Category Archives: writing

Strand Reading and New Book of Poetry!

I am very pleased to announce that I am winning a 2019 Pushcart Prize fo the poem “Blue Coming” a collaboration with my Thing, his poem, “What You Can’t Know  is that Poetry is Connected to the Body Again”

 

 

 

The  prize winning poem: “Blue Coming”

(published in ABSTRACT MAGAZINE TV.COM)

 

BLUE COMING

(in response to “Poetry Is Connected to the Body Again” by Mr. Bob Holman)

           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, Tunisian blue. Djerban 

blue hands, 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.

        In response to a poem by Bob Holman

 

Strand Pushcart Prize Reading

 

Th new poems all come from  my new and unpublished collection, “Shawsheen Memorial Broom Societycover artwork and winter written by Selwyn Rodda

 

Cover: FOR PUBLISHER Selwn Rodda SHAWSHEEN cover art TEXT 01Intro:

Every indicator says 

there is occasion for poetry 

everywhere we breathe.

Thylias Moss pours forth poetry from the very pores of her skin, without pause. From within, so without. Take it from the poet herself: 

I awake in a downpour 

But I can’t shake the feeling that it ever lets up, night or day. Perpetual downpour. In every work of hers I know, poetry is an art of exuberance and daring brought to bear on what really matters, never merely one of detachment or witty, arch commentary, of alighting on a bon mot, a choice phrase, the piquant image, the novel structure – although given her formidable intellect and poetic chops, there’s a river’s bounty of such in this book, and every other. And in this collection, assisted by a power of recall as sharp as 4K, each word and image is an attempt to bring into sharper relief the form of her beloved – and her poetry, blithely impatient with all limits, formal and aesthetic, warps, flexes and weaves in tracing the lineaments of memory and desire. Lines clench, relax, unfurl, luxuriate and linger at the behest of the emotional heft and urgency of utterance, although this is the polar opposite of prosodic mush, the “high ground” of poetry yielding to the floodwaters of sentiment. A complete mastery of the poetic toolkit, of tone and voice, and a panoptic, though never stultifying, control of the material is always in evidence. Image spawns image as thematic material, evolving and revolving in the rapids of her quicksilver mind. And though many poems here are forged in a crucible of hot love, smelted metal tangoing to its ecstatic highs and its terrible troughs, even the hottest are tempered with a smithies’ mastery of material too hot to handle. And of course, as with any poetry tempered to last, each poem here is exactly what it needs to be, like the others in being unlike them. The more inventive the poet, the more generalities miss the mark.

Refusing to yield to meltdown or despair, this is a sustained work of love and art of almost fierce intensity – impossible to untangle the twain. Sustained passages are positively dithyrambic (or shall we say “Mossian”?) in their punch-drunk precision, pitched at an almost incantatory rhetoric that summons and sustains a visionary yet almost palpable presence of love, the shimmer and shimmying of the thing we dare not do without. 

No love poetry of bland, reassuring endearments this, but an amorous saga as somatically savory, as tangy and salty (as “umami”, if I may), as it is sweet. Thylias Moss relishes the sensible world with an intoxicating avidity. Its endless riches inflame her imagination, and she gives back as good as she gets (and lucky us who travel with her: what sights, sounds, smells, tastes!), a veritable welter of pungent and astringent verbal associations, rife with spice, with pop culture pizazz – her “Thing” reminding her of the priest’s first scene in “The Exorcist”, sonic screwdrivers, pop lyrics – and cosmic splendor and strife, things and forces shaped at will. And we are engulfed as we read the balm of her blistering words. Blistering for her, and us, for poetry of and about love, specially erotic, must acknowledge its eclipses, partial or whole, its devastations along with its consummations, its fraught liberation and its willing bondage, 

I walk constantly with these birds

Roped to my heart.  

and this love is made difficult by distance and goodness knows what else (the details, the story of this love, is in the book, laid out with a poet’s and a storyteller’s eye, no point in detaining you with it here)

highest highs

of my life

(also the lowest lows)

 

Furthermore, Thylias Moss, being a poet of the real – that unstable, multi-tiered fiction where raw feelings matter most, and where they color our entire observable universe – can plunge us giddily into different emotional dimensions, from the cosmic splendor of:

bright path of your steps, of course I remember

How you walk, that day you walked to me, fireball out

Of a personal sky,

to this: 

flame tree outside this window 

Matchstick in the dark 

A poet of startlingly real feeling, and so of necessity one of great bravery, for love hurls curveballs as well:

Block nothing, worth the pain because from it, such splendid love

Is born

 

And 

Time to place value on this dark surface    

                                                           door 

to unfathomable depth

Yet the poles of joy and pain will recur, as happens with a poetry predicated on truth, memory and love : 

that note of how very much 

I Love you,  and then my 

father’s casket was closed. 

The sung “note” in this poem, quite apart from honoring a remarkable biographical incident, serves to mark both the genuine originality of the poet herself – reaching new heights in this book – and how every genuine affair of the heart seems unsurpassable, yet echoes our primal first experience of love. And with the closing of the casket, she acknowledges how new love can offer a degree of closure of past loss, a healing long sought. Yet being the final line, it also affirms how closure is never erasure.

So a gathering of poems of love and pain, loss and gain, heaven and hell. And no matter how frightful or grim, few great poets (or their readers) can resist the unreconstituted images gifted from the deep.

black eyes of the sea

where the depths empty what can be seen

onto the surface 

So from the astonishing SHAWSHEEN DEVONIAN CONVERSION, one of the most memorable poems in a book full of such things:

  • wounded trees on their bended knees slashed 

with their own branches bloody from praying

An imaginative and rhetorical sing-song savagery to thrill the shade of Dante (throughout this passage internal rhyme rises wickedly, delightfully, to infernal rhyme); a gleefully diabolical theatre of memory worthy of Bruno Shultz and an intensity fully worthy of the great black preacher cum storyteller tradition of which she is the poetic heir apparent (she has all the fire without the brimstone and the smokescreen), and a thrilling paean to her father, keeper of sensual hot-pepper mysteries that her shame-riddled mother couldn’t scrub away. These people, real, shadowy, tragic, legendary, libidinal and comical by turn, adored or mocked, not only embody some of the history of black America, its divisions, its tragedy, its triumphs despite everything and its genius, but engender the poet’s self, with her magnificent refusal to countenance oppression, political and personal 

Mama knows best, kicking and screaming my way

Out of her petrifying belly

– culminating with her choosing and being chosen by love above all, and the love of a man, collaborator and muse, whose stupendous presence animates and gives rise to much of the invention in this volume.

