18 April 2012

playing catch-up

If you're an artist, and you're self-employed, are all artists your colleagues?

I stopped really updating this blog for a while (though I've been all over Tumblr and Twitter) because, in the midst of my grad school/working on three manuscripts/being a poet/I don't believe in fixed identities bubble, maintaining a blog based tenuously on a personal brand has seemed unappealing, if not downright revolting.

Only nostalgia, really, has kept me from deleting the whole thing. I mean personal history is different from a personal brand, isn't it? It's in the details and the more regrettable moments that can't help but surface. If you have a look at my pictures from the Basque country you'll see what I mean.

But, you know, I'm shaking things up; the other day I rode the bus for the first time since I was mugged, and even if I don't overhaul this blog completely I might as well keep it current (if not contemporary).

So.

Back to art.

What a small, small world it is.

A couple weeks ago my friend Nick - who I know from Santa Cruz, but also lived in Oakland for a time overlapping with mine, and is now in DC - called me around Morning Edition time looking for the name of "the guy who types poems at Ferry Plaza."

Zach happens to be one of the first friends I made in Oakland, and I met him because I was typing poems on the street, and he was like, Hey, that's MY job. And I was like, How?

Well he's been at it a lot longer than I have (going on six years), and he's definitely a lot more prolific than I am, or than any of the other typewriter poets I know. One time we had a conference because there were four of us in the same room and we wanted to make a place for us exist on the internet. But we were in a bar and the male-to-female ratio was heavily skewed; maybe it's true that girls get paid better but we have to deal with more, too.

I once traded a poem for a kiss (on the cheek!) and a plastic cup of wine.

So then school got real, and I started needing more time, a lot more time, to write things that require editing, and I haven't really been typing poems, at least not in public on a Brother Charger, since the fall.

And although I am "a poet" (so many hesitations around that word) I really haven't been thinking about it being National Poetry Month, in the same way that what woman really thinks about it being National Women's Month and there being the whole argument about Black History Month because really every day should be Black History Day, and in some minds it is, and in my mind, every day is Poetry Day.

So you'll understand that it took me a second to gather why Nick wanted to know Zach's name and my glee when some days later the NPR story happened.

The only part I'm confused about is how Zach and Nick don't know each other. Yet.

Which makes me think about the gaps between "media people" and "artists" and how "poet" falls into the category of "artist" and how in the past I was a "media person" and how some of my friends are still and some of my friends are "artists", among them "poets" and the more general "writers" but also "printers" "photographers" and "musicians" and all I can figure is that we're all in this together, somehow, tugging each others' fingers and toes along and occasionally doing some necessary poking and prodding and tickling so we can all pay rent.

And now I am going to go back to researching subordinate clauses so I can continue writing about Korean and Danish and what are ostensibly "small" literatures.

11 April 2012

shake it out




because it is this point in the semester
because sitting still is exhausting
because i'd rather be meditating
becuase it is already april
because we're all under the weather
because i have been dancing
because i could listen to pavement for days
because the sequence is also history
because the syllables are too many
because somebody believed the wrong side won
because we're not in new york
because one thinks one means exactly what one says
because form is never more than an extension of content
because possibility is geography
because ezra pound was born in idaho
because that's my whole life spent feeling out of place
because the southwest is waiting
because this blog is mostly no longer relevant to me
because a monster poem is growing
because sometimes rhythm is broken
because words are not enough
because this is a kind of tree