Apocalypse brought about by reconnection of Poetry with Body (again)? Or is it Just the Apocalypse? Both (you’re getting it!).

It’s the end of The Terminator, of Snowpiercer, the end of every walk-into-the-sunset Hollywood potboiler poem ever written.

Jean has passed on the oral tradition into print. She has insinuated Orality into Text, clawing her way into the inner sanctum of the print medium. And, in so doing, she has preserved her lover’s face for all eternity.

She didn’t hear em.

What didn’t she hear? The car horns playing music – Beethoven? Ode to Joy? Guns N’ Roses? Randy Newman’s Faust? Aretha’s Respect? David Thomas’s Mirror Man? or Captain Beefheart’s, for that matter.

She was remembering her lover’s face

Yes, the action of creating art, of living her life in the service of Poetry, has caused her to lose the Poem Itself, the Source! Her lover’s face now fades in through the Apocalyptic Sunset Waltz, and now she does hear, not music nor horns nor sirens but words, just words and now it’s clearer, the conversation with her lover,

What they’d said about how you never know

True Poet lovers know you Never Know, echoing the poem’s title, and in that way stay connected – Poem as Body – but this line break skittering into riot control

If someone else’s orgasm is better than yours –

Yes! Exactly! Understanding a poem and demanding a locked-down analysis, forever footnoted and irrefutable, — who would know, who could know? The meanings keep changing. Eros is flowering out the mouth, People! Only the poem/orgasm stays the same.

But that shouldn’t stop you

from what? From having an orgasm? Well, yes, of course, but there’s more –

From coming together

Yes, that’s it! That’s what the poem in the oral mode is about – it’s about the audience experiencing together the meaning of the poem, the connection of the griot to the body politic, the poem bringing/giving Rapture that the listener accepts/understands. Brings all that inside.

Even if it’s not exactly

o! the quivering between Oral and Written, the twin mouths finding each other, that poem that is the kiss, not exactly, OMG whatever IS exactly, Jean, Jean you must not leave us in the vagueness of not exactly, the orgasm goes back inside …

At the same time

Yes, she said, Yes! “You never know if someone else’s orgasm is better than yours, but that shouldn’t stop you from coming together. Even if it’s not exactly at the same time.” Oh God! as these realizations ripple through the audience, wave after profound wave of orgasm, feeding each other, yes, coming together years later, why, it is – it’s a Poem! It can be read later, after the poet is long-gone dead, it’s still being read. You are coming with the poet years later as the orgasm of meaning reconnects you at that moment. Ah, Jean and Emily!  The gentle laugh as her lover, dead and blued and perfect and gone gone gone, reconnects through the poem.  The fly! The fly! Then the fly buzzed by

Art credit: Nathalie von Arx, Zurich, Switzerland

 

RESPONSE

BLUE COMING

Blue Coming
Blue Coming: After Bob Holman’s “What You Can’t Understand Is Poetry Is Connected to the Body Again”
Colorado Review – Volume 42, Number 2, Summer 2015

(in response to Bob Holman’s Poem: “What You Can’t Understand
is Poetry is Connected to the Body Again):

BLUE COMING

RESPONSE

BLUE COMING

(CLICK TO HEAR THYLIAS MOSS READ THIS POEM,

Thylias Moss

Poetry is connected to the body,

part of my fingertips, just as blue as anything that ever was or will be blue–

–blue that dye aspires to, true blue denied to any sapphire,

        Logan sapphire included, even

if she wears some on those blue fingers, blue spreads, consumes her

as if she hatched from an Araucana egg:

SHE IS BLUE, fingers, bluest hands ever, shoulders, breasts, every

     nook and cranny blue, big bad wolf says: how blue you are!

    The better to blue you….