It’s true: I have never read love poems remotely like these. And I rather fancy you haven’t either (need convincing? Try “Shawsheen Standard Equipment Fuses”, “Shawsheen Dream Baby Nemo” and the magnificent “Required Walking in Shawsheen” – and a quick shout out to her brilliantly unexpected titles). So I’m going to assert that this book stands the possibilities of contemporary love poetry on its head, or flings them into starlight-drenched space – does this seem hedged? Only due to my not knowing the field extensively – there are far too many banal and frankly bad love poems to wade through. Yet given the epic yet vividly intimate scope of this collection, such claims seem entirely reasonable, although I simply balk at attempting to convey the sassy, sexy, spirited, sly, wholly openhearted and wholly enraptured tone Thylias achieves: its energized ebullience and effervescence! To say nothing of her sense of drama, her superb delivery and her wry comic gift: 

You told me, “of course I feel amused; of course I feel privileged” —as you should, for I am still trying to amuse you; I am still privileging you  

every way I can! 

—as for your shenanigans, you just haven’t outgrown them yet; why 

do you think I keep writing bad Poetry to you?

And this (not about her “Thing”):

and it is said that all black men have rhythm, well, he had none, not even rhythm method of birth control his infertility made unnecessary.

What I can’t begin to convey, for even her own book strains to encompass her, is for me her largest achievement: herself. As she moves through these poems of love, revelation and longing like the deep current of Shawsheen, as she relates her past and present, as she toys with and triumphs over words, time and contingency, it becomes apparent that her self, as character and as confluence of energies, is one of contemporary literature’s great creations (“presences” or “spirits” are perhaps closer to what I mean). I  do not mean to suggest that her projected self is merely a fiction (nor to denigrate the achieved truth of hard-won fictions). Not at all. Her integrity, authenticity, curiosity, intelligence and imaginative fecundity are the ground from which her voice swells. They permeate this book, and from them issue all the glories poetry has at its disposal: rhythm, rhyme, lyricism, irony, satire, sarcasm, personification, a dazzling eruption of metaphors, memorable lines and the other these-days-not-so usual suspects.

And nothing is too inert, too mundane, too inane, to escape being swept up by her transmogrifying eye (plastic flamingos with their “liquid raptures”), her astonishing ability to locate the luster of love, with its sensual, alchemical and metaphorical possibilities, where it might be thought to least likely lurk. To find original ways to frame, embellish and convey the 3 words that love loves to hear and say, to make of love’s declaration something new, startling, convincing, this is something that might defeat even a supremely resourceful poet. Yet she does this as if it were no big thing – that is the miracle she performs, with a bevy of others. What the Metaphysical poets did with garlands of metaphors and outrageously suggestive arguments to deliciously inflame sexual desire and the promise of its fulfillment, she does with love (erotic and deep): as a source of poetic reinvention, as praise, as pleasure, sustaining its intensity despite everything that would defeat it (herself included). To sing love’s praise, and the lover’s praise, is to tend and fan the flame, stoke the fire. These poems are not just about love, they are themselves engines of love!

Poetry is of course a form of will; the word-intoxicated will to the love of truth and the truth of love (given life’s brevity, why read a poet who would subscribe to any lesser calling?), and then the even harder task of living with the consequences. One thing great poetry does is teach us that living well, like reading well, is difficult but absolutely rewarding. And with this dangerous knowledge in place, the question of meaning inevitably raises its phrenologically vexing head. We know that wealth, power and material excess do not fill the void (they make it larger, so the drive to have more increases), and also how frequently the disempowered and the lovelorn turn to extreme forms of religion or authoritarianism to fill the same. It is a huge part of Thylias’s wisdom to turn instead to her own life. Not in naval-gazing solicitude, or the look-ma-no-guilt tones of fuck-and-tell-all insta-poetry, but with a mythopoetic vitalism that generates meaning by the gathering and connecting of dots, points, vectors and sectors (like her brother-in-word Walt). Love, that bridging, quickening, healing and annealing force, thrums and flows through her life, her past (wrongs against her are fully divulged, and righteous anger felt, but never rancor. She is far too capacious to succumb to such poison) and her projected future. It is the force that drives the melding of tributaries into the self beyond ourselves.

How not to avoid turning the searching intelligence and candor of these poems on oneself? How not to at least attempt to rise to their implicit challenge? They have sent their shafts of light, delight and their depth chargers into me, a painter who usually settles for the mute mysteries of image, finding out corners of my soul too often unexamined. What do I mean when I tell someone I love them? What does it mean to say my love is durable, this time for real? Do I dare disturb my complacency, my self-absorption, and risk real love? – This applies to art as well, for once set in motion, such questions do not stop, but ripple outwards and spiral inwards. And in unqualified, awestruck answer, I admit I want to love (and make art) with the intensity, bravery, chutzpah, smarts and openness of the poems in this extraordinary book. 

Love may be the lodestar, but these are also profoundly poems of formative experience: deep, aching, memory-and-shadow-thronged, questioning and questing. Poems of childhood and its losses and lessons, that lessen yet still have the power to control us, sustain us, hurt us, salve us. And poems of her father, a paragon of love and wonder, tutelary spirit – yet how she can flick a switch and plunge us into recollected pain or longing the years can barely diminish – “a mountain over his heart just stays there” and “thunder pulls my heart into my father’s eyes”. 

Yet all is not lost. See how she can regain paradise, how banality, pain and the shadow of death are no barriers but the necessary, because real, conditions – 

we eat the shadows.

two of which

are my father’s

diseased lungs

yet I float on clouds

into such a clean, pure kingdom

that nothing else matters

just a banana which I eat the moment I arrive.

This “just” is no insouciance, just as “nothing else matters” isn’t solipsism, nor defensive posturing, but a moment of needful, everyday transcendence. In the same poem her father’s scalded skin runs “down the drain”, domestic premonition of mortality, and then the banana’s peeled skin becomes a strangely and sublimely linked opportunity of the internalized possibility of love and inner bliss, her father’s gift to her, and the wisdom of getting under the skin of things, to the pith and pulp, the artful consummation of (imaginary) transubstantiation, of the mundane origins of sublimity – anything “just” at hand: the sun-conjured banana obliterates the shadows. Also, “Diseased lungs” to “clouds”. Ethereal transubstantiation. Vaporization of pain. Yes, Thylias Moss is a poet: Ovidian, Orphic (Hippocratic!) and the rest. The given world and words are not only never taken for granted, they may also be taken for a wild ride: inverted, converted, subverted, cavorted with, poles may be vaulted and flipped, and what can’t be bent into and out of shape, what dread or dross not made divine? The poet makes it so. 

