Epigraph 8 / I am a person who wants to live, I live to want to live, I sing with it, I am a creature meant for wildness transformed into joy. — Kathy Acker
i know how good i am. rage and love stemming from the same
source. Abandonment stirs up laughter. i already promised i
wouldn't kill myself when i was 16 and wanted to - so why not
rage rage rage against the pleasures, why not blur lines between
what is good and what is entirely indistinguishable from terror.
UTTER CARNAL YEARNING TO DANCE IN THE LIGHT.
i am writing this inside of a fucking k-mart and i just want to
take all my clothes off and show these fuckers. but i don’t.
i turn inwards so instead i share the rage on the page with you.
because i am good with words. because i am good, i am fine,
i am glimmering in all this. all this you put on me, as Eileen
says, DRESSED BY THE CULTURE. instead of raging all on
my own, i want intimacy so i turn to the letters.
i carry so much loneliness so as to say I KNOW HOW MUCH
OF THE THREAT HAS RESOLVED. besides rage and lust i
crave to FEEL NOTHING, though these things are difficult in
the agenda of life we’ve been tasked with. i want to be animal
but wake up GENTLE LIKE A PRESCRIPTION in the middle
somewhat elevated. you don’t want this. you want me to make
you feel like you have lost something. you want to spend the
rest of your life trying to gain it back under capitalist dictatorship.
gaining gaining but it is all wrong - it just isn’t that lush thing /
you fight for the image of it and the image succeeds.
i have pills in my hands now. Venlafaxine. that’s why i was
in k-mart. and it hits me all of this morphia. CATASTROPHIC APOSTASY.
i am not depressed though i am under such conditions
paying forty dollars for thirty pills. i don’t want to measure my
success on a yard stick made of gold, don’t want to achieve,
don’t want to watch my friends die. i want life. i just don’t
want this one. i want a new one. a kind that doesn’t break my mind like this.
oh sweet dread, how do i turn you on my finger and watch
you spin. if i survive, will you love me? Our Father, who art
in heaven, hallowed be thy Name / or rather, ours the celestial
mother, ours the murdered maiden, ours the empty silks hung
to dry, ours the belt and the prosthesis, ours the mute night
like an hourglass / ours the mother who throws out the throat
i am near enough. i hold myself below the ribcage and ask for
restraint so the inertia can accumulate —
Kathy says, Pain exists…
She says, Because it means…
She says, The world is meaning. When you scream…
She says, It is love.
She says, Cry darling; the earth has been parched for a long time.
You will be cooled down.
oh sweet dread, the bee teetering at the window, i’ve learned now:
love must not be useless to the Earth.
i count your voiceless velar stop / a beat for each time you
do not say my name, but implicate me. do you ever wonder
how uncommitted you are to the work of making this a
better world? do you ever interrogate yourself? if you watch
the world, you know who’s against you, but looking outwards
before you’ve looked inside rarely results in a victory. without
your enemy, what would you do? it is easy to make a surrogate
for blame, to hold yourself as an actor that has been acted upon.
trauma is a thinking thing, too. if it has become a thought,
it can be applied. why do i hold myself more responsible for
who you are and how you treat me, than you hold yourself?
why do i excuse your present day actions with the narrative
of your traumas? how do you benefit from this? how do i hurt?
i do know that you cannot show up for the world, if you cannot
show up for the people who love you. you are an uncommitted
self, fragile enough that even in saying this i am afraid of what
you’ll do to us so that you might pardon your shame,
instead of ridding of it with change.
i try to write how i feel but instead write how you feel
All the blue - useless / all the while my wrist remains a door.
dishonesty is against commitment to the political and
you are dishonest. you tell me your story but do not claim
it’s futurity with your actions. is it because you want to
seem an intellectual so i believe you have an understanding
of beauty? you expect your silence to find its voice through
my voice. you do not show up for yourself, i show up for
the both of us. is such a thing full of suchness because
i am a self-made woman? because it is my job to do the
work of two? because i am queer and live and speak and
pull the earth inside out to queer it? how could this be that
you are so weak but claim presence voicelessly - as if, you
have nothing to say because all has been said for you before
you - a true sign of privilege. A man who does not want to
explain himself is a man who does not need to. the world
already agrees, even if the Earth does not — the difference
between ideology and politics. and i’ve had these women too.
