Tuesday, May 22, 2018

APPENDIX: (this is how I write inside (Soma)tic poetry rituals):

Taking the Notes
One thing I like to suggest is writing in notebooks with lined paper, then completely disrespecting those lines.  Write wildly, like a child, for whatever we can do to strip away the various structures built to corral our attentions is important to this particular process of note-taking where we hope to find ourselves completely present and not troubled over lines on paper and other concerns we have been trained to obey.

Our internal editor is one we have built upon since we first learned to communicate, reaching for the milk, the shiny earring, the hovering gull, eventually learning the tools for constructing proper syntax, the uses of punctuation, etc.  Our internal editors are invaluable for shaping our poems, but they do get in the way of these raw notes we write inside the ritual.  When taking notes, as soon as the mind forms full sentences, or follows a thread of an idea, write faster.  We have the ability to outrun the internal editor, to fully trust ourselves in the middle of the ritual, and to arrive at that moment where all rebuke over words and their customs falls away.  It is here where we can cruise into the previously unimagined magical writing we had concealed from ourselves. 

Sometimes when attempting to write ahead of our editor we get caught in mind loops, thought and language patterns that keep circling around on themselves.  Here are three tools for breaking out of mind loops:

1) Inhale coffee beans or grounds.  This recalibrates the olfactory and can jolt us out of a mind loop we find ourselves caught inside while writing.

2) If the coffee does not work stare straight ahead at an immobile object and flick the tip of your nose with your finger.  Do it just hard enough that it disrupts your visual pattern.  This often helps release us to go back to writing.

3) If your mind loop is pernicious and not wanting to let go of you, then stand up and wildly thrash-dance, especially kicking your legs in the air as high as you can.  This always works.

Shaping the Poem
NOTE:  It is important to do this next phase in one sitting.

Take your handwritten notes to a computer and open a writing document, Word or whatever software you use for writing.  Click on the document to make certain it is ready to be used, then shut the screen light all the way off; this is to preclude our need to be watchful for typos.  Position your fingers on the keys, have your feet flat, then close your eyes and type as fast as you can for five minutes, and same rules apply as with the handwritten notes:  as soon as the mind forms full sentences, or follows a thread of an idea, type faster.

At the end of the five minutes of blind speed-typing, turn the screen light back on, then begin transferring the handwritten notes where you left off with the speed-typing.  In other words this is better when it is one unbroken document.  When you reach the midway point of the handwritten notes, shut the screen light back off, and repeat the steps for blind speed-typing.  I usually earmark the midway page ahead of time, make an X or checkmark.  When the blind speed-typing is complete, turn the light back on and transfer the remaining half of your handwritten notes.  When this is finally finished turn the screen light off and repeat the speed-typing once again.

The blind speed-typing will expand the notes for the poem.  The first bout of it unleashes whatever language we have stored in us at the moment.  The second and especially the third times are after we have been rereading and transferring our handwritten notes, our memories tripped over and over with images of the experience of doing the ritual.  These bouts of the blind speed-typing tend to enrich and compound the notes in ways that often hold unexpected, crucial language for the poem.

Print out two copies of this chaotic looking document.  Hide one from yourself for a month.  The other carry with you wherever we go with a highlighter pen, marking favorite nuggets of writing for the poem.  These pieces can then be culled by copying and pasting them into a new document to begin shaping the poem.  It all starts to come together on its own at this stage, awakening the internal editor to help build the poem.  The second copy you hid from yourself for a month can be taken out of hiding and read backwards:  last word typed is the first word read and first word typed is the last word read.  Reading the document backwards often uncovers completely new ways into the poem we would have not seen otherwise.