She, so blue today, visits Offices of the National Enquirer to

    report on this surging of blue epidemic, Blue bottle fly bluer

    than any sound buzzing, fly buzzing as blue as it can, making

    the Blues, making

The Blues mean something very different –such music from

    beating of wings, some of what has spread blue throughout

     her bluing body,

blue buzz

even layers of atmosphere: blue buzz: name of a new Crayola crayon

    and marker, manufactured from her fingertips Blue

   Buzz Blood group She bleeds an orgasmic paint set. She bleeds

   a blue layer her lover’s face becoming blue she’s dreaming of

   again, blue as his face That defines blue for her blue orgasm,

   so much blue everywhere world become blue for her –story of

   this massive bluing –true story on the cover of papers –turning

   blue once in her atmosphere

Blue static Blue stuttering

Blue hands

Blue —Code Blue–coming together, what a mighty tincture–-

   not exactly at the same time, but coming, connected to coming

    Her fingertips writing a

Blue coming.

by Thylias Moss

also published in “Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities’ Red Dress Code” by Thylias Moss, Persea books, 2016, a New and Selected volume that contans poems from all of her publihsed books of poetry except “Small Congregations” a previous collection of New and Seleceed poems published by Ecco press and praised by  by Harold Bloom.

 

"Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery f Reliries" Red Dress Code

Cover of “Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery Of Realities’ Red Dress Code

 

06.Small Congregations


The Charlie Rose Interview in which Harold Bloom mentions me at 12:01

 

 

 

 

ENDNOTES:

1 From a love poem Thomas Robert Higginson wrote for me, “You Are the Corner of My Eye” published in New Kiss Horizon as “A Trip to the Tienda.”

2 A pseudonym

3 Excerpt From: Emily Dickinson. “Letters of Emily Dickinson.” iBooks.

4 How prophetic on his part, for this volume was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

5 Excerpt From: Francis Bacon, Ignatius Donnelly, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, C. J. Cutliffe Hyne, W. Scott Elliot & John, Third Marquess of Brute. “Tales of Atlantis.” iBooks.

6 “Limited Fork Theory” <http://www.4orkology.com> and <http://www.4orked.com>

7 “as in “Rivers and Tides” =, his definitive film about flow and collaboration, see that film here: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7sZv4_0Fxg>

8 A collaboration of Thylias Moss and Thomas Robert Higginson forthcoming likely in Nightboat, 2017, a collaboration that began as “Moving Dance of Reduction” with a quote by Bringhurst; Thomas Robert sent Thylias the initial salvo, and back and forth the emerging poem went until Thylias wrote the line “armadillo style” to which Thomas Robert responded “Wow!” and whenever Wow comes, the poem is done. Praises to armadillos. I never would have arrived at armadillo without collaboration through time and space with Thomas Robert Higginson. I will always love this expansion of space and meaning that I know only with him, my muse, and if that isn’t Love, what is?

9 “Einstein” — the Genius series on National Geographic <http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/genius/videos/einstein-chapter-one1/>

10 Published acknowledging the real man behind the pseudonym, Bob Holman.

11 “Blue Coming” was also published in “Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities’ Red Dress Code” by Thylias Moss, Persea Books, 2016, and in Poets & Writers online, also in 2016, where you may hear Thylias Moss read “Blue Coming”: <https://www.pw.org/content/wannabe_hoochie_mama_gallery_of_realities_red_dress_code>


About the author: 

Thylias Moss, a self-employed multi-racial “maker” at Thylias Moss Writing LLC, is also Professor Emerita in the Departments of English and Art & Design at the University of Michigan. Author of 13 published books, and recipient of numerous awards and honors, among them a MacArthur Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, her 11th book, a collection of New & Selected Poetry, “Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities’ Red Dress Code” (from Persea Books, October 2016) as part of Limited Fork Theory, an approach to making and thinking developed in order to assist co-makers and co-learners to become more collaborative in thinking and being. All about how things interact across all boundaries, and encouragement of interaction that becomes more meaningful over time; all have collaborators. Nothing makes alone, and everything makes; there is nothing that exists that does not make stuff in some form, which is also open: any form that becomes possible; invent whenever necessary. “Making” is not static, is evidence of life, as is book #12, collaborations, with Thomas Higginson, a collection of poems, Aneurysm of the Firmament, 2016 and a romance novel, New Kiss Horizon 2016,  about Vashti Astapad Warren and Thomas Robert Higginson. Follow the lives of these characters beyond the book in Vashti’s Blog. She has also completed an as yet unpublished collection of prose poams: “LFMK (Looking for my Killer)” –an act of public service, currently being read by a potential publisher. And a book about her fther.

