Tag Archives: multiple sclerosis

SOME THINGS others would never know: (Tribute to Thomas Robert Higginson, and to my son, the living men most important in my life)

My son is hardly a child anymore; in fact, he is 26 yrs old.

Ansted in Toronto with iPod

And although he is an adult himself, and although his moher, me was never single as an adult and spent forty years married to a man who was infertile, and therefore could not possibly be his father, sperm donor paternity and all that jazz, he still should not know about my love life (such as it is) that involved this dress:

and this bridge,

 

Our Usness!

Two Friends on a Bridge, Thylias Moss and Thomas Robert Higginson, Chicago

where I stood beside Thomas Robert Higginson in Chicago.  Many did not want to see this happen, but it happened anyway, and I will never try to speak for him, but others kept interfering, and they still  try to, and I am not speaking for Thomas Robert, only for myself, but there are times when I wish they would let us be, and allow whatever can or won’t happen between us to happen or not happen.  It should not matter to anyone what I did or who I did it with.  I am no celebrity, just an aging woman who wants Love more than anything.  

Was there Love on this bridge in Chicago?  

Indeed there was, and is it gone?  –well, not for me.  But I will not speak for him, and his Sweet Memory.  Sweet for  me also.  So sweet, I had to write about it,:Cover of NKH (don’t ask)

There was already too much interference, oh, I don’t know, say from a publisher who rejected his blurb for my book “Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities’ Red Dress Code“, rejected his blurb for not being “literary enough” . Below is a photo of  the jacket of this book, and Thomas Robert’s  Blurb is not on it. Although it so easily could have been. And that is just wrong.  

 

Wannabe Hoochie Mama Galery of Realties' Red Dress Code

“Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities’ RedDress Code” –last book from Persea, jacket

The Missing blurb:

“WonderWomanWonderWriterWonderThinkerWildWildwildWildwildwild Woman

That’s right, Write On, o! Great Crusader of the Pen Nib. hell, you go Girl, you go, Lady Thylias of the massive Intellect talent and Poet for All Time”

 

                                           —Bob Holman 

I fought to have it there; I know that one should choose one’s battles, and I chose that one although I lost.  Thomas Robert himself told me not to worry about it, that the book was what matters, but I recall writing an essay explaining that the spoken word artist is more significant than the literary artist, for the spoken word Artist has an audience!  Made no difference to those who could have implemented changes, but did not, for reasons I reject.

 

A few photos of Thomas Robert Higginson and I performing together at the Hannan Café in Detroit, MIchigan:

All images from the Hannen Cafe; who knows, but I may never get to perform with him again. 

More of the performance here.   I had feared that this footage also was lost, but it was on an external hard drive.  I have at least 50 of these.  I don’t want to say too much, I fear that Thomas Robert is already upset with me, for I am verbsose and he is terse, and much more direct, and the best friend I have ever had.  I have just wanted to establish some reality in his life, and here it is, some of it anyway.  Looks real enough to me.

This is truth.

 I cannot deny it and be telling the truth, for that is me in the videos and I am performing with a good friend of mine, Thomas Robert Higginson.  We are in Detroit. At the Hannen Café.  We are performing a Collaboration “Hammered Justice” and I know why we performed this poem and not Blue Coming. He said he didn’t want to parade me.  This is the most complete version that I have, and you will hear my son’s voice in the background. And he also said that this was the first time he had ever seen me happy with a man, exactly what he said.

I had feared this video was also lost, but I am so glad it isn’t for, who knows I may never get to perform with my friend again.  Once we were BFFs, and here is what someone else in the audience said, Writer L. Bush:

“Hi Forker Gryle; I did not film it; I shot pics. Had I known you would go OFF like that, I would have filmed it. I was totally unprepared for the Tina/Ike ( happy days) vibe you two had going on. It was FUCKING AWESOME! -w.”

 

Please understand it was the way Thomas Robert Higginson met my son, he and I had agonized about how this meeting would be, But Thomas Robert walked right up to Ansted, extended his hand and said, “I’m Thomas Robert.” Thomas easily commands any scene where he appears. “I know”, my son said, “I’ve heard so much about you!”   Thomas Robert just laughed his robust laugh.   And when he kissed me at the end  of the performance, you should have seen the reaction of the audience, mine too; I was only too glad to be close to him.  And for my son, it also was delight. His mother was happy.  Very happy.

Following this, everyone assumed, rightfully or not, that Thomas Robert and I were  an item.  We even  received a couple of invitations but there was no followthrough on this.  I wish there had been.  Thomas Robert always acted as if my MS were problematic, but it isn’t.  I remain symptom-free; not at all the way it was when I was on injectable treatment therapies.  It really is, right now, as if I have no MS; symptom-free since 2013.  No exacerbation of any kind, and not a single MS attack,

used to be like this for me:

Music composed and performed by my son, Ansted Moss, vocals written and performed by Thylias Moss, a poem, “Monday Aardvark of Laundry” (this too will find its way to my rebuilt YouTube channel) .  Please understand that Thomas Robert Higginson and I have no simple connection.  This man will always be in my life whether or not he wants to be.  We’re already linked; too late to unlink us now.  Nor do I want to be unlinked,

and I am so very glad that my son has been a part of this.  

Thomas Robert Higginson accepted me despite all of this; he saw something else, and so did I, so do I, I mean.  I cannot turn my back on this man; he and I have weathered so much.  

WANNABE HOOCHIE MAMA REVISED BOOK JACKET!

Our Usness!

This happened and I will never deny this bit of truth.  I am very happy with this truth, happiest days  of my life, Truly.  He named me “Dream Baby” –Just a fact.  

I am not trying to embarrass anyone.  Yes; I really do still care about this man, and that is not your business either.  I am not asking any of  you if I should or shouldn’t.  I have taken a lot from this man, and likewise, Thomas Robert has taken a lot from me, and when I rebuild my youtube channel, “Hammered Justice” from the Hannen Café is going back on it, where it was in the first place.

How and why I know him is none of your business, and I am not asking for anyone’s permission to care about him, but I have known him for thirty years; in fact I was

in a movie he produced, as I recall; it was a long time ago, but some memories never die, and become ever sweeter over time, but this is  not  secret.  My mother was supposed to play the maid,  but she wouldn’t, although housekeeping  (or maid service) is the only job, other than mother, and wife,  I have known her to have since I have been in the world, but she refused, saying that my friend just wanted her to play “the lowest“.  She could never understand that I was actually elevating maids; valuing her work and its associated dignity.  I won’t tell you all of what else she called my friend, that old, N-Jew was part of it, and  I  deeply resented that.  Wouldn’t you know that a man would be part of the wedge driving mother and daughter further apart?

I was also in “Green Light and Gamma Waysit shoud have been but on the video as “Green Light and Gamma Rays” , a typical expectation, but “Ways” in the source poem, and the previous excerpt “9:08, Nagging Misunderstanding” is from a much longer poem “The Linoleum Rhumba” 

For the movie shoot for both of these video pieces, I wore a dress I no longer have, and for many reasons, I wish I did, for not having this dress, makes it seem that I do not value ths experience as much as another experiencesr did.

But here I am wearing the dress from this movie, “The United States of Poetry“.  I encourage you to look it up, be sure you understand these parts before you criticize them.  I have already received a lot of flack about the bed-making video, from some who felt the white woman was maligned, but that was never my intention, and  if you listen carefully and pehaps read the entire poems, you might realize what the intention actually is.  Here I am  wearing the dress from this movie:

 

I do not place this here inviting speculation from anyone as to what is or it not  between this man and I;  kindly keep to yourself what you think my response should be.  I have heard enough from people who know nothing about “US’Ness” –telling me that this man des not want me –did he tell you that?  

If not, kindly do not speak for him just because you are a man.  He is more than capable of speaking for himself, and whatever he said, I can  take it.  I have been down this road with him before, and I still care about him.  I am trying not to allow any but my own feelings –and I do have some– to dominate in trying to work things out, but all those poems in question, appear in “Wannabe“–as well as “Blue Coming” –a copy of that one as it appear in:” by Thylias Moss (me) published by Persea Books, 2016.

“Blue Coming”

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

My “Blue Coming”

you can hear me read “Blue Coming ” here:

BLUE COMING: POEM READ BY THYLIAS MOSS

26 Sep 2017, Posted by JL Jacobs in Audio, Poetry

Art credit: “Foam” by photographer Çağrı Yılmaz, Istanbul, @resifdesign.

BLUE COMING

Audio Player

00:00
00:00
 

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

BLUE COMING

Blue Coming: After Bob Holman’s “What You Can’t Understand Is Poetry Is Connected to the Body Again”

Colorado Review — Volume 42, Number 2, Summer 2015

to see the whole thing in contxt, amy I refer you to 

 ABSTRACT MAG ARTICLE: “FUCKIN’ MUSE – A JOURNEY INTO  Collaboration

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

I have an entire post in this blog dedicated to that essay:Fuckinmuse: a journey into collaboration (therefore, also into a True Love story in Love Jungle)1 by Thylias Moss

What I cannot tell you is where this man, Thomas Robert Higginson and I are heading for sure; time will tell as tim always does, but we have been many places, especially deep within my heart. 

All I have done is really very simple: I hav told the truth, and I hope the truth is enough, is a form of Justice that I am hammering into existence, that my son gets to witness, for though I have cried some tears over him, he has been the very source of sunshine  in my life, and I will always thank him for that, and so much more.