Friday, May 4, 2018

SEMEN: An Acquired, But Easily Converted Taste And Another Kind Of Love For My Man And For Poetry

After losing a boyfriend and many friends to AIDS, and another boyfriend murdered, I had a rocky series of relationships like many men of my generation who managed to survive the early years of the AIDS plague.  Then I met Tre, a truck driver.  A very handsome man (he really is quite handsome, but I also know he is going to read this) who is not like anyone I have ever met, let alone have sex with.  We were both thoroughly tested for HIV and STDs before moving deeper into the relationship.  If I say the number of funerals my friends and I went to in the 80's and 90's it would seem made up, but this is my way of saying I have had nothing but safe sex my entire adult life because I very much like being alive.  Tre and I see one another once a month or more while we both crisscross the country.  It is not like any relationship I had even imagined, falling in love with a man I see in a different state each time, pulled off a different numbered highway, with different trees, flowers, different dead animals along the road.  His first name is where we will stop.  His line of work is not queer friendly.  And when I was a teenager I swore I would never date a man in the closet, but then my boyfriend Earth was murdered and I said, "FUCK THAT, anyone who wants to stay in the closet to protect themselves from the evils of this world I will do all I can to help them stay in there if that is what they want."

We were both already aware how semen tastes different and has various consistencies and colors depending entirely on our diet of both solids and liquids.  I'm vegan and insist that Tre not eat meat for a full week before we meet up.  I have been vegetarian since 1988 and despise the taste of murdered animal ejaculating from a man, and don't think I won't spit it out and demand a funeral for it!  Rancid corpse flavor is not appealing, but a week is the perfect amount of time to clear away the cow, pig, chicken, squid, lamb, and other helpless, innocent ghost taste.  Being vegan even one or two days a week is amazing for the planet, and trust me, semen tastes much better. 

This (Soma)tic poetry ritual is an ingredient to my larger Resurrect Extinct Vibration ritual.  It seeks a more direct contact with the feral interior, that wilderness men, women and us many kinds of Other, no matter the deodorants, salves or sprays, cannot possibly deny its own wildlife when two or more people enjoy their naked bodies together.  Getting to taste what Tre produces with the extraordinary processes of digestion is as close to what I believe is a miracle, his body turning nutrients he consumes into a seminal delicacy.  I have eaten millions of his sperm and sometimes wonder how long I can keep calling myself vegan now that I am with a man I trust to not infect me with a disease for the first time in years.

For a few days before we get together, we both decide on a mixture of foods.  Walnuts and blueberries in large quantities.  Then apples and garlic.  Eggplant, onions, and sage.  Consider this an experimental semen cookbook and call me your friendly Faggot Gourmet.  We experimented with crystal infused waters, for instance, we both had a collection of 9 pieces of rose quartz in our water bottles for a week before having sex.  Everyone should try this because it made us much closer, feeding the heart chakra all day for days with crystal flowing through our blood, coming out of us in intoxicating sweat, our piss fountains of a glorious chemistry of feeling.  Semen formed on rose quartz infused water flies out of the body as close to the arrows of Eros we can imagine.  Waves of pleasure resonate through us, entering our dreams together which are warm and filled with utter tenderness.  My personal favorite food combination is dill, cilantro, and beets.  We spent a long time in each other's arms discussing how amazing that combination turned out to be.  Dill and cilantro together are extraordinary enough, but then add the natural sweetness of the beet and we never tasted so good to one another! 

Here is the part of the ritual where my sexy man leaves me to write as soon as he orgasms.  I hold off on my own orgasm until after I have written, wanting to keep all my power inside me for the notes for the poem.  I also keep his taste in my mouth as long as possible, savoring each note of what he produced for me.  Once I finish writing I shake him awake to get back to love which I insist always be placed before and after any poem I write.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Weighing WANT

Another ingredient to my "Resurrect Extinct Vibration Ritual" is "Weighing WANT."  My life has become streamlined since beginning this ritual.  I know every single thing I own as I have continuously gone through my belongings to recycle what I do not want.

Once a month, wherever I am in the United States I empty the contents of my car to reorganize my belongings.  I also remove everything I no longer want and weigh it before recycling plastics, clothing, (non-poetry) books, and other odd things I accumulate.