 

Follow Thylias Moss on twitter: @4orkergirl 

 

 

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Fedora

Today, I completed a poem about my favorite hat, 

 

A MOST SPECIAL HATFairly ordinary, I guess as far as hats are concerned.  But I tend to wear this hat most days.

 

A gift from a friend of mine, Thomas Robert Higginson; it’s my hat now.

 

Some photos of me in this hat, and more photos of the hat itself:

This is also collaboration with his hat; little bit of him remains in it.  

Golden Coach

by Dobbs

 

 

I have already promised to wear my hat for someone.  Pole-dancing I believe.  

Will say more when there is more to say. 

 

Great Wednesday in these Ann Arbor parts.

 

All about my hat, a gift from Thomas Robert Higginson, Ansted Moss composed and performed the music that I arranged, and I also perform the vocals, derived from poems written by co-learners (members) of a graduate writing encounter, called “class” by others.

 

I am most eager to honor a most special hat, and lucky that a system of co-learners happened to write  poems about a “Fedora“, poems that I compiled into a soundtrack for this little unassuming slideshow.

 

Please enjoy.

Thank you.

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

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.

Mexico City here I come!

I am a good chica, I think.  

I m a good chica, I hope.

More details now about the trip:

 

DETAILS FOR MEXICO CITY:

Dear Thylias,

allow me please to comment that this will be the second edition of this poetry encounter, that last year gathered 22 poets from the five continents and more than 120 from the Mexico City and other regions of Mexico. This is a link:

http://data.cultura.cdmx.gob.mx/diverso/index.php/participantes-internacionales/

This year we’ve invited some 30 international poets, and it is our desire to approach the urgent issues as the frontiers (not only the geopoliticals, but also between media, genres).

So we ‘d like to propose you’d do a reading accompanied by your video poems. We’re interested in the experimental aspects of your work, though of course we’re open to your suggestions and we’d like to comply to your wishes.

About the hotels, very soon we’ll let you know.

The events will take place at several locations in Mexico City, like the Mexican Library and some other cultural centers. Our staff will accompany you to your planned activities so that you can be sure to arrive there.

About your books, could you please inform us if your have a publisher in Spanish, and in that case, give us their contact?

In order to start planning your participation, we’d kindly ask you to send us the following information:

– a short paragraph (10 – 15 lines) in order to present you to Mexican public (biography data, titles published, languages that  your work has been translated into )

– high-resolution photo portrait  (with the photographer’s credit, if any)

– a poem and also a translation into Spanish (if there’s one) . Please indicate whether is an inedit piece or, if it has been already published, please provide info. about the publication source.

– links to social media (facebook, instagram, twitter, …)

 II) TRIP and HOTEL

–  City / airport of departure:

–  Food preference (vegetarian…):

–  Please attach scanned copy of passport :

Should you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to write to us.

Warm regards,

Marianna

They want my video poems! I am even more delighted knowing this! 

For instance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHZdiXmNghQ&index=6&list=PLndg3mxeIxFyIegs9xYRfurlhcVBmigqk

3 poams from LFMK coming to Outlook Springs!

Three prose poams from my LFMK collection of Prose poams: “Looking For My Killer: Where Controversy Breeds” currently being considered by Jamii, a publisher (I am hoping for the best possible outcome, and for women taking back the night; what sacrfice this woman is.  