And JL Jacobs

I will always be grateful to Jaclyn for publishing this eesay of truth bewtween myself an a man who means so much to me, always will .

I post that essay again in its entirety from Jaclyn’s website:

BLOG

 

FUCKINMUSE: A JOURNEY INTO COLLABORATION BY THYLIAS MOSS

24 Sep 2017, Posted by JL Jacobs in Article, Poetry

Art credit: Nathalie von Arx, Zurich, Switzerland

fuckinmuse: a journey into collaboration

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

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 ‘Father(3)’”

Art credit: Gary Frier, South Africa, @gary_frier

Long before I knew my Thomas Robert Higginson, as well as I now do, he had written a review of my book Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler and it is quite telling to share that review at the outset, for it reveals his interest in the life of this poet:

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

Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler

Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler – by Thylias Moss

(nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award)

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

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

He called this truth our “US-ness.”

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

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

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

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

I think that I was looking for him, without realizing I was, when I  developed “Limited Fork Theory,”(6) a way of understanding how all things are connected, “limited” in that we are bound by our abilities to notice and a related inability to meaningfully notice everything that exists or has existed or ever will  exist.   Bound to the limits of our senses, those devices for accessing

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

I am always amazed by these ranges.

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

Limited.

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

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

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

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

Why a fork?

Look at all the opportunitunies for turning corners; each tine of a fork is just such opportunity, and they can fold and twist back on themslves. Even shadows 

find ways to extend themselves, connect and collaborate, and this is a rather intimate gesture, for how to touch withot intimacy?  –even if brutal, for that is still a connection.  Does not have to be pleasant, but I prefer when  it is.  I have yet to find a way.  And every pink strand of Forker Gryle (Thomas’s spelling) is a tine of a fork: here’s an excerpt from “New Kiss Horizon“:

 

“What I really like is how you get the sexy science; you understand Forkergirl Particle Pops a Beaded Multiverse —and you fill every universe in this multiverse, my multiverse is all you. I know that you like the forking me on Facebook where we reconnect, and you like even better the theory behind her, that pink hair just like those pink flowers I love so much, especially Clitoria, you like that flower too” — that flower that is part of this tiny body, Thomas, and you kiss it on the iPhone when we talk, daily now leading up to when you can Kiss it in person. And I kiss you on the screen also…

 

Forker Gryle

pink hair; yummy beads.

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

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

 

(Better angels.)

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

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

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

Love is one of them.

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

AneurysmThylias in hospital after the aneurysm rupturedThylias in hospital after the aneurysm ruptured

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

Without this rupture there would have been no rapture of Thomas Robert Higginson in my life.  

—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.

Forker Gyrl --photo for Bob!

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, and a telescope –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 credit: Chris Rivera, @chris.riveraChristopherjphotography@gmail.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Such intensity of pleasure, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are no words,

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t let his look fool you!

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

time with him —even time in my mind— was good and nasty, and that is a part of the complexity that makes being with him so good.   Maybe I emphasize the physical right now, for what we have is complete, the cerebral and the nasty —even Einstein(9)  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 credit: Nathalie von Arx, Zurich, Switzerland

RESPONSE

BLUE COMING

Audio Player

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


ENDNOTES:

1 From a love poem Thomas Robert Higginson wrote for me, “You Are the Corner of My Eye”

2 A pseudonym

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


About the author: 

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

http://www.4orkology.com
http://www.midhudsontaffy.com
http://www.moxiesupper.com
http://www.lex97.com
http://www.thyliasmoss-writer.com


Art credits: Nathalie von Arx, Zurich, Switzerland. Gary Frier, South Africa, @gary_frier. Chris Rivera, @chris.rivera, Christopherjphotography@gmail.com. Vivian Nimue Wood, @viviana_boscardin, Vale d’ Aosta, Italy.

I hope that Thomas Robert Higginson whatever he has been to me, and whatever he will be to me without anyone interfering, does not mind this truth I am telling.  If he did not want anyone to know we were connected in any way at all, it is much too late for that.

I recall so much that he has written and said, even when he talked about the soul crying out but that is for another time, and who knows?  Maybe one day Thomas Robert Higginson and I will be together, and then maybe again, maybe we won’t, but whatever happens, it won’t be because of those who butt in and try to tell me who to care about and why, and also try to tell me about him.  Unless he has told you what his connection  is to me, I do not want to hear it,  And if that makes me a fool for this man , at least  I am a honest fool.  For I have gone from a woman who nearly died to whatever it is that I am right now: this female in a cap.

I love this man, at least for now, and even my son now knows.

A wild ride for as long as it lasts, for as Thomas Robert himself said:
“explaining me back to me from your perspective, and through your lens.

So thank you infinitely for the gift of all possibility”

He said this, too, something I will always cherish:

“Of course that means ongoing, and how that works with collaborating, mutual performances, seeing each other etc etc —it’s all there, we just don’t know what yet, and that’s the beauty you have given us in this letter.  The truth of it.

It means so much

It means everything”

As Palmer Joss says at the end of “Contact,” my favorite film, “I for one , believe her” 

and I for one, believe Him.  

Advertisements

Some Praise

On this historic night when a woman, the first woman,  is the Democratic candidate for President of the United States of America, the OFFICIAL CANDIDATE FOR A MAJOR POLTICAL PARTY (next time, maybe a Native woman?); on this night, I am partcicularly glad to be a woman, and in this context, while I still await knowledge about the status of my romance novel, yes; that weighs heavily upon me, love requires this book, and I am in love with the character, maybe more than that… 

 

Love is the way to do things; I still maintain that, and sometimes there seems to be some anarchy involved even with love that cure

so I want to share two versions of a piece of writing, an essay published in Body  (copyright 1999) edited by Sharon Sloan Fiffer and Steve Fiffer, my essay:

 

51dypokBtkL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

(copyright 1999)

“SOME PRAISE FOR A LITTLE RIGHT-SIDED ANARCHY 

(That is also Tribute to the Lobe Girls)”

(my essay written about the ear, portions of the proceeds from the sale of this wonderful [IMHO] anthology will be donated to charity; still availabel for sale on Amazon)

well, here is the version, as published, written about/to/for (?) my then, now ex, spouse (who never read it, unless he reads it now):

SOME PRAISE FOR A LITTLE RIGHT-SIDED ANARCHY

(THAT IS ALSO TRIBUTE TO THE LOBE GIRLS)

THYLIAS MOSS

 

 

Not in fifteen years had it happened, a short-lived (days) right-leg winter, an internal ice age situated in the bones. Alarming, yet exciting departure from the normal whose grip sometimes gets too tight and imposes an unfortunate choke hold on the extraordinary. A deep chill is also mercilessly clean; frigid winds sweep the southernmost continent pure. Polar ice caps like seals of approval. Some praise, then, for a little right-sided anarchy.

          From toe to hip, sensation is gone and with it the awareness of half of my lap; a magazine resting on my right thigh hurts, an electrified Science News tries to shock the numbness out of misbehaving nerves, but the cold darts of current are excruciating in their intensity and fury. Only napped cloth like flannel or chamois, only fleece[1] is tolerable.   My leg must be swaddled in it against the cutting cold of smooth percale sheets that unaffected parts of my body have not yet warmed; it must be a cushion between my skin and a piece of the thinnest onionskin paper that seems a slice of solid carbon dioxide so cold is its burn –I wince at the brutality of its weight as I persist in writing a love letter to my husband. Transfiguration is like this, sudden, without warning.

         There’s a chance that, eventually, the conversion will be complete. By the inch, my skin (the body’s largest organ) will continue to lose sensory perception as I become outfitted in Antarctic finery, as I am primed for an absolute zero of being, becoming so cold that even in the temperate zone’s snowy winters, I melt like dry ice, from solid gas to vapor. Before it dissipated, the vapor from the dry ice melting a month ago in my sink (we’d brought back frozen novelties from five hundred miles away, Wesley so crazy about lemon premium ice cream) was white with ragged edges, scored patches of fog snatched from a more widespread cloudiness in an attempted liberation of sky’s preferred light and color. From my sink, stringy clouds rose, white rivers of spirochetes as I’d seen them move (making unheard pathological music) under microscopes in documentaries about Tuskegee, but these were benign and confined to the sky; these achieved atmospheric altitude. Bacterial and viral regiments invade silently, as if observing moments of silence to honor that which is under siege, to respect the victim (as the praying mantis seems a pious predator), to choose the host and not arbitrarily fall into an organic residence in which to proliferate quietly, reverently. It is strictly business when pathogens arrive. Suddenly, I have a cold.