After weighing what I no longer want I write in my notebook raw notes for the poem.  After visiting the local recycling center or Goodwill I write more notes.  I keep a very thin digital bathroom scale in my trunk for "Weighing WANT."

Monday, March 19, 2018

(Soma)tic Poetry Crystal Grid Ritual, 2018

Part of my "Resurrect Extinct Vibration Ritual" involves building and writing inside a crystal grid that spans hundreds of miles.  I'm currently in the planning stages, but will be ready to build the grid and write inside it this summer, 2018. 

A combination of 9 different crystals (more to come on the combination) will be buried in three different cities:  St. Paul, Minnesota, Memphis, Tennessee, and Cheyenne, Wyoming.  The same crystals will also be buried in Omaha, Nebraska.  For 9 days I will sit on top of the crystals in Omaha, facing St. Paul the first day, then Memphis the second, then Cheyenne, and continuing until I have written through the triangle facing each location three times.  With the buried crystals will also be bits of my skin, hair, spit.

The Omaha portion of the ritual also includes eating samples of dirt from all three locations, listening to ambient recordings from each location, tuning in with my voice and body to deeply hum the pitch and vibration of each different location.  Samples of finished poems from this ritual so far at THIS link and THIS link.

"Resurrect Extinct Vibration," is a (Soma)tic poetry ritual in 9 parts.  The main ingredient involves inducing a trance by saturating my body with recordings of recently extinct animals while lying on the ground across the US.  Another ingredient is drawing the animals on index cards with request for correspondence, leaving them across the nation in laundromats, coffee shops, etc., and I reply as ghost animals. "Saint Francis Safe Passages" is an activist ingredient, writing to elected officials to convince them we need thousands of land bridges across the US-highways for animals to cross into safety.  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Mapping Dimension 27

            --for Jason Dodge

Let's devote the next 12 days to this poetry ritual. 

Be the Imprisoned Compass Aiming North
Day 1, place a map of the world on the floor, use a compass to align it with the planet's approximate directions.  Lie on the floor next to the map, your head acting as tip of compass needle, always pointed North, the compass devoted to North only, and in this exclusive deep affection witnessed by humans did we long ago lose our minds on behalf of North?  Roll onto the map, resting on your stomach, eyes facing North.  Quietly tune into everything you see, smell, hear, taste, and feel in this position.  What is there around you?  Take notes (please refer to the appendix for instructions and tips on taking these raw notes for the poem).

Make as many noises with your body as you can without using your voice.  Be quiet again, taking deep breaths, meditating for a short while on January.  What is your body used to in this month, what foods, what love, what things make the month of January clear to you for warmth, for pleasure, work, and growth?  How do you grow in January?  It's Capricorn the mountain goat so how do you climb in January?  Take time to think about Januarys you have known and Januarys you would like to see.  Send these thoughts into the North.  Take notes.

Finding the deepest tone in your stomach, eyes facing North, bring that deepest hum you can make, then slowly progress it to higher tones until you find your highest tone.  Hold highest tone as long as you can, feeling it in the top if your head.  You are a compass splitting clouds to find North.  Rest, then take notes.

What is North?  How is it so privileged?  Write on the map the things you think of North.  What is there?  What power?  Nuclear weapons?  What struggles to be heard in the North?  Who says North gets to have such dominance?  In what ways do you regale or rebuff or admonish or accept or enjoy or fear or love or anticipate or revile the North?  Take notes.