the fight for social justice begins with how you treat the ones
nearest to you. realities are created hand and hand, mouth
and mouth, eye and eye. This is politics and this is Touch.
to appear in the world is political. to disappear is to privilege
your identity and acknowledge it as one that is not being
hunted for. it is to take cover in a world that has always
sheltered you. some of us do not get to disappear on those
who care for us. some of us do not get to ghost until we are
dead and when we do, it is still presence, it is still love.
words mean different things to the actors who breathe them alive.
i see bodies like aureoles of wilted light and within them
darker moons - i see where the past hides and how it pulses.
he stands up straight and his gut darkness,
all the nausea never reaches the mouth.
But i have found peace: it’s in a woman’s sternum when she pushes her pelvis down and her shoulders back.
I can say it like this:
Once light entered the eyes and they called it Seeing, as if,
that’s all it is. as if, the gentle gloss of the eye cannot
be truly penetrable because the act is passive. as if,
the smallest parts of our bodies, the axons, do not hold our virtue.
as if To See does not mean to Have Been Touched. from the eye
to the brain to the heart of the blood — all a seeming. so then i ask of myself:
why not be unuttered? why not be indistinguishable?
why blister? why run? why be lazy in the light?
why not tense up and push each muscle into gentleness
and pull on the spider web and why lose over and over
looking the wrong way? why not let the thread unwind —
The transgression is always evident in how the margin does not
shift according to the request. Instead there’s a dimmer for the light /
a leaf blower for the dust of us. I have not seen a truer renegade
than the one willing to die with her whole body just to keep the mind
alive. Willing as in she was willed by the latitude of colonialism,
willing as in made in the origins of the pelvis, the floor, the rush,
in the reconnaissance with which came the force of the forced.
Surely i’d like to start over every time i’m interrupted in my quest
/ this world is fatal only to those who have had the chance to live.
Nihilism is what the thief gets for his arrogance. Some of us still
want to want and this is how we live to want to live while the ego
shrieks and the bombs fall us down to ash among the dirt.
Could i want to grow a tree, could i want to bud.
we are not all made of the same damnation — yet still i was
somebody now i am a sum of voices. 15 days in a row i
have known what the past holds and each day i wanted to
know what else it could mean. i hope that you assume that
everything is unstable that you have to work just to keep it there.
i could dream of magic and other pauses, i could envision
lesbian dances. i fight for the future so hard i am forced to covet
my anger and it shows up as my sex appeal on the stage in your lap.
i live to want to live — anger and love stemming from the same wound.
i put one hand in the magic box, and my heart falls out
on the other side of the room. i do want to say your
name when on my way home. i need to shake the
sorrow off me for it to shatter somewhere so i might
know i can still hear loud enough to separate what’s
come of me and what has not.
I never trusted the enemy I loved them. For their truth / for knowing
their evil for the clarity it gave me. I cannot call all this talk
dissonance like how I want to. It is difference between us.
I am suspended and unlike / Primary erosion in the cavity /
Primary factor a liberated lung all on its own. If I am an animal
I predict disaster / I keep no body next to me when I wear the fur of assault.
Each time I part / I split at the invisible seams. No one has traced
to the beginning of me / toward my erosions /
no nails have caught on the edges of where my skin comes
together. I have made a life ritual out of covering myself with it.
I am yet to be seen
so i punish heaven for my own misfortune.
Always, some part of the whole has to hurt one part of the whole.
they'd say you're like a strobe light, you damned light hurting /
and i can't look away from the dust / i pull apart my eyelashes.
I’ll tell you about wilting. it is color moving away from the eye and into the mind.
I’ll tell you about memory. it is the bow string snapping back into place.
honeys, thank you for making it to 2017 with me and Epigraphs. i am excited to say that i am one of Lambda Literary's fellows in poetry this year. i am currently fundraising to go on the retreat in August. if you have enjoyed my writing, please consider donating some money to help make this possible for me. in return, i will give you a hand-made book of my writing some time in the fall. make sure to leave your full name and i will be in touch with you. the link for donations is here.