         The generations of virus (exceedingly more fertile than rabbits) neither celebrate victory nor accept defeat with noise as I sneeze (utilizing blaring defenses) and cough up phlegm green and yellow, for a few days, with infection. Sometimes there is also a dull aching in my ears, a pain both felt and heard; a gong distant and under water is what I hear while all through the course of the cold, the ear’s external appearance remains unchanged. In my eyes, some redness, also at the tip of my nose sore from blowing; an awful nasal trumpet when Wesley blows his nose to clear it of catarrh, in the process actually producing a note out of Gershwinian rhapsodies, but nevertheless, it is annoying, especially close to my ear that can’t choose not to hear it. Afterwards, Wesley usually leaves a tissue stuck in his nose and asks, “Do you love me?” Do I love him as a time like this, I think, hearing those thoughts loudly and clearly; do I love him when he’s behind a most inadequate veil and obviously feeling excessively comfortable around me­–and then I start hearing Chaka Khan’s record, I Feel For You, so that’s what I say, “Wesley, I feel for you”, as seductively as I can so he’ll hear only that (for I know how consuming seduction is, and how sensitive his ears are to both what   tongues–make that only my tongue– say and what my tongue does) and not the layers, drowned out by seduction,[2] where I’m listening to myself plug into the blank all the words that can fit; I’m really singing. And I keep singing while preparing the evening meal, while blood drips from my not-infrequent kitchen ineptitude–no one likes to watch me handle a knife, cutting into my knuckles when I trim asparagus stalks, blood rising to the top of the superficial nick, rather like a Mercurochrome stain, then immediately thicker and forming a suitable Rorschach blot on the bandage; I once thought of making a poster (and science project) of used Band-Aid art, but was discouraged mostly for hygienic reasons; I’d taken the wrong side in the war to eradicate germs. There was other singeing as well, the vibrato sting of injury, a pulsating my ear disregarded, the waves of sting too shallow for what my ears could do: listen as Wesley told me he knew this would happen.

         Moments and movements without sound dignify the ear just as forfeiture of sensation exalts the leg. Everything that vibrates yet is unheard is either infrasonic (below frequencies of sound waves in the audible range) [3]  or ultrasonic (above frequencies in the audible range). When the audible range is bypassed, the ear does not have to discriminate; it does not have to declare as musically sweet, uniform vibrations that set in motion the fluid in the cochlea’s minute ocean where those tides are translated into impulses that are what the brain interprets; what the brain hears. Nor does the ear have to take displeasure (or delight) in more chaotic vibrations and their ruggedness, their dissonance that when allowed to intervene in melody lends the texture and complexity that improve musical compositions. The ear reprieved from making such judgments becomes a vessel strictly for maintaining balance. When its only function is balance, the ear is glorified; sound remains the result of vibration, but as if all of it is ultrasonic, all of it refined; as if only the ultrahighs survive sound’s elutriation–the spirit of music camping in a sanctuary of gently vibrating leaves or in the lethargic pirouette of the ceiling fan’s low-speed quiet. Such sound is not heard, but instead gives rise to awe.

 

         The nerves of the lower half of my body after fifteen years have again (this time for a longer spell) gone insubordinate in disregarding the brain’s classification of sensation. The nerves want to establish their own canon of sensation although they are the brain’s own tendrils for the relay of impulses, root hairs from a rutabaga of a brain.  Or perhaps more like a cranial Portuguese man-of-war armed with masses of tentacles, the ones that extend to my right leg, toxic. These nerves stop speaking to my brain, adolescent nerves rebelling and broadcasting what my brain dismisses as static, so extraordinary things happen: the open Jenn-Air oven door soothes, is icy when my right leg touches it, so cooling I don’t jump from its attained 450 degrees; instead my leg photographs a ripe and spectacular (so big and bright) berry. The rush of air is a blast of menthol and mint; I am ready to do an alpine skiing ad for York Peppermint Patties.

         These nerves have become tired of pleasantness; a feather one of my sons has found will torment me when he places it on my leg, drags its frozen knife-tip across my skin, and in so doing, exposes my lies to him about the incipient majesty in anything without having to turn to sadistic or masochistic explanations. The world is song I’ve said to my sons; listen. The ears would flap and try to fly if song had not captivated them. Consider, dear ones, that deaf ears are so captivated, they freeze, and then there is just that greatness available as echoes in a spiral in a shell’s many inner chambers, a whispered “ah” that never ends.

         In the morning, it turns out that a man has had his hand on my thigh all night, and I did not know of this simple contact that was trying to be more and would have been more with encouragement I would have given to such a lovely request, the tracing of small blossoms; that is to say: the transfer of his fingertip bouquet to my skin, an invisible tattoo. I wake to a stroking that coincides perfectly with light’s first and early stroking of the glass; the thin pale curtains are seductive in a way they won’t be later. The light heeding the raciness of the sheerness allows shadows of birds to dive into shadows of trees, fierce and eager lovers beyond caring about an audience. I wake to a stroking that exists only visually; if the motion makes sound, it is beyond my ears’ threshold of perception although it looks more intense, more vital than the whisper of his breathing that I do hear. For the first time, I resist pleasure, gratitude, tenderness, and everything that Wesley has loaded into his fingers. For the first time–although his fingers make wells in my skin, depressions around which ridges of skin rise somewhat like crowns. Ah, he still wants to make me royalty and I seem to reject it, the loss of feeling disguised as indifference. Years ago when we were falling in love, Wesley called me princess and my ears heard, because my brain sanctioned an elevation, the ultrasonic implications of his feelings that each day sought higher expression and made demands increasingly difficult for mere bodies to fulfill; the feelings were becoming so invested with fortitude and energy as to be able to exist without us. All unheard ultrasonic music is their song. The first time he called me princess, I wanted to fold the lobe of my ear up and the helix down so as to seal the actual sound inside my head, the cilia quivering always, mesmerized like the rest of me, a most rapturous form of tinnitus.[4] I imagined that if he places his ear against mine, he would hear the resonance of his calling me and from then on would call me honey cowry or concha or precious wentletrap.

         During the past fifteen years, this body has served me so well, I do nothing but praise it and the beautiful conspiracy of its systems. Conspiracy because what occurs within me are secretive adventures: my digestion[5] and thinking are invisible, and exactly what my eyes and ears, tongue, skin and nose process is not necessarily disclosed; even my respiration is mostly concealed (especially under the sweaters and coats) except for the intimacy of breath I share with those invited to share theirs with me, a child falling asleep in my arms, warm puffs rewarding my skin with the most sanitary of kisses, or my husband’s whispering in the cinema or at dinner things for my ears only.[6] As for what is made visible when I breathe in cold circumstances, that is just residue made visible by warmed exhalation colliding with winter, just carbon dioxide waste, a fibrous or cotton-candy-looking skeleton of breath, My pulse is all mine.[7]

 

* * *

 

         Thank you, body, for keeping the fifteen pounds[8] gained during my last pregnancy that was shared with a tumor trying to become as large as the baby, my baby’s mute, deaf, lifeless twin, fifteen marvelous pounds that have given me a voluptuous potential I’d never earned before,[9] being in the past so lean, my legs more like reeds, carrying me always close to shorelines where herons balanced on even less than I had. The birds took off as if flight were unremarkable, but the wingspan, the fully extended stole of feathers provided profound evidence of conceit and the arrogance I assumed was required to kiss off gravity in the first place. I like when birds operate in higher levels of sky, advanced sky that seems unlike the colorless portion I stand within, sucking it endlessly and mostly soundlessly.

         The thinner the plant by the pond, bird-leg thin, the faster it seemed to respond to silent breezes, breezes silent to me, but producing sound at levels only visual to me or only felt against my skin (it is as if waves of sound attempt to enter the body everywhere, but succeed only with the ear) that horripilates if the air is moving beyond my threshold of perceiving sound is sufficiently chilled–horripilation is the eruption of goose bumps, an eruption that is like the score of crazy orchestration, minute brown whole notes wildly confiscating my arms. Was my first visit to Euclid Creek also my first time envying the grass that fluttered to air music I could not hear? Dandelion seeds would become caught in chords, holding those notes until a descending scale brought them to the ground where they germinated and prepared for another sprouting. As I ran, I too set the air moving according to my rhythms, and this the grass heard too, and this the dandelion seeds danced to also, a fully-seeded plant in each of my hands as I twirled, the seeds coming loose and riding in my small spirals–a carnival of imperceptible sounds; a disturbance of air that disturbed nothing else.

 

         At some point, it may not be how things feel that has meaning. I will know a spoon is in my hand because I see it, because I hear it scrape the bottom of a bowl, stir iced tea, but without a confirmation of the logic of other senses, I won’t know whether or not a spoon has been picked up. Left will be only abstract feeling, extrasensory love, mental orgasm, more and more imagination. It is for love of a man that I hope the neurologists are able to help me feel again what my man wants me to feel every day when he kisses me, when he holds me, as he sets out to disprove the existence of inadequacy. I will still desire him; I just won’t know that I have been satisfied, but as I always have, I will enjoy his satisfaction. I have not wanted my satisfaction to be mine alone, but consistently I have wanted to give it to him, to make it large enough to encompass him, to transform a selfishness into a generosity.

         At some point I may understand, better than I ever could have without this anarchy of body, that perception is a trick. Knowing the deception of sensation, I turn to eyes and ears, assuming that even if the whole body (including taste buds) loses the sense of touch, vision and hearing can continue and will do so more intensely. There is, however, the matter of my myopia, the distortion already present in how the world looks to me, blurry with my unaided eyes as if everything grows fur. There is a clean-edged perception from six inches in front of my face to a depth of relative infinity only through corrective lenses. My ears and their no-known deficit will have to compensate, It is amazing what the body can live without successfully: limbs, sanity, movement, sight, speech, breasts, genitalia, a kidney, voice box, lung or heart so long as there are artificial replacements. An external ear isn’t absolutely essential (to lose one wouldn’t necessarily impair hearing) except, really, for the cosmetic spectacle if such eccentricity of appearance bothered the earless one.