“As for politics?” I hear myself murmur. In substantial part, earlier collections addressed/resisted racism, white cultural hegemony or the horrors of slavery, always with a fully immersive imaginative power, never relenting in an equally, and absolutely justifiable, anger (whiplash irony and tar-black humour too, though she has never been in any sense a reductive poet – beholden to no single cause and no one, indeed, not even to her “Thing”). And appallingly, the trauma of white abuse and its devastating penetration into its victims lives is still unacceptably with us:

That need to cover up what she had naturally.

               Stigma

of being that darkest girl out of a dozen children, all 

6 girls born first, my mother the darkest, nappiest

kinkiest hair

Oh the stigma of being the ugly child, 

the one furthest from European 

standards –as if no black women are European– 

silky and blowing in the wind, just the gentlest touch, 

not even the wind

from a mouth able to start that movement:

strands dance 

that is their strength: movement 

reaction to any other movement;  they pick it up

and run with it, bend with it, groove with it….

The poetic insistence on resistance, reinvention, self-determination and self-interpretation, is wonderfully unchanged, yet the focus of many of these new poems is radically different, even more personal and revealing in their frankness and fearlessness: the celebration (and calibration) of love and being in love: love as healing, love as an offering and fulfillment of the self, love as a transformative power, love as a temporal paradise (thoughts of expulsion a shadowy presence), love as a weeping wonder-wound that will not heal, love despite all the blandishments to be superficial and selfish, to spurn the meaning and satisfaction love gives, so that our emptiness may instead be filled, foiled and fed with tinfoil trinkets of no worth. Love as the one real thing. No fake love here, folks, and you can keep your fake news too. How’s that for politics? And being a diehard romantic myself, the so very fine conviction with which Thylias loves her “Thing” feels to me, in a culture where instant gratification is promoted as the highest good, the ultimate attainment, the last word in human progress, distinctly radical. Not a program for revolution, no, but something that’s not for sale, not disposable, built to last (also like a bridge, to span distance and defy gravity). The politics of poetry has always been its heady  (threatening to some) proximity to the unimpeachable verities: no more magnificent testimony to that than the love suffusing the book you hold in your hands.

I image it’s apparent how inadequate I feel it would be to respond to these poems with a certain critical detachment. Possible? Of course, but even given the pleasure and profit of spot-the-allusion, astute prosodic and semantic analysis and then the “sober” passing of Judgment, certain poems demand to be read a certain way –

We are measuring our distance from the poem by measuring the poem

– certainly ones like these do, ones that cast spells and thunderbolts. More accurately, such poems read me, lodge in me and find me out. Such poems are galvanic, seismic, volcanic, meteoric and their technical daring is never merely clever, a twinkle-eyed tweaking of rhyme or meter, but an exemplary counterpoint to deadening and evasive habits of mind, of hooded thoughts and throttled feelings. And any pearls of wisdom they may yield come embedded in the whole damn, living, quivering, oozing, fantastic bivalve. They go down whole: tissue, web and sinew of living matter. Anyway, I thought I could get through without saying what should be clear to anyone familiar with the scene, but dang I want to anyway: Thylias Moss is a past master whose time hasn’t come. Attempting to place her in the history of American poetry, just where she lies on the great Whitman-Dickinson divide – (she straddles both, or effortlessly executes a grand jeté from inclusive expansiveness to cryptic compression and back again: accordion prosodic pyrotechnics –  although expansion and flow, like the great Shawsheen river itself, overwhelmingly govern the ungovernable forces at play here) – or what her contribution to Black and mixed race culture is (surely nothing less than essential), to poetry and culture in general, is liable to leave you by the wayside  – she has already danced around the corner or disappeared in a cloud of her own knowing. Yes, delight is instruction. And not to indulge in these poems, to not assent to them –

still wading when 

you have invitations to plunge

 – would be to miss their wisdom

a leap into centerlessness

at the same time a rising in it

– and their myriad pleasures, their carnally cosmic passion and transformative vitality. Also the tonic of their occasionally bracing sardonic wit, their remarkable tonal range, their inexhaustible inventiveness and exuberance and their insistence on a life lived at a visionary pitch, where emotions are not dulled by opt-in opiates. Because poems like these are for readers who yearn for more than self-congratulation and mild, urbane pleasure – poems artfully construed to yield their secrets with all the humdrum satisfaction of solving a crossword puzzle, the politesse of the “well-made poem”. These are poems on fire, whose white heat illuminates the almost daily assailed truth that love is not optional, and they present that truth with an uncompromising strength and honesty that is as moving as it is inspiring. In that way, perhaps above all others, this is a necessary book.

While we have the presence of mind to say “this is not the worst”, the possibility remains, through the alchemy and agency of imagination and love, to make of our life what we all, avowedly or not, want: a thing of wonder and joy. And a strong, unrepentant, unbowed imagination –

will not go down without fighting, will not drown without fighting, and that is the actual beauty:

fighting

– is the right stuff, the very stuff needed to transform ourselves and with it, perhaps, the world. For these qualities are, like poetry and love, to live and die for. And Thylias Moss, without a skerrick of pedantry or ideology, through rare conviction and delight, delivers an object lesson in (forget “positive”) ecstatic thinking and feeling, of choosing paradise – be it “just” a banana, a lover and their text messages, a river, a son, a son’s car, Laytial the stuffed mammoth, the whole wide world and beyond, no matter, all matter – over resignation, banality and the mountains “that just stay there”. And so I invite you to “take the plunge”, for these poems have the power to move and lift hearts as well as mountains.

IMG_0645

 

Again I read from  this book at the Strand bookstore 828 Broadway, New York, New York, on 16 November 7:00 pm

 

From my new Collection, Shawsheen Memorial Broom Sociery.

 

A little info about how the title was chosen:

 

WHY SHAWSHEEN?

 

Shawsheen is where “ocean” acquired meaning, ceased being just a word, but now also had power. Atlantic before me, Shawsheen is convergence, where this tributary of mighty Merrimack, this Great Spring brought Tewksbury, Billerica, and Andover together: trinity.  This is where I learned to love  Atlantic Ocean, a flow that connected me to the rest of the world   Shawsheen Transport of what Shawsheen instantly became.  Water even gurgled sometimes.  I was where I belong.

Reflections of  clouds danced on the surface —just for me  it seemed, but really for anyone.  Seemed to me that stars made earthly visits to this planet by sharing the luminous power with the river.  I stood by Shawsheen and learned my connections.   I like the stars sharing, I  loved their visitation.  I like the promises of “more” more than anything.  Stars sparkled as they fell, and the splashes so cool around my feet; such buoyant ankles

WHY MEMORIAL?