 

 

Let those of us who live thank her every day);

 

These three prose poams from that collection, will appear in Outlook Springs:

 

(Personnel of Outlook Springs)

  1. “Earthquake Vash (Predicted by the Seismograph in the Heart)”
  2. “Small Virtue And Gimme Some A+Bliss
  3. “Status Report on Slinky Lust “and the video poam that reveals the public service that the narrator provides in this video poam: “Looking for My Killer, Where Controversy Breeds”

 

Words written by, sung by, text cheorography by Thylias Moss in an attempt to save other woman from such assaults and slayings.  I also made the film itself, filmed myself walking streets of Saline, Michigan.

 

Why not there? Isn’t that the point? Women may be brutalized anywhere, even in their homes.  

 

Music composed and performed by Ansted Moss; I arranged the music for this video poam and for the book itself.  

 

and now some of the tortured ad brutalized women:

 

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/trans-women-of-color-face-an-epidemic-of-violence-and-murder-673

 

The incoherent response by cops is just making the problem worse.

Photo via Eisha Love’s Model Mayhem page

Between October 2013 and the end of this September, according to international reports gathered by the European group Transrespect versus Transphobia (TvT), 226 transgender people were murdered around the world. Most were trans women of color. Those numbers were gathered by painstakingly raking through news articles and by reports submitted through partner organizations in places like Honduras and Thailand.

The website for Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoF) has its own list of names of the dead, featuring some 700 trans people—mostly women of color, again—brutally murdered in recent years. TDoF’s list goes back all the way to 1970, but the bulk of the homicides took place between 2000 and 2012.

Both lists offer a horrifying record of hate. No murder is pleasant, but the killings of trans women tend to be particularly sick. Victims are dragged behind a car, burned alive, stoned to death, skinned, or—far too often—beaten to death in the middle of a crowded street or party.

It’s clear from the descriptions of these homicides that transgender women, especially low-income trans women of color, face an epidemic of violence and murder.

When two black trans women were murdered just six weeks apart in Baltimore this summer, trans women in the community told reporters they were terrified to go outside for fear of both the usual police harassment, and what appeared to them to be a targeted attack on their identities.

“It’s scary trusting anyone,” Baltimore’s LaSia Wade told the Guardian in August. “That bus driver, he could be the killer; that taxi man, he could be looking at me and thinking: ‘That’s a transgender woman, I’m going to knock her off.'”

So why do police keep arresting trans women of color who defend themselves during violent attacks? And why do so many murders of trans women not only go unsolved and remain under-investigated, but not even tagged by law enforcement as hate crimes?

“Usually what we see is homicides of low income trans women of color are the ones where police don’t respond as fast as they should with the forcefulness that they should. It’s not just a trans issue, then, but an issue of income and color,” Osman Ahmed, research and education coordinator for the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), said in an interview with VICE today.

NCAVP tracks violence data through 54 member organizations in 24 US states and Canada. Because the Department of Justice doesn’t currently track data on gender and sexual orientation, it can be frustrating to try and gather homicide statistics through law enforcement agencies.

In addition, the FBI’s annual Hate Crimes report is inherently flawed due to low participation. Critics cried foul in 2011 when the state of Mississippi reported only one hate crime, while cities like New York that have entire divisions devoted to tracking and investigating hate crimes consistently report more.

“In terms of the hate crimes stats the FBI publishes every year, it’s not a complete national picture,” said Ahmed, whose organization works directly with law enforcement agencies to increase both sensitivity and accountability when dealing with LGBTQ victims. “Whatever they are reporting is lower than what’s really going on. Especially with low-income trans women of color: they go missing and there’s no follow up, there’s no investigation.”

Ahmed told VICE that law enforcement doesn’t arbitrarily decide not to care about the homicides of transgender women. Instead, this is a deeply layered problem that has just as much to do with a history of police violence and community mistrust.

“Trans women of color are very much more likely to experience police violence after reporting hate violence,” said Ahmed. “Friends and family members of victims are less likely to approach police because of this kind of victim blaming as well as mis-gendering and transphobia.”