         When I was about ten, I knew a girl, Judy, who had her ears pierced the day she turned thirteen. It was a home piercing; her aunt, another teenager, sterilized a needle in the gas stove’s flame and while the needle was still hot, poked it through Judy’s lobe that was already hurting from having ice cubes held against it t anesthetize it. Straws that had been singed at each end were inserted in the fresh hole to keep it open while the ear healed. She bathed her ears in isopropyl alcohol and witch hazel every morning and night, but for all that rigorous nursing, something went wrong. Knobs started growing from the back of her ear, a cluster of irregular lumps, excresences, keloids that made wearing earrings, those 24-karat gold studs she’d bought, impossible. I thought her ears would have to be amputated, but she still had them, the keloids too, two years later and the last time I saw her. Judy, although she sometimes talked to me, mostly hung out in the circle of older girls, some of whom wore earrings so humongous and heavy, they were weights that more appropriately should have been attached to wrists or ankles. These weights stretched the lobes and widened the pierced holes so tremendously, these girls could wear pierced earrings only on wires; there was nothing on which studs and earring backs could anchor. So Judy’s friends kept a couple of pencils or pens in these holes. Or they carried lipsticks in these holes, rolled-up dollars, and one of them, Shaynee, hid cigarettes inside the money roll. The Famous and Fabulous Lobe Girls of the Rose of Sharon Baptist Church Young Adult Choir.

 

         I love the perfection of Wesley’s ears; it is perfection because of what has become a burnt standard, the darker rim, the top of the helix that flaming vegetable oil singed (on another night, early in our marriage, of my kitchen ineptitude) when he doused the pot with water, and only after scattering the flames (that then leaped to scorch the curtains also), thought to clamp the lid on the pot and throw it off the second-floor apartment’s back porch into a bank of snow. I run my fingers along this healed rim, delighting in its flame-caused fine scallops, fluted like a tiny pie, one downsized for a mouse. Our younger son’s ears were discolored from the moment of birth, all white except for the rim, the top of the helix where the ear was so dark, it seemed he had been born with scabs; the rest of his body was golden, a richly yellow tan. The white ears persisted for four months until there was a blessing of pigment–apparently drained from the scabs (they faded to tan) and redistributed.

         Wesley has mild hearing deficit in his left ear; I have to get close, as I like to anyway, to speak to him on the left, where I usually am as we walk. It is mostly, however, his right ear that receives attention as my head rests through our nights on his right shoulder, as I ride as passenger in our truck. A decorative bass clef is on the side of his head. His own hyperbola–I am in love with Wesleyan geometry, the arrangement of his points, lines, and angles, and its effects upon space that I enter, that I bend and that bend bends me as I approach him, more supple than  I am at any other time. He is a mathematical concoction, a figure of what exists theoretically in numbers; a prediction and explanation of what exists within things and makes them behave as they do, as opposed to a verifiable object. This is the calculus in which I would have excelled had I been allowed to study it when I was assigned elsewhere.

         At times his ear seems a study of an embryo. In fact, acupuncture points on the ear correspond to an understanding of the ear as an embryo. Rudimentary ears form just a few days after conception, and the cochlea completes its development before birth.[10] Wesley’s ear is a map to all that he is. Its auditory canal all dark with a scant covering of cerumen (the wax that traps foreign bodies, such as insects and dust, and attempts to prevent their deeper penetration. His earwax is as moist and dark as molasses but doesn’t taste sweet, whereas mine is crumbly and barely amber) seems an ideal confessional. I love our time in bed, our voices low, so that our sons hear nothing but a soothing hum, my mouth near his ear because of how he holds me, my head an egg in his nest of shoulder, and I speak into that confessional, saying everything I need to say, everything he needs to hear, filling his head with resonance.

         I have said to him that his ear is a partial flower, a single petal, part of an iris, dark, as dark as the wax his ear contains, because it is night and I can’t see color anymore. His ear is a night flower; it blooms only at night; it unfolds and releases a powerful fragrance that lures the nocturnal bugs, me among them, seeking that Aqua Velva bite and nectar.

         There are night-blooming botanical rarities that many people have never seen, rarities for which it is worth losing sleep to hurry sundown and see the pale flowers open for the luna and white-lined sphinx moths, all of the moon flowers opening at once, the sounding of gauze trumpets, a unison oh so remarkable, unified to a ten-thousandth of a second. When they open, I open my body to Wesley, unified to that same ten-thousandth.[11]

         Each day he comes home, from the office, to the only comfort that sustains him, to a castle of ruled by symbiosis. Now that numbness again is part of this royal treatment, that sweet man checks my bath, testing the water since today I perceive only coolness, relief, paradigms of beneficent expression–and nothing else in the world.

 

 

        

 

[1] The word fleece always comforts me with the thought of the generosity of lambs. I use this word just to evoke comfort when subconsciously I am tuned to needing comfort. I think much (both frequently and highly) of this generosity, this innocent dispensation that remains in force into a sheep’s maturity. An innocence retained. My ears as well are sensitive to the slightest emotional tilting out of balance, and also to the spatial location, so hearing the whisper of fleece inside my head restores; hearing the quiet of my thinking makes of my brain a chapel that dispenses equilibrium and renewal. As I clean my blinds by running a lamb’s wool duster back and forth over them, the wool’s lanolin holds the dust securely, dust composed of the music of existing, the ultimate disintegration of things into superb granular substance; to scatter dust is to release a slur of hemidemisemiquavers (sixty-fourth notes) into the air. With my wrist’s motion, I am making music; the duster is like a fluffy microphone although it is my perception and imagination that are amplified, not volume or my hearing.   A conductor brandishing arms, hands, and baton makes a music separate from that of the orchestral instruments: a transcending, unheard, acoustically pure song exhausting the audible high pitches and still ascending, accessing summits where sound is divinity. Sometimes I watch videos of symphony orchestras with the sound muted so as to showcase only the comfort of this effect.

[2] Other than during such seduction, he is polyphonic, as human hearing is designed to be, able to hear as many sounds as are present simultaneously; pitch, location, distance, and intensity helping the brain distinguish each sound, the waves entering the ear at different angles, bouncing from one part of the auricle (external ear) to another before falling into the auditory canal.

[3] Some infrasonic vibrations can be felt, however, since they occur within a range in which some parts of the body resonate and make their own infrasonic hymns. Despite a human tendency toward intellectual chauvinism, our hearing is quite limited among animals (eyesight too, as we, unlike cats, for instance, lose color perception in the dark); dolphins, bats, and cats can hear well into what for humans is the ultrasonic range, and dogs can hear both higher and lower pitches than people can hear.

[4] Tinnitus otherwise can be maddening, I’ve heard, the hearing of nonexistent sound, perhaps a constant flute, a single measure of a musical piece repeated and repeated, each time further from perfection. Or a sound more harsh and equally unrelenting, wasp buzz or a wolf call at all hours, perpetual percussion: gong and cymbal, the sound of a migraine headache’s pulsation pushed limbically into audibility. Some researchers believe these sounds originate in the inner ear and are boosted by the brain’s limbic system which is responsible for emptions.

[5] Excluding belches and anal flatuses that I never laughed at even when I was not the source, for the sound that reached my ear was that of a tuba, especially the attempts of a boy (that I liked) to play one. He walked home from school trying to play it, letting the tuba do all the awkward talking, its voice deeper than his would be for years.   As for the odor, it was powerful but faded quickly, so hardly powerful at all–a charming little paradox. There is also the audible borborybmus which is hunger pangs or a rumbling in the intestines such as what follows the ingestion of dairy products by the lactose-intolerant.

[6] “For my ears only” yet what he says is hardly original and probably not uttered for the first time; he has loved other women and told them things fir their ears only that delighted their ears probably no less (though I prefer to believe less) than my ears are delighted. It is fascinating that our secrets, our privacy, our so stunning intimacy is not unique–I cannot prove that what I hear is different form what other women have heard when he read to them the same passages of poem written by him (and mostly by others), but I would insist that loving him has caused a reshaping of the cochlea so that his voice is brighter than any other. So too has my skin been reconfigured, its nerves reprogrammed so that his breath and touch accomplish more (except where there is anarchy). My ears are combination locks, that is to say.

[7] And that s why it is appropriate that my primary are physician or the nurse-practitioner as if she make take it.

[8] That number again–repetitions always try to speak to me of a sacred potential, the repetition disproving accident. Symmetry is of course a form of repetition. And habits, say the habit of these footnotes, these branchings and digressions that seek to copy the anarchy of the way the arms and legs digress from the trunk, the ovaries from the uterus, the digits from the feet and hands, the ear and hair from the head.

[9] I can almost hear my hips that now are as round as bass clefs and their promise of rich sound.

[10] Here’s something else about the cochlea that I read somewhere, I think in Newsday: the cochleas of lesbians apparently become masculinized during gestation and are unlike the cochleas of heterosexual women; they are more like, the study found, the inner ears of men.