Some things we should never forget, Shawsheen is one of them.

Why Broom?

That power to clean up, to move things, even dust, fine particles of matter. Stardust, that power if you will, fugitive dust in particular.  Particles descending and decorating my Shawsheen, landing on the surface, bobbing there like the most colorful cups of glitter, and the brooms sweep this away, handles like baseball bats sometimes, and this dust rises into air, respiration cycle, enters my lungs and emerges unsinkable, bejeweled Shawsheen so happy to lick my ankles, and when the broom pushes particles they rise and rise, so beautiful and vast, these cosmic particles replace stars, Shawsheen bubbling with this goodness that particles, these cosmic buses, happily share

Why Society?

Group effort.  Belongs to all participants even bystanders afraid for whatever reason to believe that Shawsheen really is for them also; afraid of getting their feet wet.  But it’s true: Shawsheen is for all of you.

 

copyright © by Thylias Moss. Published by arrangement with the author.  All rights reserved.

More than anything, I am pleased to have written the Shawsheen poems mostly in text messages to my Thing.  Every day I would write a poem to him, often combining his words and my own He is my ideal collaborator in so much.  I would not be standing beside anyone else. Not in this life.  

 

and these links might help you understand:

 

A Journey into Collaboration

 

Abstractmagazinetv.com  feature 

 

and here is where I read “Blue Coming” Pushcart Prize-winning poem 

me and my Thingdom

Me and my Thingdom

 Come to the Strand and hear and these poems! 16 November 7:00n pm. 8282 Broadway, New York, New York 10003

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Pushcart Prize for my Poem in Abstract Mag!

I am happy to announce that my poem “Blue Coming”, published n Abstrat mag TV.com is winnner of a 2019 Pushcart Prize!

 

Blue Coming”       by 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!

(dying with, dying for the dead)The better to blue you….

She, so blue today, visits

Offices of the National Enquirer  (that raggedy rag) 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, dying 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

she bleeds:: a kind of triumph

her lover’s face becoming

blue (dead blue/dead blew)) she’s dreaming of again, blue as his face

That defines blue for

her blue orgasm, so much blue everywhere world become blue (dead blue, dead blew)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.

               in response to a poem by Bob Holman

             (as published in Abstract MagTV.com)

 

This poem, “Blue Coming” is a winner of a 2019 Pushcart Prize! I am most gratful to the editor of Abstract magTV.com, JL Jacobs for nominating this poem that I never would have written without my Collabrator and Literary Executor, my Thing (Mr. Bob Holman)

As you can see form the PUSHCART LETTER, I am to be appointed to the Board of Contributing Editors in the fall!

 

I must pause for  moment to say how excited I am, especially for this poem and for the journal that published it, where you can hear me read “Blue Coming”!Abstract mag.TV has beeen extremely generous to me at this time  of jubilation for a poem.  

My collaborator and I are at work on a new collection of my poetry.  Every morning I send him a text, looking out my tiny bedtoom window and commenting on what I see, invariably making some sort of bad , yet promising bad poetry.  Just part of the way I greet each day, thinking of him.  First thing when I awake and last thing when I retire for the evening.  When this happened just a couple of days ago, I took some  selfies so he could see exactly what I looked like (I am 64 years  old, by the way:, with no attempts to alter the photo. I  am one of those women who prefers my natural look.  I wear no weave, use no extensions, just my natural  multiracial hair, and I use no makeup at all, only lip gloss  

 

Here is one of those selfies, as I sat on the edge  of my bed texting him.

 

WHILE TEXTING

 

In honor of this  honor, there just recently has been an entire sperad about this in Abstract Mag.TV, including an interview Conducted by Ashley Roy .  I will offer a link to it, amd I will paste the contents of the Abstact  Mag.tv interview conducted by Ashley Roy right into this Post.

 

BLOG

FEATURE: THYLIAS MOSS

21 Jun 2018, Posted by Ashley Roy in Poetry

INTERVIEW WITH THYLIAS MOSS

 

PINK-HAIR FORKER GRYLE

 In addition to your recent Pushcart Prize, you’ve also received a number of other major awards, including a MacArthur and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Interestingly, though, you trace your career as a poet back to a very humble award you received in 1975: the Cleveland Public Library Poetry Contest prize of $25.00 for your poem “Coming of Age in Sandusky.” Can you tell us when you first started writing poetry, and why that award in particular encouraged you to pursue a career in poetry? 

I started writing poetry in early childhood, after a couple of years of writing only prose. I was eight years old. At the time, I didn’t foresee any success coming from this habit. I just wanted to offer a truth as I saw it — a truth, but not the truth, for there are many truths dependent on perspective of truth-tellers, and no one truth is definitive. But that award was an indication that there was an audience, and it made me see my ordinary writing differently. In the beginning I was making stuff only for myself, so it was wonderful that this truth now had meaning to someone else. There was a new trajectory of possibility, if I shared. That award was proof that there was meaning to what I did, meaning beyond anything I had assumed; what I did had value to someone beyond myself. That award meant audience, trajectory, and take-off (small scale, of course). But even then, only I knew what I was really trying to do: to be scientific and to be UNDERSTOOD. I won’t say that this prize alone encouraged me to pursue a career in poetry,  but it did motivate me to understand that here, too, was something I could do: offer my “Coming of Age in Sandusky” poem, and with it, my perspective.

 

 Photos  of me in the dress I wore when he produed the Film ‘The United Staes of Poetry  Poetry” arounf 1990   I have known him for a very long time, and when we got together  in 2013, AFTER my divorce was finalized, he asked for the “white-blue striped dress! -he rememebred every detail of it, as a matter of fact. 

Here I am wearing the dress in a segment of the film, I am reciting a portion of a longer poem I wrote, “The Linoleum Rhumba” as Published in “Rainbow Remnants in Rock Bottom Ghetto Sky”, a winner of the National Poetry Series  Open Competition, selected by Charles Simic, and published by Persea Books. 

 

rainbow remnants

 

 

 

 

 

My mother who had been a domestic worker all her working life was supposed to play the maid, but didn’t do it, countering that the producer wanted her to play the lowest, so she wouldnt do it, but but I was actually trying to dignify her work, but she couldn’t see how I was attempting to uplift her work, and her own sense of pride in what she did.   I didn’t want my mother to  feel ashamed. The noble and necessary work of the maid was my point.  