108 Parts of the One
Sit on the map please.  Have an object you will want to work with for the next 12 days.  For me it is my favorite object, the pen.  I am a loving, terrible friend to pens.  I lose them, find them, miss them until I find them.  I am careful when allowing someone to borrow my friend.  Do you spook easily as an accidental thief?  Each day focus on 9 parts of your object.  My pen is a line, a straight line.  I see straight lines on the map, on my body, straight lines all around me.  My pen has ink, where is the ink made?  Where is the pen factory on the map?  Where are the ingredients for the ink imported from?  And the plastic tip and body, where is this from?  Glue?  Blue, black, and translucent, my pen can write of surprise, torment, the profane, or the deviant way to propel a culture forward, ready or not.  The letters I write, the English I write through to connect with readers and ritual-makers alike.  My pen could be a weapon if a weapon were needed, or to tap on glass for attention, or to point North for the explorers, or to softly caress my boyfriend's cheek to chin.  Keep going, don't stop, 9 parts of your object a day until on the 12th day you will have found 108 parts of your object.  Take notes, take notes, take notes.

Your Body, The Map
Roll on the map like caught on a wild stream of water, thrashing your body, then rocking from side to side, then slowly, slowly, quietly bringing yourself to shore.  Think about your body in relation to the direction.  The first day is North.  The second will be East, then South, then West, then begin on the fifth day with North again, spiraling through the 12 days.  Take notes.

For instance, for North, what are our bodies in relation to the map with North?  Isn't North what is privileged?  The heart and brain given leadership.  Everything South of our belt line, our equator, we have been told what about?  What have church doctrines told us of the forbidden, the desire of the lower, South of our bodies?  Taboo, dangerous, and needing a priest's binding wedding ritual to procure safe passage into one another's sanctioned Souths.  How is the body sacred to you?  How do you prefer the sacred?  What spirit gives you joy?  Then take notes.  Then look at the map and find where you live, where you are, and begin to say exactly what you need to say out loud about where you are from.  Speak to the map.  For instance, for me:

I am a citizen of the United States.  Currently there are many thoughtful people in circles I travel in who ask about safety, are we feeling safe, is this safe for you?  It is a beautiful thing when another human being asks this of us.  I appreciate it, but also want to extend it to where we do not feel safe.  How do we create safety as US-Americans for the people in the seven different nations our military is currently bombing and shooting in our name, of, freedom tis of Thee?  No other nation is more aggressively killing to steal resources like the United States.  How can we stop this warring, hording, and suppressing?  The latest workforce data in early 2018 shows an increased use of US-employer tracking devices placed on US-employees.  The latest endangered and recently extinct species of insects, fish, mammals, birds, and reptiles are an everything must go kind of sale at every one of the 9,000 Walmart stores in the lower 48 states.  We need to consider all the conviction, affliction and complicity of being a citizen of the nation we have ties to.  I have read about the thousands of civilian deaths my nation's drone wars have inflicted on the people of the Middle East.  Someone asks me to join them at a falafel shop and like an asshole I imagine I know anything about falafel or the people who invented it.  Every tax dollar I have paid from the shit-jobs I have worked have killed children.  This is not a joke.  How to align with others to change this world?  How to look closely at the shifting policies to privacy, citizenship, and no longer being allowed to sue a bank.  How to see how we fail ourselves and others.  How to watch the hand of the United States's racist military industrial complex reaching to its federal, state, and local racist, militarized police forces cheering for fascism in DC.  There is also love, joy, kisses, so many tears, and so many days of being tired of all of it, but finding the magic in a cell dividing into kale, trees, penguins, carpenter bees.  It is good to hold another's hand in this world.  Do you have someone to hold hands with?  Not everyone does, I know this, and if you do not, where would you like to start in finding someone to hold onto?  How to ease the embarrassments of not having enough of what we need so that we may ask?  How to also be good at seeing what is needed and provide?  How thankful?  How much more thankful can we be?  Take notes.

For 12 days work through the ritual, rotating through the months, a month per day.  A different direction, head always in the North, but facing and reaching East on the day of East.  What is East and what about West?  Who gets to say what is East or West?  Who got to first call the Middle East the middle of what, from whose vantage, for whose advantage?  The object you choose, your body, the map, trusting yourself in the ritual.  Take notes, take lots of notes for your poem.  And always, always, always be ready to change this ritual, or to add ingredients to it and to be at peace with and challenged by the ritual.