[11] I remember a girl I read about once–I think her name was Katie–who depended upon such night shows, who can never be a sun worshipper because ultraviolet radiation (the visible spectrum is not a problem–except that it is part of the electromagnetic range of sunlight) blisters and ulcerates her skin; light is fatal to her, so hers is the world of shadow, the quieter world when most things sleep, as if light also controls volume. Crickets seem more powerful at night, theirs voices more urgent. The sound of owls emerges, sound of wolves, sound of the settling of wood, sound of single drops of water, of my mother calling me home, as she used to (my bedtime), from many miles away; even the sound of caterpillars still polishing off in unison at dusk the needles of evergreen shrubs and the young May leaves become more pronounced. In the darkness is the enhanced demarcation of sound, is Katie’s concert. In the moonlight is Katie’s vacation, in the evening is her triumph over xeroderma pigmentosum (her extreme light sensitivity); in the evening is the rising of her award of the precious silver medal with it s any maria, all those splendid shelters from illumination, black heavens. She loves the ahs, depends on the hushes.

and the revised Thomas Higginson version, (since that is where my heart now is –always with this character, a prototype for the real man I so want in my life)

SOME PRAISE FOR A LITTLE RIGHT-SIDED ANARCHY

(THAT IS ALSO TRIBUTE TO THE LOBE GIRLS)

THYLIAS MOSS

 

Not in fifteen years had it happened, a short-lived (days) right-leg winter, an internal ice age situated in the bones. Alarming, yet exciting departure from the normal whose grip sometimes gets too tight and imposes an unfortunate choke hold on the extraordinary. A deep chill is also mercilessly clean; frigid winds sweep the southernmost continent pure. Polar ice caps like seals of approval. Some praise, then, for a little right-sided anarchy.

         From toe to hip, sensation is gone and with it the awareness of half of my lap; a magazine resting on my right thigh hurts, an electrified Science News tries to shock the numbness out of misbehaving nerves, but the cold darts of current are excruciating in their intensity and fury. Only napped cloth like flannel or chamois, only fleece[1] is tolerable.   My leg must be swaddled in it against the cutting cold of smooth percale sheets that unaffected parts of my body have not yet warmed; it must be a cushion between my skin and a piece of the thinnest onionskin paper that seems a slice of solid carbon dioxide so cold is its burn –I wince at the brutality of its weight as I persist in writing a love letter to my husband. Transfiguration is like this, sudden, without warning.

         There’s a chance that, eventually, the conversion will be complete. By the inch, my skin (the body’s largest organ) will continue to lose sensory perception as I become outfitted in Antarctic finery, as I am primed for an absolute zero of being, becoming so cold that even in the temperate zone’s snowy winters, I melt like dry ice, from solid gas to vapor. Before it dissipated, the vapor from the dry ice melting a month ago in my sink (we’d brought back frozen novelties from five hundred miles away, Wesley so crazy about lemon premium ice cream) was white with ragged edges, scored patches of fog snatched from a more widespread cloudiness in an attempted liberation of sky’s preferred light and color. From my sink, stringy clouds rose, white rivers of spirochetes as I’d seen them move (making unheard pathological music) under microscopes in documentaries about singinggee, but these were benign and confined to the sky; these achieved atmospheric altitude. Bacterial and viral regiments invade silently, as if observing moments of silence to honor that which is under siege, to respect the victim (as the praying mantis seems a pious predator), to choose the host and not arbitrarily fall into an organic residence in which to proliferate quietly, reverently. It is strictly business when pathogens arrive. Suddenly, I have a cold.

         The generations of virus (exceedingly more fertile than rabbits) neither celebrate victory nor accept defeat with noise as I sneeze (utilizing blaring defenses) and cough up phlegm green and yellow, for a few days, with infection. Sometimes there is also a dull aching in my ears, a pain both felt and heard; a gong distant and under water is what I hear while all through the course of the cold, the ear’s external appearance remains unchanged. In my eyes, some redness, also at the tip of my nose sore from blowing; an awful nasal trumpet when Thomas blows his nose to clear it of catarrh, in the process actually producing a note out of Gershwinian rhapsodies, but nevertheless, it is annoying, especially close to my ear that can’t choose not to hear it. Afterwards, Thomas usually leaves a tissue stuck in his nose and asks, “Do you love me?” Do I love him as a time like this, I think, hearing those thoughts loudly and clearly; do I love him when he’s behind a most inadequate veil and obviously feeling excessively comfortable around me­–and then I start hearing Chaka Khan’s record, I Feel For You, so that’s what I say, “Thomas, I feel for you, as seductively as I can so he’ll hear only that (for I know how consuming seduction is, and how sensitive his ears are to both what   tongues–make that only my tongue– say and what my tongue does) and not the layers, drowned out by seduction,[2] where I’m listening to myself plug into the blank all the words that can fit; I’m really singing. And I keep singing while preparing the evening meal, while blood drips from my not-infrequent kitchen ineptitude–no one likes to watch me handle a knife, cutting into my knuckles when I trim asparagus stalks, blood rising to the top of the superficial nick, rather like a Mercurochrome stain, then immediately thicker and forming a suitable Rorschach blot on the bandage; I once thought of making a poster (and science project) of used Band-Aid art, but was discouraged mostly for hygienic reasons; I’d taken the wrong side in the war to eradicate germs. There was other singeing as well, the vibrato sting of injury, a pulsating my ear disregarded, the waves of sting too shallow for what my ears could do: listen as Thomas told me he knew this would happen.

         Moments and movements without sound dignify the ear just as forfeiture of sensation exalts the leg. Everything that vibrates yet is unheard is either infrasonic (below frequencies of sound waves in the audible range)[3] or ultrasonic (above frequencies in the audible range). When the audible range is bypassed, the ear does not have to discriminate; it does not have to declare as musically sweet, uniform vibrations that set in motion the fluid in the cochlea’s minute ocean where those tides are translated into impulses that are what the brain interprets; what the brain hears. Nor does the ear have to take displeasure (or delight) in more chaotic vibrations and their ruggedness, their dissonance that when allowed to intervene in melody lends the texture and complexity that improve musical compositions. The ear reprieved from making such judgments becomes a vessel strictly for maintaining balance. When its only function is balance, the ear is glorified; sound remains the result of vibration, but as if all of it is ultrasonic, all of it refined; as if only the ultrahighs survive sound’s elutriation–the spirit of music camping in a sanctuary of gently vibrating leaves or in the lethargic pirouette of the ceiling fan’s low-speed quiet. Such sound is not heard, but instead gives rise to awe.

 

         The nerves of the lower half of my body after fifteen years have again (this time for a longer spell) gone insubordinate in disregarding the brain’s classification of sensation. The nerves want to establish their own canon of sensation although they are the brain’s own tendrils for the relay of impulses, root hairs from a rutabaga of a brain.  Or perhaps more like a cranial Portuguese man-of-war armed with masses of tentacles, the ones that extend to my right leg, toxic. These nerves stop speaking to my brain, adolescent nerves rebelling and broadcasting what my brain dismisses as static, so extraordinary things happen: the open Jenn-Air oven door soothes, is icy when my right leg touches it, so cooling I don’t jump from its attained 450 degrees; instead my leg photographs a ripe and spectacular (so big and bright) berry. The rush of air is a blast of menthol and mint; I am ready to do an alpine skiing ad for York Peppermint Patties.

         These nerves have become tired of pleasantness; a feather one of my sons has found will torment me when he places it on my leg, drags its frozen knife-tip across my skin, and in so doing, exposes my lies to him about the incipient majesty in anything without having to turn to sadistic or masochistic explanations. The world is song I’ve said to my sons; listen. The ears would flap and try to fly if song had not captivated them. Consider, dear ones, that deaf ears are so captivated, they freeze, and then there is just that greatness available as echoes in a spiral in a shell’s many inner chambers, a whispered “ah” that never ends.

         In the morning, it turns out that a man has had his hand on my thigh all night, and I did not know of this simple contact that was trying to be more and would have been more with encouragement I would have given to such a lovely request, the tracing of small blossoms; that is to say: the transfer of his fingertip bouquet to my skin, an invisible tattoo. I wake to a stroking that coincides perfectly with light’s first and early stroking of the glass; the thin pale curtains are seductive in a way they won’t be later. The light heeding the raciness of the sheerness allows shadows of birds to dive into shadows of trees, fierce and eager lovers beyond caring about an audience. I wake to a stroking that exists only visually; if the motion makes sound, it is beyond my ears’ threshold of perception although it looks more intense, more vital than the whisper of his breathing that I do hear. For the first time, I resist pleasure, gratitude, tenderness, and everything that Thomas has loaded into his fingers. For the first time–although his fingers make wells in my skin, depressions around which ridges of skin rise somewhat like crowns. Ah, he still wants to make me royalty and I seem to reject it, the loss of feeling disguised as indifference. Years ago when we were falling in love, Thomas called me princess and my ears heard, because my brain sanctioned an elevation, the ultrasonic implications of his feelings that each day sought higher expression and made demands increasingly difficult for mere bodies to fulfill; the feelings were becoming so invested with fortitude and energy as to be able to exist without us. All unheard ultrasonic music is their song. The first time he called me princess, I wanted to fold the lobe of my ear up and the helix down so as to seal the actual sound inside my head, the cilia quivering always, mesmerized like the rest of me, a most rapturous form of tinnitus.[4] I imagined that if he places his ear against mine, he would hear the resonance of his calling me and from then on would call me honey cowry or concha or precious wentletrap.