In fact, when transgender women of color go to police to report a violent attack, they are often themselves charged with a crime and jailed.

Take the case of CeCe McDonald, a young, black trans fashion design student who went to jail for manslaughter. Her crime? While in the midst of being attacked by a homophobic Neo-Nazi amped up on meth in Minneapolis, McDonald took a pair of fabric scissors out of her purse and held them in front of her. Her attacker ran toward her anyway, and later died from the stab wound.

McDonald was finally freed after 19 months of a 41-month sentence in a men’s prison, a place she never should have gone in the first place regardless of her conviction. Her release was on terms of good behavior, but the international protests and support of Orange Is The New Black actress Laverne Cox certainly didn’t hurt.

If only Eisha Love could be so lucky.

Love and friend Tiffany Gooden stopped to get gas at a station in Chicago when men began yelling slurs at the two black transgender women. One of the men punched Love in the face, and after realizing they were under attack, the two women got in the car and attempted to drive away, only to be pinned from behind by one of the men’s cars while the other tried to open the driver’s side door. Terrified, Love maneuvered the car around and hit one of the attackers, severely injuring his leg.

The two women escaped with their lives. But when Love went to file a police report detailing the attack, she was arrested.

Love is still in jail, charged with first-degree attempted murder. Her passenger Tiffany Gooden had no such luck—two months after the attack, she was murdered in the very neighborhood where the attack occurred.

Gooden’s mother has since told reporters that threats were made against her daughter. “They were saying they was going to kill her. They were saying they were going to get ‘his’ ass because ‘he’ was riding in the car.”

Chicago police are severely fucking this up. If law enforcement had investigated the attack on Love and Gooden instead of bizarrely throwing Love in jail, Gooden might be alive today.

Likewise, Orange County police fucked up Zoraida Reyes’ murder probe this June, at first claiming there were no signs of foul play even though her body was found in a dumpster behind a dairy queen. After regular community protests, OC cops later ‘fessed up that Reyes had been choked to death, and her killer was found in October. But even then, police refused to acknowledge the death was most likely a hate crime.

“For many, the lives of transgender people don’t matter and they’re viewed as disposable,” Reyes’ friend Jorge Gutierrez told the Los Angeles Times. “We know that her identity as a trans woman was a huge factor, whether the police want to acknowledge it or not.”

After four trans women were murdered over a 20-month period in Ohio, community members became frustrated with what they said was a refusal on the part of police to view the murders as even potential hate crimes.

“We hear from police departments that there is no reason to believe a crime is hate-motivated,” Aaron Eckhardt of the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) told Buzzfeed. “For us in the community, that sounds like an affront. Prior to any real investigation happening, it is used to deflect conversation. We would like to hear that they are investigating all possibilities.”

When law enforcement agencies refuse to take murders of transgender women seriously enough to recognize them as hate crimes, it perpetuates a community mistrust that comes full circle when and if police do seek answers in murder investigations.

“Very often, from the beginning of investigations into the deaths of trans women, there is a lot of transphobia coming in to play, and that translates into the alienation of community members who would otherwise be able to help,” Ahmed told VICE.

Follow Mary Emily O’Hara on Twitter.

from https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/trans-women-of-color-face-an-epidemic-of-violence-and-murder-673

 

and this article:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/746797/Fort-Worth-Texas-Racism-attack-woman-daughters-arrested-police

Fort Worth arrestSTAR TELEGRAM

The woman was arrested by the officer after the confrontation

The officer asks Craig: “Why don’t you teach your son not to litter?”“He can’t prove to me that my son littered,” she responded. “But it doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t, it doesn’t give him the right to put his hands on him.”

The officer replied: “Why not?”

Next, Craig is seen getting closer to the officer and angrily shouting at him before her 15-year-old daughter attempts to stand between them.

The officer next wrestles Craig to the floor and handcuffs her before pointing his Taser at the daughter forcing her to lay on the ground. 

