I'm in this sort of, ok very odd location for thinking here once more about bay area poetry community stuff: not at home, but not that far away either, at an artist residency program. It's not something I've had the privilege of doing before, this going away to read and write in a quiet place with a few others scattered nearby. I never thought I'd be able, or want to read and write in such a quiet place; I've always felt most comfortable in those quiet places surrounded on all sides by the sounds of other people, cars, parks, the freeway that runs almost right above the house at night. I keep trying to figure out how to be in this other quiet. This incredible luxury. A constant fear of squandering time, which must be, at least in part, what I've been invited here to do.
The big difference right now feels like the distance between me and a BART station, the closest in Fremont or Millbrae, and neither anywhere within walking distance from where I sit watching two lizards who would like to come inside. They run up to the glass door every hour or so, peer in, dart from side to side, appear to do something like modified pushups. Last night I listened to what I am pretty sure was an owl (hi dear people reading Alma), while up too late watching videos and reading about actions in solidarity with the Pelican Bay hunger strike, while up too late watching videos and reading about actions in protest of the most recent killing by BART cops, who shot Charles Hill on July 3, shot him three times in the chest, a man so drunk witnesses described him as unable to stand.
Some notes on reading groups. Sentences contributed by others, remixed by me. For more information on participants and procedure, see Part I.
The text is a conclusion in which I’m complicit due to my silence.
If it remains in the realm of textual politics: snooze.
How this different time and attention can, and often does, generate alternative ways of proceeding (a la a community of flaneurs), about where to wander next, in the same text, in a different text, through a reading list evolving from the discovered questions and interests of the group.
Below is an email query I sent last Friday, the results of which will be posted soon as Part 2. I'm grateful to the folks who responded, many with sentence contributions, including: Yosefa Raz, Laura Woltag, Joshua Clover, Melissa Mack, Lindsey Boldt, anonymous, Laura Moriarty, Lauren Levin, Brandon Brown, Alli Warren, Monica Peck, Jackqueline Frost, Jess Heaney, Cynthia Sailers, Andrea Quaid, Scott Inguito, Samantha Giles, Zack Tuck and Anne Lesley Selcer.
A procedural update: the composition / remix of sentence contributions proceeded pretty much as anticipated in the email below. I dropped sentences into excel as they were received, making decisions along the way regarding which longer groups of sentences to leave together, and which seemed most dynamic as individual units. Then I sorted the sentences or sentence clumps in descending alpha order. I almost went with this ordering device because I am a sucker for list poems and it was beautiful to see so many desires listed in a row.
WAY IN 1 WHY ALWAYS THIS WAY? It’s that week at the college where I work. Lawn blowers commenced on Monday. Weed wackers, riding mowers. Symmetrical rows of white chairs began to appear yesterday, radiating outwards from a mound of flowers planted in the shape of a giant M. This happens every year. I’ve got something like 6 cases of wine in the trunk of my car for tomorrow’s year-end celebration. I do not know if I am coming or going.