         During the past fifteen years, this body has served me so well, I do nothing but praise it and the beautiful conspiracy of its systems. Conspiracy because what occurs within me are secretive adventures: my digestion[5] and thinking are invisible, and exactly what my eyes and ears, tongue, skin and nose process is not necessarily disclosed; even my respiration is mostly concealed (especially under the sweaters and coats) except for the intimacy of breath I share with those invited to share theirs with me, a child falling asleep in my arms, warm puffs rewarding my skin with the most sanitary of kisses, or my husbands whispering in the cinema or at dinner things for my ears only.[6] As for what is made visible when I breathe in cold circumstances, that is just residue made visible by warmed exhalation colliding with winter, just carbon dioxide waste, a fibrous or cotton-candy-looking skeleton of breath, My pulse is all mine.[7]

 

* * *

 

         Thank you, body, for keeping the fifteen pounds[8] gained during my last pregnancy that was shared with a tumor trying to become as large as the baby, my baby’s mute, deaf, lifeless twin, fifteen marvelous pounds that have given me a voluptuous potential I’d never earned before,[9] being in the past so lean, my legs more like reeds, carrying me always close to shorelines where herons balanced on even less than I had. The birds took off as if flight were unremarkable, but the wingspan, the fully extended stole of feathers provided profound evidence of conceit and the arrogance I assumed was required to kiss off gravity in the first place. I like when birds operate in higher levels of sky, advanced sky that seems unlike the colorless portion I stand within, sucking it endlessly and mostly soundlessly.

         The thinner the plant by the pond, bird-leg thin, the faster it seemed to respond to silent breezes, breezes silent to me, but producing sound at levels only visual to me or only felt against my skin (it is as if waves of sound attempt to enter the body everywhere, but succeed only with the ear) that horripilates if the air is moving beyond my threshold of perceiving sound is sufficiently chilled– is the eruption of goose bumps, an eruption that is like the score of crazy orchestration, minute brown whole notes wildly confiscating my arms. Was my first visit to Euclid Creek also my first time envying the grass that fluttered to air music I could not hear? Dandelion seeds would become caught in chords, holding those notes until a descending scale brought them to the ground where they germinated and prepared for another sprouting. As I ran, I too set the air moving according to my rhythms, and this the grass heard too, and this the dandelion seeds danced to also, a fully-seeded plant in each of my hands as I twirled, the seeds coming loose and riding in my small spirals–a carnival of imperceptible sounds; a disturbance of air that disturbed nothing else.

 

         At some point, it may not be how things feel that has meaning. I will know a spoon is in my hand because I see it, because I hear it scrape the bottom of a bowl, stir iced tea, but without a confirmation of the logic of other senses, I won’t know whether or not a spoon has been picked up. Left will be only abstract feeling, extrasensory love, mental orgasm, more and more imagination. It is for love of a man that I hope the neurologists are able to help me feel again what my man wants me to feel every day when he kisses me, when he holds me, as he sets out to disprove the existence of inadequacy. I will still desire him; I just won’t know that I have been satisfied, but as I always have, I will enjoy his satisfaction. I have not wanted my satisfaction to be mine alone, but consistently I have wanted to give it to him, to make it large enough to encompass him, to transform a selfishness into a generosity.

         At some point I may understand, better than I ever could have without this anarchy of body, that perception is a trick. Knowing the deception of sensation, I turn to eyes and ears, assuming that even if the whole body (including taste buds) loses the sense of touch, vision and hearing can continue and will do so more intensely. There is, however, the matter of my myopia, the distortion already present in how the world looks to me, blurry with my unaided eyes as if everything grows fur. There is a clean-edged perception from six inches in front of my face to a depth of relative infinity only through corrective lenses. My ears and their no-known deficit will have to compensate, It is amazing what the body can live without successfully: limbs, sanity, movement, sight, speech, breasts, genitalia, a kidney, voice box, lung or heart so long as there are artificial replacements. An external ear isn’t absolutely essential (to lose one wouldn’t necessarily impair hearing) except, really, for the cosmetic spectacle if such eccentricity of appearance bothered the earless one.

         When I was about ten, I knew a girl, Judy, who had her ears pierced the day she turned thirteen. It was a home piercing; her aunt, another teenager, sterilized a needle in the gas stove’s flame and while the needle was still hot, poked it through Judy’s lobe that was already hurting from having ice cubes held against it t anesthetize it. Straws that had been singed at each end were inserted in the fresh hole to keep it open while the ear healed. She bathed her ears in isopropyl alcohol and witch hazel every morning and night, but for all that rigorous nursing, something went wrong. Knobs started growing from the back of her ear, a cluster of irregular lumps, excresences, keloids that made wearing earrings, those 24-karat gold studs she’d bought, impossible. I thought her ears would have to be amputated, but she still had them, the keloids too, two years later and the last time I saw her. Judy, although she sometimes talked to me, mostly hung out in the circle of older girls, some of whom wore earrings so humongous and heavy, they were weights that more appropriately should have been attached to wrists or ankles. These weights stretched the lobes and widened the pierced holes so tremendously, these girls could wear pierced earrings only on wires; there was nothing on which studs and earring backs could anchor. So Judy’s friends kept a couple of pencils or pens in these holes. Or they carried lipsticks in these holes, rolled-up dollars, and one of them, Shaynee, hid cigarettes inside the money roll. The Famous and Fabulous Lobe Girls of the Rose of Sharon Baptist Church Young Adult Choir.

 

         I love the perfection of Thomas’s ears; it is perfection because of what has become a burnt standard, the darker rim, the top of the helix that flaming vegetable oil singed (on another night, early in our marriage, of my kitchen ineptitude) when he doused the pot with water, and only after scattering the flames (that then leaped to scorch the curtains also), thought to clamp the lid on the pot and throw it off the second-floor apartment’s back porch into a bank of snow. I run my fingers along this healed rim, delighting in its flame-caused fine scallops, fluted like a tiny pie, one downsized for a mouse. Our younger son’s ears were discolored from the moment of birth, all white except for the rim, the top of the helix where the ear was so dark, it seemed he had been born with scabs; the rest of his body was golden, a richly yellow tan. The white ears persisted for four months until there was a blessing of pigment–apparently drained from the scabs (they faded to tan) and redistributed.

         Thomas has mild hearing deficit in his left ear; I have to get close, as I like to anyway, to speak to him on the left, where I usually am as we walk. It is mostly, however, his right ear that receives attention as my head rests through our nights on his right shoulder, as I ride as passenger in our truck. A decorative bass clef is on the side of his head. His own hyperbola–I am in love with Thomasan geometry, the arrangement of his points, lines, and angles, and its effects upon space that I enter, that I bend and that bends me as I approach him, more supple than I am at any other time. He is a mathematical concoction, a figure of what exists theoretically in numbers; a prediction and explanation of what exists within things and makes them behave as they do, as opposed to a verifiable object. This is the calculus in which I would have excelled had I been allowed to study it when I was assigned elsewhere.

         At times his ear seems a study of an embryo. In fact, acupuncture points on the ear correspond to an understanding of the ear as an embryo. Rudimentary ears form just a few days after conception, and the cochlea completes its development before birth.[10] Thomas’s ear is a map to all that he is. Its auditory canal all dark with a scant covering of cerumen (the wax that traps foreign bodies, such as insects and dust, and attempts to prevent their deeper penetration. His earwax is as moist and dark as molasses but doesn’t taste sweet, whereas mine is crumbly and barely amber) seems an ideal confessional. I love our time in bed, our voices low, so that our sons hear nothing but a soothing hum, my mouth near his ear because of how he holds me, my head an egg in his nest of shoulder, and I speak into that confessional, saying everything I need to say, everything he needs to hear, filling his head with resonance.

         I have said to him that his ear is a partial flower, a single petal, part of an iris, dark, as dark as the wax his ear contains, because it is night and I can’t see color anymore. His ear is a night flower; it blooms only at night; it unfolds and releases a powerful fragrance that lures the nocturnal bugs, me among them, seeking that Dakar bite and nectar.

         There are night-blooming botanical rarities that many people have never seen, rarities for which it is worth losing sleep to hurry sundown and see the pale flowers open for the luna and white-lined sphinx moths, all of the moon flowers opening at once, the sounding of gauze trumpets, a unison oh so remarkable, unified to a ten-thousandth of a second. When they open, I open my body to Thomas, unified to that same ten-thousandth.[11]

   Each day he comes home, from the office, to the only comfort that sustains him, to a castle of ruled by symbiosis. Now that numbness again is part of this royal treatment, that sweet man checks my bath, testing the water since today I perceive only coolness, relief, paradigms of beneficent expression–and nothing else in the world.

 

 

        

[1] The word fleece always comforts me with the thought of the generosity of lambs. I use this word just to evoke comfort when subconsciously I am tuned to needing comfort. I think much (both frequently and highly) of this generosity, this innocent dispensation that remains in force into a sheep’s maturity. An innocence retained. My ears as well are sensitive to the slightest emotional tilting out of balance, and also to the spatial location, so hearing the whisper of fleece inside my head restores; hearing the quiet of my thinking makes of my brain a chapel that dispenses equilibrium and renewal. As I clean my blinds by running a lamb’s wool duster back and forth over them, the wool’s lanolin holds the dust securely, dust composed of the music of existing, the ultimate disintegration of things into superb granular substance; to scatter dust is to release a slur of hemidemisemiquavers (sixty-fourth notes) into the air. With my wrist’s motion, I am making music; the duster is like a fluffy microphone although it is my perception and imagination that are amplified, not volume or my hearing.   A conductor brandishing arms, hands, and baton makes a music separate from that of the orchestral instruments: a transcending, unheard, acoustically pure song exhausting the audible high pitches and still ascending, accessing summits where sound is divinity. Sometimes I watch videos of symphony orchestras with the sound muted so as to showcase only the comfort of this effect.