Well he asked for the dress, in 2014! but I didn’t have it anymore, after so many years, it was moth-eaten, and never fit that well anyway.  He was disaappointed, but  eventually understood.  Actually I  had had the dresss until two weeks before he asked for it.  Had I kown he would want to see it on me again, I would have kept it.  At least a souvenir pocket.  All  of this took me by surpise as it was many years after the filming around 1990.

You’ve said before that you have a short attention span. You’ve also said, “I prefer that unanticipated discovery lead me to and through a poem.” I’m wondering what your process of constructing poetry looks like.

 

Great question. Always an adventure. It’s an adventure to somewhere new so that there can be discovery, a more genuine discovery, free from agendas and without my having notions of what will be found. For if I already know the answer, the question loses relevancy and I learn to look only for what fits with my narrowed search (narrowed by already having the answer, and by believing — erroneously — that there is only a single correct answer). I don’t want a pre-determined destination. In anything I make, I want travel and movement. I want evidence of struggling and grappling with an idea. I also always want an awareness that I do not create alone in a vacuum, but rather in connected systems.

 

What are your goals in doing the work you do, and what message do you want your words to convey?

Dream Baby Dress

I still love when air moves things around, the (usually) invisible accomplishing mighty things — atmospheric stirrings. My documentations is only as good as my notice. If I don’t notice something, if it fails to come into my awareness, then I cannot comment meaningfully on it.

The dress to the left is what I wore on my last date with him at Vermillion Indian Latin Cuisine in Chicago, that city of Lovers. I even remember what we ate! Duck vindaloo arepas, Sri Lankan whole fish, and gin and pomegranate martinis, the color of my pink hair which he liked very much.  I had white wine at first, but he saw me admiring his drink, and asked me if I wanted to taste it; I told him I had never had any drink stronger than wine, and as you might expect, the martini did make me a bit ill, but who would expect a 60-year-old woman to be so inexperienced with spirits?   But it was my first encounter in my life, although my mixed race-father was a drinker.

 

Once my Mr. Muse and I got together, and I no longer had the dress he asked for, I acquired the dress in the photo; in fact he first knew me as Forker Gyrl, and always liked my pink hair.

 

Pink Hair-02 I plan  on surprising him by  having pink hair again, shh! –don’t tell him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ve talked a lot about the importance of transformation. Tell us about your own transformation as a poet, and in what ways you’ve seen your body of work grow over the past three decades. 

I have moved from selfishness to collaboration.

Collaboration requires the understanding that no one and no thing makes alone. Rather, there are interconnected paths to access information. There are so many configurations, so many forms of realities, that even an error is information. There really are no mistakes. I explore wrong paths and go fishing, and such visitation is fruitful. Indeed, without the wrong, there would be no sex, and that is what I do: I make love to ideas, and ideas make love back. It is a natural urge to proliferate, to have a footprint that says no more and no less than “I was here!”

Just as we must be fruitful in order to have descendants and meanings, multitudes and hordes, so must ideas be fruitful to connect through time and space. Invention leads to invention and another invention, and the more information is disseminated, the greater the likelihood that someone will put the blocks together in new ways. In other words, the greater the likelihood of collaboration. For in the sin of Adam and Eve, there is not only the touching, but also the pleasure in the collaborating of bodies, the insisting on information, that impulse to question and to keep questioning. We are descendants of questions, none of them able to be fulfilled with single answers, but rather through a community of possibilities. All things work in unison, as it is with anything that has existed, exists now, and will exist; we are all collaborating.

Throughout your life, have there been any major influences — people, places, things — that have provided the inspiration for your writing and/or encouraged you to move forward with your art?

Our Usness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we stand on a Bridge in Chicago for the

best date ever in my life!  I was 60 years old, and he was 66.  On this date, first time I ever so much as held his hand, and the first time he ever Kissed me after waiting 25 years to do so! What passion I had never known before! And I also fell in love with him on this trip! –how could I  not?  The way he treaed me, the way we are standing there! –I do not know who took this photo; just  a stranger in Chicago, but I am so thankful he did.  One of us mut have asked him; that I do not recall.   All I could think of was being with him.

My greatest influence right now is my collaborator, Mr. Bob Holman. My connection with him is palpable, and so many of my poems come from partnership with him, and from the Love, of course. Loving my collaborator, having this opportunity to discover “Real Love” for the first time in my life, is utterly empowering. Surviving my cranial aneurysm rupture was the best thing that ever happened to me, because afterwards I could really see [Bob] and collaborate in person — every kiss a new stanza, the punctuation of squeezing his hand, which squeezes back the pleasure of poetry (for he is a poet, also). I will try to explain what happened:

In July 2011, I nearly died when a cranial aneurysm ruptured, and I consider this the the best thing that happend to me, as that rupture in my existence–that I miraculously survined, entering the hospital in July 2011, and coming home in October 2011–  sent ripples to him that I  was available and he was needed.  I couldn;t talk, couldn’t walk.  What began to brign me back was a stuffed animal elephant that I called a Mammoth, Laytial.  When my son saw me respond to the stuffed animal, he knew that I was still in thre.  I still have Laytial, of course.  He is on my bed right now. a mammoth  (LAYTIAL).jpg

Aneurysm

 

 

here is an excerpt of what I wrote about this:

aneurysm as a stunning pink flower:

“for me that rupture, of one of my two aneurysms, 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 Higginson 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.”

from an essay published by Abstract Mag TV. com 

Excerpt From: Thylias Moss. “Fuckin Muse/ Journey into Collaboration

My former publisher, Persea, did not want me to write poems with Bob. In fact, I was told that it was a good thing that I was not all in love with this poet, who I really am “all in Love with,” as if without being in love, my writing would be better and not mixed up with him. But as I see it, my writing is better because of him. The poem “Blue Coming” would not even exist without him, as it is a collaboration with a poem of his. Who would be against collaboration? This is a world in which everything needs something, and nothing is done alone. It even takes two just to tango.

I know I was always looking for him. I have been looking for him since I was nine, playing the board game “Mystery Date.” And then one day I saw him standing in O’Hare, just like the man in the Mystery Date game.\

 

 

 

I had been looking for him for 55 years. It feels to me like poetic destiny, and when I found him, he took my breath away. We first kissed in the taxi from O’Hare to the hotel — Utterly transforming Kisses! That taxi was on Fire! and so was I. In fact, I started falling in love with him just from the way he Kissed me. But this was only the beginning, his Kiss like an epic poem, wrapping me up. And did I mention his voice? The timbre, his inflections and pauses, the delicious baritone… I like the sound of everything he says. What his Kiss does to me also happens by his voice alone

I can collaborate with Bob because it is making love to the poem, finding those locations in something he has written, adding stanzas, dimensions, different scales of interaction. I always add, never subtract, to the locations where he has left gaps, and I connect with and fill these gaps, these lonely spaces that need me, only me. Responding to his poems is also responding to him. As I work on a poem we share, I get the same feelings I get when I am touching him. I revise by repairing rhythms, by dancing with the poem, the energy, the movement. I revise by repairing music, so that we dance together even better. It is personal and complete. I have never known a poem come to life like him.