Craig’s 19-year-old daughter Brea Hymond, who is thought to have filmed the incident, was also arrested. 

Fort Worth arrest

STAR TELEGRAM

One of the daughters got in the way of the officer and her mother before she was pushed out the way

Craig’s 15-year-old daughter was also taken into custody but was later released.The Fort Worth police department released a statement which said: “The investigators worked throughout the night and into the morning interviewing witnesses and reviewing video evidence; including video from a body own camera that was active during the incident.

“The involved officer has been placed on restricted duty status by the Chief of Police pending the outcome of the internal investigation.

Fort Worth young daughter arrestedSTAR TELEGRAM

The young daughter had a taser pointed at her before she was arrested by police

“As this is an internal investigation, state law limits the information that may be released, including the officer’s body cam footage.”About 100 protesters are thought to have gathered outside the old Tarrant Country Courthouse on Thursday night calling for the officer to be fired.

At a news conference earlier on Thursday evening, Star Telegram report that Lee Merritt, an attorney representing the family, said: “It’s not a situation where someone used a racial slur, but racism is still all over it.”

“If a white mother had called police about their son being choked, I guarantee that the officer would not have bypassed the suspect and arrested the mother.”

The man accused of assaulting the seven-year-old boy has not been arrested however police are still investigating the incident.

from: http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/746797/Fort-Worth-Texas-Racism-attack-woman-daughters-arrested-police

and this:

Woman brutally beaten in Santa Ana nightclub attack

Police are still searching for five people who beat a 23-year-old woman unconscious early Saturday outside a downtown Santa Ana nightclub.
Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
______________
Time TO “TAKE BACK THE NIGHT!”
(JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE)
AND FINALLY, RANDY CRAWFORD, “GIVE ME THE NIGHT”:

Book about my father

At long last, I begin a book about my father,  a book I have long needed to write.

 

It is a distinct pleasure to recall the man whe invented my first name for me, and had ideas about love  well ahead of anything you hear about now.

He  never tried to force upon me traditional views of women, and was glad anytime I excelled.  He always thought I could, encouraged that. And most of all, he was against spanking.  He sadid that something worthy of love should not be hit.  I was never spanked.  Did not make sense to him.  To punish is not to show love, and on that we agree.  I grew up seeking alternates, always; I still believe that, is an intrinsic part of me, my core.  This belief is my foundaation on which the rest of me is built.  This is the part of me that does not waver, no matter what I face; if it is wroth loving, don’t hit it, don’t bully it into obdeience; let it decide that kindness and compassion are better ways, but unless the individual comes to such decisions on her own, she has been bullied into it, and that won’t succeed  for long, perpetuated “bullying” as a strategy, instead of someone realizing the advantages, the respect  for all, the envionment included, if we love it, we don’t hit it with pollutants etc.   

 

Just how I grew up, the predicate for all of me.

 

I knew my father until my mid-twenties… He died the year before I graduated from Oberlin, something he would have loved to see… He never met my son born in 1991 ANSTED WITH IPOD TORONTO.jpg

 

Ansted with iPod in Toronto.jpg

–all I can try to give him are my memories. As my father died before the height of the digital age, unlike those of us in it now, I have no recordings of his voice except for an old Webcor tape recorder that I had until I was about ten; at my mother’s house now, somewhere, and if any of the old tapes remain, and we can get them to a facility that can extract material from old reel-to-reel tapes, then we’d have what I most want: to hear his voice again…