[2] Other than during such seduction, he is polyphonic, as human hearing is designed to be, able to hear as many sounds as are present simultaneously; pitch, location, distance, and intensity helping the brain distinguish each sound, the waves entering the ear at different angles, bouncing from one part of the auricle (external ear) to another before falling into the auditory canal.

[3] Some infrasonic vibrations can be felt, however, since they occur within a range in which some parts of the body resonate and make their own infrasonic hymns. Despite a human tendency toward intellectual chauvinism, our hearing is quite limited among animals (eyesight too, as we, unlike cats, for instance, lose color perception in the dark); dolphins, bats, and cats can hear well into what for humans is the ultrasonic range, and dogs can hear both higher and lower pitches than people can hear.

[4] Tinnitus otherwise can be maddening, I’ve heard, the hearing of nonexistent sound, perhaps a constant flute, a single measure of a musical piece repeated and repeated, each time further from perfection. Or a sound more harsh and equally unrelenting, wasp buzz or a wolf call at all hours, perpetual percussion: gong and cymbal, the sound of a migraine headache’s pulsation pushed limbically into audibility. Some researchers believe these sounds originate in the inner ear and are boosted by the brain’s limbic system which is responsible for emptions.

[5] Excluding belches and anal flatuses that I never laughed at even when I was not the source, for the sound that reached my ear was that f a tuba, especially the attempts of a boy (that I liked) to play one. He walked home from school trying to play it, letting the tuba do all the awkward talking, its voice deeper than his would be for years.   As for the odor, it was powerful but faded quickly, so hardly powerful at all–a charming little paradox. There is also the audible borborybmus which is hunger pangs or a rumbling in the intestines such as what follows the ingestion of dairy products by the lactose-intolerant.

[6] “For my ears only” yet what he says is hardly original and probably not uttered for the first time; he has loved other women and told them things fir their ears only that delighted their ears probably no less (though I prefer to believe less) than my ears are delighted. It is fascinating that our secrets, our privacy, our so stunning intimacy is not unique–I cannot prove that what I hear is different from what other women have heard when he read to them the same passages of poem written by him (and mostly by others), but I would insist that loving him has caused a reshaping of the cochlea so that his voice is brighter than any other. So too has my skin been reconfigured, its nerves reprogrammed so that his breath and touch accomplish more (except where there is anarchy). My ears are combination locks, that is to say.

[7] And that’s why it is appropriate that my primary are physician or the nurse-practitioner as if she make take it.

[8] That number again–repetitions always try to speak to me of a sacred potential, the repetition disproving accident. Symmetry is of course a form of repetition. And habits, say the habit of these footnotes, these branchings and digressions that seek to copy the anarchy of the way the arms and legs digress from the trunk, the ovaries from the uterus, the digits from the feet and hands, the ear and hair from the head.

[9] I can almost hear my hips that now are as round as bass clefs and their promise of rich sound.

[10] Here’s something else about the cochlea that I read somewhere, I think in Newsday: the cochleas of lesbians apparently become masculinized during gestation and are unlike the cochleas of heterosexual women; they are more like, the study found, the inner ears of men.

[11] I remember a girl I read about once–I think her name was Katie–who depended upon such night shows, who can never be a sun worshipper because ultraviolet radiation (the visible spectrum is not a problem–except that it is part of the electromagnetic range of sunlight) blisters and ulcerates her skin; light is fatal to her, so hers is the world of shadow, the quieter world when most things sleep, as if light also controls volume. Crickets seem more powerful at night, theirs voices more urgent. The sound of owls emerges, sound of wolves, sound of the settling of wood, sound of single drops of water, of my mother calling me home, as she used to (my bedtime), from many miles away; even the sound of still polishing off in unison at dusk the needles of evergreen shrubs and the young May leaves become more pronounced. In the darkness is the enhanced demarcation of sound, is Katie’s concert. In the moonlight is Katie’s vacation, in the evening is her triumph over xeroderma pigmentosum (her extreme light sensitivity); in the evening is the rising of her award of the precious silver medal with it s any maria, all those splendid shelters from illumination, black heavens. She loves the ahs, depends on the hushes.

 

Still Waiting for word about my romance novel & Believing in LOVE!

On this summer afternoon, I still wait to hear about the status of my romance novel.  Yes I guess I am impatient, still working on selling my house, and having the terrific life that a very good friend of mine, a Mystery Man  (with whom I am in love –ouch) told me I am going to have.

Whatever this post is, it is also a post to a Mystery Man

It is also  a post to you, whoever you are; I will never tell.

I have no idea where I am going to live.  Just that I will be moving –and I am looking forward to beginning this new life, with or without you, but preferably with you. Definitely my preference,  but I can’t say that it will ever  be yours. Wish I could say that.  Because I love you.

Because I want you to love me too.  I even told you that I know I am your “Side Chick” (at best –and I’m okay with that?  What is wrong with me? –willing to be the side chick just so I can have you?  Why don’t I want more for myself? –yeah; I already know you are the best possible lover, and I probably should not have told you that, but I did because it’s true, and I realize that I am too public for you, Mystery Man, but I don’t want the light of what I feel hidden under a bushel.  I light it just for you, light of my world.  Do not let the fire that warms you go out, already dimmed a bit by time itself, but I am making up for that. I am blowing on the flame; my hot breath is working that fire, fanning those embers, restoring the hot potential, living up to my blazing name… 

 

I also said some other things that the pressure of all this forced me into saying, trying to get my house prepared for sale, worrying about my sick mother…and taking it out on you.. I’ve been accusatory, saying things I know simply aren’t true… about when I was in the perfect world of your arms… I wish I didn’t have to apologize but I do.  Mystery Man, I didn’t mean it, what  I said about boats, especially.  I was, am under the duress of all of this; and I’m too afraid to tell you. I am not sure you would even listen to me, and this is my unadorned apology. I am sorry Mystery Man –I just ask you to please understand. My mind is going in circles, round and round your sweet clockwork face –you know I look at your face and love it, can trace every crease in both my mind and heart…

 

and this version:

 

 

but mostly it’s “If You Stay in my Corner” (The Dells):

 

 

I know I have a volume of poetry coming out every soon now, I can wait to see the galleys, my 11th book! “Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Relities’ Red Dress Code” –and I am so excited about that! –words cannot begin to describe the joy I feel just thinking about that book, cracking the spine, smelling it, even licking some of my favorite pages, photographing myself holding it, traveling and reading from the book! –I cannot wait for such moments;

Here is the cover, and it is available for pre-order right now on Amazon dot com :

 

 

wannabe_front copy

and the author photo (taken by graphic artist Ansted Moss):

 

Red Dress Code-02

Now of course, I’m looking forward to Wannabe, but I do admit to being even more excited about just the possibilty of this romance novel, because I get to partcipate in such ideal love and passion through my characters, eveything I may want, the characters experience; how could I write it and deny the protagonist the experience I would want for myself?—if I could have it– maybe someday, because this writer believes in love..

 

I will always believe in what love can accomplish with that Mystery Man (you), or with any man; I am not the kind of woman who will be happy without a flesh and blood man –who  knows who  I am, a woman who wants a man who will be hers, and I will be his.

 

I sure hope it’s you. I know I don’t have to tell you again, but  I sure like saying it, get caught up in the refrain of it.

But even more disturbing right now, is the increasingly deteriorating condition  of my mother. She is losing her grasp of reality… Her diabetes is out of control; she’s been falling and not telling her doctor.  She’s not taking her medicine and using profanity the likes of which I’ve never heard her use.  Glaucoma, Thyroid trouble, Heart disease, Out-of-Control Hypertension 

Her situation is so exasperating, she is not taking her medicine, and this sick diabetic woman is now about the same weight I am, this has never been the case! –always since I can remember, 40 pounds heavier than me.  I understand that her backyard lawn has not been cut in a couple of months; my father died on 13 July 1980, and when I called to remind her that it was the 36th anniversary of my father’s death, she didn’t know what the day meant, nor did she know me –I had to explain who I was… 

 

(She is 86 years old, and I am 62 years old)

Thylias Rebecca Brasier Moss and Florida

 

A little later,  some pictures of my mother and my mixed race father, and my non-black paternal grandfather, with Caucasian, and Native American Heritage and Ancestry from India

(includes some artwork by my mother; she was born in Alabama, a tiny town not on most maps, and was very senstitive about her color; when she was more lucid she told me that she was always called the “Little Black One” –this casued her to use “Nadinola” all over her face, arms, legs, neck, to lighten her skin –this was very important to her! She hated being dark skinned, had high yellow dreams, I was not high yellow at all, but  did have the prize hair,  all my life, but even more so now –she encouraged me never to go into the sun; she is so embarrassed by her hair that she always wears a wig, and even did so for my wedding (you can  see that Nadinola glow [somewhat radioactive, it seems to me] in her face. My father was already sick; what was he really thinking?):

 

My parents at my wedding.jpg

Bride Thylias, with my father and just with the bouquet, 25 August 1973:

I had a tremendous amount of hair then, the teenager that I was.  