 

Forks, boxes, and even shadows are all items you’ve been known to have collections of. Why do you choose to collect these specific items, and how does the act of collecting influence your poetry?

Each of these items is a container, with wonders and many infinite rooms inside. Between the tines of a fork are multiple realities. Each angle of a box contains worlds of words, a dictionary of holy books, Archangel Webster. These are containers of layers of realities. Each one, like a Russian matryoshka doll, is a nesting-dolled universe. Like these containers, so is the mind a box. Even “imagination” is a real place, worthy of exploration, an address in the mind expanding a more imaginary and everlasting track.

 

 

 

 

 

By collecting these items I am collecting experiences, gathering interactions. I then assemble them in ways that make some form of temporary sense, until it all comes undone and I assemble them again.

 

You seem to be fascinated with the transitory, sensory experience of poetry. What do you think is gained by listening to a poem rather than reading it? 

The poem becomes alive again, active; it is not dead. I speak from the point of view of one sharing a poem: each time the poem is read, the poem lives again. And each “reading” should be different, because the words interact with the location, time, space, mood, and so many other variables. And all of this is good, as it should be. The poem could have a headache, and a maker should not be afraid to say so. So much depends on how the poem is offered, and on whether an audience becomes part of the performance, for a so-called “reading” is always a performance. Whether it’s a good and interactive performance is another matter, because not all poets are good performers. But in a good and interactive performance, life is made and can be revived instantly, constantly. A poem never dies.

 

Aneurysm of the Firmamament

 A collection of our  collaborations, “Aneurysm of the Firmament” only available on Amazon as an ebook and paved the way for my neccessary divorce after 40 troubled years , an indication to me anuway, that accepting this injury  also necessitated that divorce.   I had had enough! And needed to get ymy son , no relation to my infertile ex-spouse away from that man who never read a book of poetry, and that  is what I made,

 

I can remember how this  started. I was sitting on the couch and saw light pour into the room, and when I looked out the wndow, it was as if the sky itself was  experiencing  an anerysm, a remakable  rupture , and so I began to write, and my collborator contributed lines;  back and forth, and forth and back,  we sent each other  texts amd emails until we had a collection of poetry all our own.  I am very glad that this is an honor I get to share with him, for no one and nothing makes alone.   certainly not the Love I feel for him; He is absolutely necessary  for that.  My prize winning poem could not exist without his poem

discussed in the essay “Fuckin’ Muse: Journey into Collaboration

 

I will paste here and add the link:

 

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 Higginson2, 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 ‘Father3’”

Art: 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 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 Holler4 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!”

Bob Holman, a review I found online when I was looking to see wha online evidence I could him of his sustained interest.  The whole thing is a love story predicated by Love of Poetry.

 

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 realized 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.”

Our Usness! 

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 realizl things are connected, ing I was, when I  developed “Limited Fork Theory,6 a way of understanding how al“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?

 

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  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.)

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

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: “The Surrendering” by Chris Rivera

 

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.”

 

Art: “The Princess, Natural” by Chris Rivera

 

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.

 

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.  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.8

 

 

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: “Summer Love” by Chris Rivera

 

 

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: “Empatia” by Vivian Nimue Wood

 

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)

 

 

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: Nathalie von Arx

 

RESPONSE

BLUE COMING

http://abstractmagazinetv.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Blue-Coming.m4a

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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

         by 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!

(dying with, dying for the dead)The better to blue you….

She, so blue today, visits

Offices of the National Enquirer  (that raggedy rag) 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, dying 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

she bleeds:: a kind of triumph

her lover’s face becoming

blue (dead blue/dead blew)) she’s dreaming of again, blue as his face

That defines blue for

her blue orgasm, so much blue everywhere world become blue (dead blue, dead blew)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.

              in response to a poem by Bob Holman 

URL: http://abstractmagazinetv.com/2017/09/24/fuckinmuse-a-journey-into-collaboration-by-thylias-moss/

I yly nt the Love I feel f rhim”

Your belief that poetry should be experienced with all of the senses rather than read on a page has led to your work in Limited Fork Theory, which involves the interactions of language, sound, movement, and visuals. Tell us about your work with Limited Fork Theory, and why you find this so crucial to heightening the poetic experience. 

The poem is alive, the words are organisms; it is a wonder that they do not simply jump off the page. And sometimes they do, so the maker can chase them, soliciting others in the audience to chase them, too. And whatever is caught becomes the ‘poam’ (Product of an Act of Making), the salvaged aftermath of a most satisfying feast. Yes, it can get crazy — traffic jams of thought, but also traffic jams of joy and delight. Use the senses available to you and get what you can; no one knows or can get “everything.” And that is fine! Get what you can, however little or much, and enjoy it!

 

I think one of the most extraordinary things a person can do is to take an experience of immense pain and transform it into something beautiful. You recently did exactly that when you used your cranial aneurysms to write Aneurysm of the Firmament. How do you take a horrific experience and render it art? 

I must. Because of Love. [Aneurysm of the Firmament] is a small collection, a tiny collaboration of poems written with my aneurysm, my Thing (he and I have an official Thingdom right now, by the way). We must be able to accept whatever happens, especially concerning the vulnerable and susceptible body. Viewing the aneurysm rupture as an opportunity was necessary, or else I would be frozen.

 

It seems as if you seek to “sing the almost imperceptible,” in the words of poet C.D. Wright. How do you think this manifests itself in your poetry, and what do you feel is your ultimate responsibility to the culture at large as a writer?

To tell truths. To value realities, and not expect them to be the same realities, no matter how obscure. To notice, always to notice, and to be aware of other points of view. To avoid judgments, a poet’s disaster, for in avoiding conflict, everything would need to be avoided. I do not want to impose anything; I want to discover what is there. And if processes of discovery sometimes sleep with processes of imposition, this is good. For in genuine interactions, there is exchange. Each participant leaves something, and each participant takes something different from what was brought. In the mingling, something new emerges, child(ren) of interaction, and these somethings evolve just from the act of mingling. But this cannot work if each party insists on remaining what it was before the interaction. There must be the willingness to entertain the possibility of exchange.

 

What would you most like for people to take away from your poetry?