Not a problem for those born more recently where even phones take movies and record voice –and of course I’ve written extensively about my father, but are I need to do it more… Yes, a memoir! –I was 26 when he died… I knew him very well is my point, but my son, his only grandchild actually connected to him genetically never knew him… and that’s such a shame, as in so many ways, body type, etc, and certain habits, they are so alike, interests; my father would have loved talking to my son, and as my son has a sperm donor Bangladeshi biological father, he didn’t have a certain closeness and bonding with a man in his life, other than my ex-spouse no relation to my son, and the way I had to become pregnant is an exceedingly ugly story, but it is my story, a story in which my time with my father is nestled. He was a drinker, especially Mr. Boston, and I would go with him to the State Store where such alcohol had to be purchased… Never in the supermarkets, from which we had to use jitneys to bring the groceries home –he always did the grocery shopping, not my mother, and he preferred washing dishes as no one else could get them clean enough, etc.. and so much that I remember, but my son has no memories of him of his own, and there are only a few pictures, and none of them can talk, none of them can move, no holograms for instance… No way to go back to capture anything. My father was a huge fan of the Space program and of scifi movies; he and I would watch them every weekend, especially on a show hosted by Ghoulardi –my mother hated such shows as they eschewed religion…

 

–of course I knew him, but not long enough… He was truly an ideal father! –and I guess many would say that I was a spoiled daughter…–“spoiled” –as in unrefrigerated meat, produce, milk spoiled as in well past an expiration, or “sell-by”, “use-by” date; rancid odor, that type of thing, but drenched in love is hardly spoiled in my mind….but I wasn’t at all… In a memoir supposedly about my life, “Tale of a Sky Blue Dress“, I have an opening chapter about being a little girl growing up with my parents, but the memoir veers into what happened to me when I was fifteen, rape, pregnancy, abortion in NYC, and my father riding in the car my uncle drove to take me to NY, the only state in the country where abortions were legal in 1970 –I was in the third trimester –such abortions are discouraged, sometimes through violent means, now –that pregnancy especially mars the memory, but life cannot mar “life” –rape and ensuing pregnancy “spoiled me”, ruined me in a way… so this is what to me must have stood out in his mind about me upon his death! –education was so important to him; he was a reader, yet saw none of my books, the first of which “Hosiery Seams on a Bowlegged Woman” was published in 1983, three years after his death… I wish he at least could have seen me graduate from Oberlin first in my class, and Phi Beta Kappa! –what an honor for a woman, a Black and Native woman! –this is what I mean; he never knew such truths of me.  And now so many books I have written, he would have loved all of them. 

 

 

He was responsible for getting me books to read beyond my mother’s only choice:  the bible:

 

 

High time he had his own book.  I can’t believe I have waited so long to write it.

Because my father was such a drinker, and that was what my mother most despised about him, I will have to mention my friend Thomas Robert Higginson who would have liked my father as he is, well was.

They are both drinkers, and Thomas Robert would have really liked him.   I may have a scene in the book, where these men meet.  I can bring the two men who have meant the most of me together.  They will meet in the pages.

 

My father loved baseball, basketball also. football, the superbowl, that is.  We will see how much I remember.  

Calvin Theodore Brasier, my father

My father with one of the cigarettes, combined with inhalation of rubber dust (he worked as a recapper, mostly of semi tires)  that killed him.  I never knew him with a mustache, unless I simply have forgotten.  

 

My father - main portrait

mr-boston-brandy-logo

 

image of Mr. Boston from http://www.liquor.com/brands/mr-boston/

PALL MALL 

 

 

My father smoked these exclusively.

When I was two years old, ate one of the cigarette butts from his ashtray aand had to return to the hospital where I was born during a blizzard (I’m told  snow covered cars), to have my stomach pumped.

LFMK (“Looking for My Killer)

I  am very pleased to announce that my collection of prose poams, Looking For My Killer” is now being read by a possible publisher,   and this pleases me greatly, as I have learned that some prose poams for the collection are going to appear in an online journal, Outlook Springs:

These prose poams:

 

1.”Earthquake Vash” –yes related to my romance novel: New Kiss Horizon Cover of NKH

2. “Status Report on Slinky Lust” and

3. “Small virtue and gimme some A+ Bliss

 

The video context for this collection, really an extended PSA announcement come from a video I made with the same name (music composed and performed by Ansted Moss,  who also captured the still images at the beginning of the video poam all vocals by Thylias Moss, also the arranger of the music:  

 

That’s all for now; more very soon.