 

I made all the dresses for the bridesmaids and flower girl  in my wedding (sewing based on what I learned in a single semester of home economics in seventh grade):Wedding Party, women i the dresses I made.jpg

and if my mother  could understand it, she would be shocked that I walk in the sun, anyway, and yes, even flaunt my “good hair” –I’m glad I have it; I will not lie, and this 62-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis, who almost died on 29 July 2011 when a cranial aneurysm ruptured, and my head was partially shaved, but the hair has grown back profusely! –in a straighter and natural texture; I’ve even gone walking in the rain! (trusting that my hair would retain its length, and not revert (to what it never was):

–I have quite a thing for my hair, I admit that, and I also admit, in my mind, at least, that I walked to that elusive Mytery Man –but I fool no one, and certainly not you; I fear I will always love you, and you are certainly most deserving of love (there is no better lover; nothing compares with being in your arms –I admit that I just want you to love me back; that is all I want… I can’t even sustain any anger toward you… I’ve tried and it doesn’t last.  What is it about you? –I fear I’ll never be able to let you go! 

Mystery  Man, just love me back; that’s all; just love me back! –now I’m begging you… I liked much better when you were chasing me; you know how to persue better than most men..  What more do you want from me? –please don’t say nothing unless that is the truth

 

–I learned this from this Mystery Man, from you, that I am in fact beautiful, you always told me that, and no one else ever did, not even my ex-spouse, I was so lonely and hungry for compliments, just wanted to know that the man I was with liked how I looked, a shapely and sexy little package, and was happy to be seen with me; my ex-spouse said he didn’t tell me because “my head would swell”; Mystery Man , you didn’t care how big my head was; when I told you, Mystery Man, that you were the only man who called me beautiful,  you could not believe it, so I told you, which was true, that outside of catcalls, whistles and other unsolicited reactions,  it was only your opinions that matter to me, and this is more true now than ever (with what I’m experiencing with my mother and those well-meaning souls around her, I need “The Comfort of a Man,” the Comfort of you, Mystery Man. 

and I learned to believe you.  My ex never told me that I was beautiful, but now, I KNOW I AM –so even if nothing else happens between us, I learned valuable things from you, endless pasion; I was loved by you as every  woman, as every prerson should be loved, the heights of pleasure, heights of desire, there is no denying this, and if nothing else, I learned how to express this love to you… You were patient with me, realizing what I didn’t know and realizing what I was able to feel with you… and I have nothing but thanks for you for that, sort of similar to

this thank you  to my ex 

But I was older than the writer of that thank you to my ex ; I experienced my first real adult love afffair with you.   In most ways, I have to admit that you Mystery Man are my first love as the adult woman I am now, and there is no wonder that I want physical love, all forms of love with you again… Should come as no surprise at all. You are the Right Kind of Lover!  as in:

 

It is that good being with you whoever you are, a man of my dreams fully fulfilled   A man I will never forget and, truth be told, do not want to forget.  Ever. I just want you to want me so much that you won’t mind admitting it, that I won’t have to be a side chick or a friend with benefits.  I want the comfort of a man, the comfort of you Mystery Man  –there is nothing else like it, no one else like you….

 

Side chick 

 

 

and ideally not just secret lovers, though I cannot lie to myself I would take that; you are such an exquisite lover, well, Atantic Starr can say it better:

 

No secret to that wonderful, dammit! Mystery Man that as Luther says, I came here for you to love –for you Mystery Man, all for you! 

 

Luther Vandross, “For You to Love”:

 

 

 

So “My First Love“, and “Comfort of  a Man” for you, everything for you… –“I Will Always Love You

 

and I will Always Love you

 

Mystery Man, I just pray that you will Love Me back; that’s all, Mystery Man –and I am not as high maintenance as I must seem to you.  

 

 

Lord help me, I so love you, Mystery Man,  and Lord help me, sometimes I wish I didn’t, but I keep wishing and hoping, as in this Dionne Warwick rendition –I am yours,  but are you  mine?  –are you kidding? I know you like long hair, and I didn’t buy mine; if hair were all it takes, you would be mine… but if even the long hair fails, this 100% natural butt-kissing hair, you can play with my hair all day, all night and it will not come off, I do not have to worry about “weave sex” as discussed in the film good hair what can I do?  And if my hair won’t do it, nor any of my other natural looks that I so want you to desire… My tiny waist, my shapely hips, those peachy breasts that ripen whenever you are near, if these things don’t entice you, what will? –and why do I care so much? it isn’t as if you’re the only man in the world! –but you are the only man I want in my world.  

 

Trailer from Chris Rock’s “Good Hair“:

 

 

 

 I do want to be in your heart! (so embedded that without me, you’d have no heart)–no lie there!

 

 

So there you have it, waiting for “Wannabe“(that’s definite), hoping like crazy for my romance novel in which the female character is loved back, and then some, my dying dementia-ridden diabetic mother with hypertension that would have already killed the more ordinary; she has already given up on life, and is just waiting to go home to Jesus, while her house that my father bought in 1963, and where she still lives rapidly deteriorates… Oh I remember being in the south, and my father able to go into stores that my mother could not enter; I remember hiding in the car, being so frightened, because in that tiny Tennessee town, there were some who did not feel that the races should mix…

I cannot explain exactly how my paternal grandfather could even exist… Caucasian, Native American, and Indian (as in “India”) and my own problems with not only finding the right man –which I’ve done– but having you willing/able to love me back… Unless you have married… I do not know.  

 

If you are that deeply in love with somone other than me, I would like to know so that I can begin to adjust, but let me tell you, there is no man on this earth I would rather kiss, and there is no man on this earth I woud rather touch, and there is no man on this earth I would rather have kiss me, no other man on this earth I would rather have hold me, and no other man on this earth I would rather hold —

 

But I do need a love of my own!  as in:

 

 

If you think I’ve confessed to you Mystery Man how much I love you in this post, I assure you that I’ve confessed this to you even more in texts… I so want you just to notice me… I so want things you said in the past to still be true… This is not the first time I’ve said any of this, and I fear that sometimes I should keep my blabbermouth shut, but if you can love me for what I am, I should be able to say anything to you… I even asked you to tell me if you thought you could ever love me; I asked you to tell me that you’re sure you never want to hold me again, to never touch me again, to just tell me,  because I can’t wait for you forever, but if you know you can’t ever love me, I want to know that…

 

but if it’s possible, as much as I say I wouldn’t, I would take you back–not you you’re gone, still BFFs–, so rather elevate both of us from BFFs to lovers… –which is what I want, but if you don’t?  Too bad for you, but, for now, I love this Mystery Man! –I love you–even if I shouldn’t.

 

I have never loved a man the way that I love that Mystery Man: you:

 

Now some pics of how I look right now, and what this Mystery Man  (you) seem willing to give up.  My hair: no wig, no weaves, no hair pieces, no extensions, 100% natural hair, waist-length and rooted in my scalp; 98 pounds, no plastic surgery anywhere; I have never had to diet.  Everything about me is natural except for some hair dye from time to to my hair.  No bleaching or skin whitening creams.  My own “yellow” teeth (I will be going to the dentist). I was told that I have dense breasts in my most recent mammogram (a week ago), but no abnormalities detected dense breasts –as I’ve had since I was a teenager in triple D cups –really got me noticed, and may have helped that deacon decide to rape me, but they are natural, no implants –never,   As that you Mystery Man, know better than anyone…

 

I love you, Mystery Man.  I honestly love you. You know I do.

 

For the record, this is just too much for me, trying to prepare to sell my house, a son I love dearly who isn’t that cooperative, and then his partner who lives with him in my basement (so far, I haven’t received even a penny from my tenants [who aren’t that tidy]), the romance novel, trying to find my way on my own, without a car, too difficult for me to feel that I can drive safely with my optic neuritis, a consequence of my MS–but I can walk six miles most days, three miles to a  locaton where often I find so many geese, and amazing sunsets:

–and yet I must still shop for food, and I want to do these things for myelf, and see what might happen (don’t I hope) with that Mystery Man (you), and if not you, then someone else.  I hope it can be you   –please “I say A Little Prayer”

 

and this version of saying a little prayer:

 

First task is to sell this house and be free of a house too big for me to take care of by myself, without help from my tenants, as it currently is, one of whom is my own 25-year-old son who has psychological problems, that I don’t believe he inherited from his Bangladeshi sperm donor paternity.  Such donations and family backgrounds are screened.  Sperm donations are kept for six months before being used.  I was lucky in that one visit was all it took for me to conceive… the difference a good sample makes, I was told, by the fertility clinic’s doctor.    

 

I recall that when my ex-spouse found out about this pregancy he did not want me to have; I remember that he said, “Didn’t I consider AIDS”? -and he would probably say that my son’t psychological problems stem from the donor.  I do not know.  I want the best possible outcomes for everyone.  

And yes, you better believe that I want you, Mystery Man…   But, I want you to want me too.

Do I really ask for too much in asking for love? 

So this is my crazy life right now, but it is life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way… 

 

Thank you for reading this.  

Sorry that I rambled on and on… I have so much on my spilling plate… And that Mystery Man 

is not here.

I am never giving up on love, even if that makes me a fool for love, fool, fool , fool for that Mystery Man ; fool, fool for you.

I hope I am able to report something better about you, that one day, you are no longer a mystery man because we enter a better relationship, one that isn’t all me, for now, my impossible dream, but I really pray for more than that…

And here’s Frank Sinatra, saying it better than me, The Impossible Dream becoming possible:

 

This is more than enough for one night; I love you   Mystery Man enough for a thousand and one nights, for a million nights, for every night. –I can’t help what my heart feels, one thing that is for sure, Mystery Man, “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine

 

(Lou Rawls can help me with this one, and I do need help, loving this Mystery Man [you) as I do):

 

Good Night, Mystery Man; don’t let the bedbugs bite