The intensity of honesty and the honesty of intensity = a possible truth.

 

He said that if he and I ever  ever become something, the whole damned world should know, well, guess what? Whole damned world, I am telling you now!!

 

life does no  get much better than this!

 

 

Writing Projects

Good Late afternoon.

 

I am happy to report that I have several writing projects uderway.

I have decided to complete my poetry project first, and if successful, will  be my 14th  book.  My existing books:

I am not in the habit of disclosing prospect until there is a contract.

 

Perhaps what is most awkward in ths scenario, is that my Thing and Literary Executor

are one in the same man, so he is award of mywritigprojects onyl second to me, and yes, many of the poems are about him, so he knows that too.

 

In fact, each morning, I send him a text, and in it, many of my ideas and early drafts of poems are shared with him –fine that they often involve our relationship. 

Since every poem I write is a form of Love poem, some of them exceedingly personal and  deeply complex in keeping with what it means  to be   in Love with him, every moment of every day.  He is also my Muse, Mr. Muse, that is.

 

 

Resurrection (tentative title)

Work on the book about my father resumes, all true, even my son, my fahter’s only grandson; the only son mine from conception through birth –I won’t go into the details of that, except to express my thanks to a Bangladshi sperm donor. and the man in my life, Thomas Robert Higginson, that wonderful and complex man.  I introdcuce my father and his father to the most important men in my life, my son Ansted:

a photo of Ansted , and of Ansted with me:

 

 

 

 

Some pictures of Thomas:

 

 

 

I will never reveal his legal name, although I know it; that just wouldn’t be fair?  If his identity is ever revealed, he will have to reveal it, not me.  I could even post some photos of this man and myself, but not at this time; he must remain enigmatic, incognito

Just know that he is real, and it is perfectly fine if you bcome jealous of him, after all, he is the man appointed to this honor of  well, being the world’s greatest lover –not sayng he is perfect, as he does tend to misunderstand things, even when I am prasing him, but he deserves every  word of praise I give him,  and he has taken a lot from me, but all in the spirit of how much I love him, but the realiy of him is a bit too private to share, some images of my father:MY FATHER IN HIS FAVORITE LIVING ROOM CHAIR

 

 

 is introduced to nsted my son, and to Thomas Robert  who never got to meet him while he lived,  One of the great tragedies of the world.  Even those who saw him, did not know him, glimpses only, but no real sense of the complexity and loving nature of his character; I am doing the best that I can

 

as well as my paternal grandfather:

 

Frizzell Brasier, father of Calvin Brasier, a farmer

 

that’s about it for now.  I will probably write all through the night. There is so much good that I must say, (not that I don’t want Thomas Robert Higginson himself to say more good about me, and about the book 

 

Thomas Robert persists in Calling mea great writer” –-maybe I am, but I have a great someone to write about, but only I (and Thomas Robert of course) are privy  to the details.  

 

I can post no more details without giving away his identity,   but I advise all of you to search for a man like him, and maybe, although unlikely, for there is only one Thomas Robert Higginson, but search anyway, and perhaps you will come close.  

 

The point is not to identify my son or Thomas Robert himself; the point is to introduce this exceptional man to the small world (that reads my stuff) and is interested in a different model of a man, of a human being, of the outcome  (me)

 

from such a man  who married my mother and is still exceptional although he died in 1980, and would love all the science and technology, things he missed during his life from 1923 – 1980; above all he would have adoresd computers, and he would have had one.  No doubt several of them.

 

If I miss anything, it is the sound of his voice.  Think of all the ways he could be captured, and he used to sing –such capture with just a phone.  

 

I am sure I will dream about all of this tonight.

 

 

 

my father and I: precious photos.  My mother also in the first one.

new poem published: “Almost 63”

Very pleased to announce this morning that my poem “Almost 63”  

has been published in “The Account”

 

and may be experienced here:

 

“Almost 63” 

Poem by Thylias Moss

in “The Account”

at this URL:

http://theaccountmagazine.com/article/moss-almost-63-17

 

Please enjoy.

 

Yes; it is yet another Higginson poem (how can it not be? I will be writing such “Thomas Robert Higginson” poems for the rest of my life 

 

–if I am lucky. 

Online Dating and New Kiss Horizon

 

For this post, I use my former match dot com photo, and my former ok cupid photos.  

They caused quite a stir.  More than I was hoping for actually.  More than I really wanted?  No;

I wanted more; I wanted to see if it was true that I can attract attention.  I really did.  I really do.  All the time.  

“Only dating explained image from this URL: )

Online dating explained

 

My photos from online dating, (by the way, I am 63 years old, have never dieted in my life, have never had any reconstructive surgery, no cosmetic work of any kind.  I do not even wear make-up, no hair weave, extensions or wigs, WSIWYG –all the way.  I have never lied about my appearance): 

 

I self-identity as mixed race, because that is what I am, and I am not ashamed of this at all.  To be honest, I would not mind if more races mixed; for that is true interaction as long as all participating parties agree to interact; all interacting parties leave something behind, and all interacting parties take something different away, do not interact if you are not willing to change, if you must cling to what you were previously, before interacting for interacting will change you if you let it.    

 

a definition of “interaction” states: “:  mutual or reciprocal action or influence” –all interacting parties  change!  

(so stated right here: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/interaction

 

–Sure changed me, and I am still changing.  Among the many things Thomas Robert told me, all of them wonderful, by the way, he said: “If ever I change my mind, I will tell you” –an he has said nothing to that effect.  So I believe when he say din August 2016, that he loves me–

 

(I do not feel right about online dating; maybe I will in time, but I cannot rush… I have to take my time.  I do not want to make any mistakes; I do not want to feel any pressure, especially just to have  a man not so far away as  Thomas Robert Higginson is.   I also want to be fair to all involved, especially to my own heart. I feel guilty just a bit. I do not want to feel this way, but I am also involved in the promotion of New Kiss Horizon, my most recent book to date, and I want to do justice ti that unbelievable love, and that will take time.  I have a feeling that  will still be pretty; Thomas Robert was the first man to call me that and mean it.  Not just those catcalls I often heard.  He spoke from his heart, and I am not at liberty to say right here all that Thomas Robert said to me –over many, many years –as the real man behind that name, to the real woman behind the character’s name. )

What I have come to believe via “Limited Fork Theory (and life experience, to be sure), is that much racial discrimination can and will cease when there is more acceptance of mixture.  I do not go back five or six generations, no further than my own father, and his father, both pictured here:

 

 

 

Two of the few photos with my father, I was a teenage bride; I never met my paternal  grandfather while he was alive:

 

 

Here is some info about these men and my experience with train whistles: (courtesy questions Bracken Hamlet asked me on Facebook):  

“My father, those long low moans, my father coming back to me… sounds dissolving in the air, night calls, his bounce becoming a sky. He has a long way to travel, from death and its tucking of things inside itself, called burial, but only him curling his tongue into semblance of an ichneumon fly, and that sound is the curl, chalk writing on the night sky. My father once cooked for the railroad, making slaw, his own recipe under handle of the Big Dipper, making a prayer come true, that is what I hear, my father calling me, and I answer, another train, car of his train switching onto another track, and we speak to each other in those whistles, and train treadles of heart traffic…

Warm, loved, a track itself so the trains could enter the station of my heart and join all other memories of him, whippoorwills answering me, duets and trios with scent of dogwood racing along the tracks, the frogs too, a thick froggy carpet that squishy road between homes of my southern grandmothers, one black and the other something else, oh, those platforms where I would wait for the train. My father often whistled and could sound like a train, like President Kennedy too with a yodel stuck in his throat, that’s what he said, the sound of him cutting cabbage for his slaw with the rim of a tin can as shiny as the rails themselves; that my father was rail-thin was often said, he was traveling the best way he could, those special trains, Nickel Plate and Ollie’s; one even said Saskatchewan

You know, I will always miss my father. Always. I was never spanked because of him; he did not believe in hitting; if something can be loved, you don’t hit, you love it. That is how he raised me , so unlike my mother; how different they were. I don’t think she ever hard the trains. Maybe just a screech of metal on metal, trains encountering obstruction on the tracks, circles in her mind, constricting it. Oh I also recall the magic of being in Terminal Tower when the locomotives chugged into Higbees underground, and the magicians’ smoke filled the space, overlaid more drawings on the luscious artwork, murals (that never should have been destroyed, work sewer rats could do, but I would think that even they would gag on such colorful profundity and drop like tubes of oil paint, potential usefulness squeezed out, fat gray gloves decorating the scene); smoke gushing out of the front silver plate, folded with the fold pointing out like a collar cradled in silvery recollections; this is what irons wanted to be, but not even that Rowenta came close, the steam irons would slobber on the clothes when they weren’t working properly; they wanted to be flattened for usefulness on the railroads, my paternal grandfather built them, hammer and pickaxe, Native American, Caucasian and immigrant from India, dry-land stevedore, oh, oh, oh, these memories….those murals in Terminal Tower railroad station“:

 

— Some of this deserves, warrants repeating, and some of this will pear in slightly different form in a book I am at long last writing about my father, including a scene I will have to completely  imagine since my father’s death in 1980; he got to see not one  of my books while he was alive; he never got to see his only biological grandson; he never got to see me truly happy with a man, the way I was with Thomas Robert Higginson, and I wish my father could have seen that photo of me standing beside Thomas Robert on a bridge, happiest weekend off my life so far;  (even my son who never met my father, commented that he had never seen me happy with a man before, and I know with all my heart that  true.  

 

–Must sidetrack for just a bit right here, because I was married  for forty years, and did not know the pleasure I found with Thomas Robert —  says a lot about Thomas Robert, I know, and it is not my intention to embarrass him; but when a man has achieved something as special as this, you just do not keep it to yourself, 

 

(If you want to know more, and I hope you do, then by all means read, New Kiss Horizon!

new-kiss-horizon

 

 

 

end of sidetracking, but not the end, probably never will be, of feelings for Thomas Robert Higginson)

 

 

(find out more about New Kiss Horizon here :

 

NEW KISS HORIZON LINKS:

 Link to “New Kiss Horizon” on Smashwords: 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/683373

 Link to “New Kiss Horizon” paperback on Amazon: 

https://www.amazon.com/New-Kiss-Horizon-Thylias-Moss/dp/1540584496

 Link to “New Kiss Horizon” Kindle book on Amazon: 

https://www.amazon.com/New-Kiss-Horizon-Thylias-Moss-ebook/dp/B01N1K0PLC

 Link to Thylias Moss Amazon writer page: 

https://www.amazon.com/Thylias-Moss/e/B001JSBOQQ 

Vashtis Blog (narrator of NKH, maintaining a blog so that readers may keep in touch with developments in the character’s life beyond the book):

Vashti’s blog URL:

 https://vashtisblog.wordpress.com/)

 

 

Dear Thomas, I sure hope that you do not mind my posting in this blog a photo that said to me was pure “delight’ –that’s what I felt, also; I am standing right beside you where I belong, and you are standing right beside me where you belong, always:

THYLIAS MOSS AND BOB HOLMAN on a bridge in Chicago 2014

Vashti Astapad Warren with Thomas Robert Higginson: love in full bloom

and I am writing a scene in which my father is holding his usual study, his brothers-in-law sitting at the dining room table , table my mother still has, by the way, his lectures on the composition and location of the human soul, a bottle  of Old Mr. Boston nearby, pale in the glasses, like my skin when it sparkles (as it did when I was with Thomas, especially whenever he kissed me and I kissed him); Thomas Robert is a drinker too; they would have enjoyed each other very much, and my father would have been joyous indeed to see that I had loved someone like Thomas Robert Higginson.

 

mr-boston-brandy-logo

 

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

 

 

Back to the business of reverie, and repetition, for all of this is true, nothing truer has ever existed:

 

You know, I will always miss my father. Always. I was never spanked because of him; he did not believe in hitting; if something can be loved, you don’t h it, you love it. That is how he raised me , so unlike my mother; how different they were. I don’t think she ever hard the trains. Maybe just a screech of metal on metal, trains encountering obstruction on the tracks, circles in her mind, constricting it. Oh I also recall the magic of being in Terminal Tower when the locomotives chugged into Higbees underground, and the magicians’ smoke filled the space, overlaid more drawings on the luscious artwork, murals (that never should have been destroyed, work sewer rats could do, but I would think that even they would gag on such colorful profundity and drop like tubes of oil paint, potential usefulness squeezed out, fat gray gloves decorating the scene); smoke gushing out of the front silver plate, folded with the fold pointing out like a collar cradled in silvery recollections; this is what irons wanted to be, but not even that Rowenta came close, the steam irons would slobber on the clothes when they weren’t working properly; they wanted to be flattened for usefulness on the railroads, my paternal grandfather built them, hammer and pickaxe, Native American, Caucasian and immigrant from India, dry-land stevedore, oh, oh, oh, these memories….those murals in Terminal Tower railroad station

 

copyright © 2017 by Thylias Moss. Published by arrangement with the author.  All rights reserved.