September 13, 2013
Bond. Bonded. Bondage.
Tie me up, tie me down.
G’head. Make me.
You can’t cause I won’t.
It’s been spinning round and round in my head
and no good ever comes of it.
Don’t believe the hype.
Were it that I could think without words,
that I could think with pictures and song.
Were it that I could think
with touch and taste and smell freedom and remain…
Writing chose me and so I submit.
Refuse to resist.
I love this too much.
Too much to love.
Love it all,
even when I know I don’t know what I’m writing about.
I’ve given up.
This idea of knowing.
Of owning. Of controlling. Of it being so.
But I like the way I lie. It’s aspirational.
I’ve given up nothing. I’ve acquired a new faith.
That I can search for meaning while saying it can never be known.
Because meaning is personal and me,
I am grandiose.
I dream of staircases, sweeping circular things,
and long gowns flowing behind me
as I ascend and descend and drag my dress behind me.
September 12, 2013
This is a story about the machine.
When you ain’t got nothinn, you got somethinn. You got you exactly as you are. You got love and fire, passion and desire, untainted, untouched, virgin, unspoiled by what comes after.
When you a virgin you got that. You got that thanng no one else has had. You got that thanng you can give once. And you know this. So it builds. It becomes everything. It becomes all you have in this world because you are all there is.
And you give it, you give it with everything you got because all you have is you, and your dreams. You got dreams, right. Dreams of what is and what could be, born of pure and innocent heart, of never knowing anything other than the depths of your soul plumbed for this moment riighh here. This moment to give, to share, to become, to be in this world, on this earth, in this life, this time around.
And you give it. You give it with everything you got. Cause you know, you know you got this, this is your shot. So you give it, and then you give it some more, and you keep on givinn until you can give no more.
Who is to say who gets lucky? Cause luck isn’t what happens, it is how you maintain.
But let’s just say you get IT. That dream you dreamed has finally come true. And it surprises you in that way you always knew you were somebody—you just didn’t know other people knew too. So you’re kinda humbled and shocked but also kinda happy and rocked cause you know You, you know what you put in to get to the here and now of it all.
Thas what no one knows, thas what no one could ever know. Not the blood tears and sweat, not the sleepless nights, fears and regrets. Not what it cost and what you lost and the sacrifices it took. Not the passion and the pride and the power manifest when you claim whas yours.
Ahh. See now. It ain’t eva yours so long as there is anyone else involved. If you lucky, it will be ours, but it might become theirs sho nuff. Cause virgins are, well, naïve. There’s a lot of trust in your heart cause trust is believing other people feel the same.
You don’t know. You have no idea. No one eva does. No one eva knows what kindsa people run the machine, why they run the machine rather than live out their dreams like you and me. You know no child has ever answered the question, What do you want to be when you grow up? with the words, I wanna be a cog.
But they do. Become cogs, jockeying for position while causing, well, clogs. Clogs, drains, alla that. The machine is a machine which means, it is gonna break. Break down, break you, break me, break apart, break your dreams, break your sweet succulent innocent heart. The smart ones are dancinn on the break, you know, them b-boys and b-girls with the headspins and backspins to keep themselves in check.
But maybe if you lucky, you will learn to maintain. You will learn it is a machine and you’ll look to preserve your (integrity) (sanity) (innocence) (name). Maybe you got that, maybe you are that one, the golden virgin with brains and restraint. Or maybe you like me, thinkinn, now you experienced. You somebody. You got that. What? What! WHUT!
It goes on like this. It goes on and on until you’ve had enough. But when does it get to be enough is enough? Do you gotta get on your Donna Summer and be reborn?
Sho nuff. Everyone got they thang. And it makes you wonder, well, it makes me wonder. We know this is a machine. A machine designed to turn us into a dairy cow (heated vegan alert). Take us out of our natural rhythm, in a constant state of mass productivity, draining our life’s essence to make dollars for just who now?
But even if you get it. Even if you get tha cash. Is that what this is about. Is that why we are here. To be whored out.
I’m sayinn. What kinda writer hires a writer to write for them? Dig, we know Warhol wasn’t paintinn nothinn for most of his career, which is why no one ever calls him a, umm, painter. He was a conceptual artist. What he produced was ideas, not artifacts, though undoubtedly, he had that OCD need to hoard crap.
But most of us ain’t gonn reach the stage of conceptual artist, meaning we aren’t gonna be able to have other people produce our work for us. Or. Perhaps we are, we just won’t tell you. We’ll take the praise and the hate and run smoke and mirrors thinking we beat the machine because we lost our soul.
But wait. Wait! Can you beat the machine? To beat it, wouldn’t you have you blow it up. Why does that sentence set my heart aflame. Bougie fuckinn revolutionary, c’est moi.
September 12, 2013
Let the beauty we love
be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways
to kneel and kiss the ground.
September 11, 2013
And I sometimes forget
not everyone heard the sound of engines rumbling low to the ground
and then the sound of police sirens and fire engines racing down the street.
except this is New York,
and it always is.
And I sometimes forget
I didn’t hear it once, I heard it twice,
those engines rumbling low over my head.
And then the sound,
an impact I had never heard until I heard it again,
but I am inside and I am at my desk
and I am answering emails and no one is in the office yet.
And I sometimes forget
not everyone was there when it happened.
That they didn’t smell it for months coming out of the ground,
throughout September and October wondering if it will ever stop
because it feels like it is in your hair and in your skin
and its not like anything you can describe
because it doesn’t smell like anything you want to relive.
And the smell lingers outside the house and outside the office
and it’s much too close but it’s far away enough that I don’t have to breathe it in
except when I can see those clouds that come out of the manholes.
And then I hold my breath like a little kid
sitting in a car that is driving by the cemetery.
It is a long minute.
And though it has been twelve years
I cannot go because it’s just too strange to act like it’s business as usual
because there are some things that I don’t want to remember
and some things I don’t want to forget.
We did a book right after and raised money
because it was the only thing we knew how to do and that felt like something,
because you wanted to contribute.
But I had to release myself so I gave away the book
because I will not look at violence like it is art.
Only now it is odd.
Because I peruse blogs for photos
and I find these images of planes upon impact
and buildings ablaze
and people jumping
and it has become an aesthetic to be consumed.
It is but a photograph
littered in between hundreds and thousands of photographs
of teen angst and lust and drama and dreams.
And so it has become a photograph.
And this makes me think.
About what it is when reality becomes but
a token of life lived
compressed into two-dimensions.
A decorative thing.
I wonder what happens when something is both sacred and profane,
and its meaning changes as it intersects with those
who will never know it in any other way.
September 11, 2013
A pioneer of the Post-Minimalist and Conceptual art movements, Mel Bochner became deeply involved with photography during the mid-to-late 1960s. He describes photography as, “A happy expedient,” that helped resolve his questions around the order and organization of the sculptural form. He notes that photography was, “An easy way of producing images, differently from the look of the handmade, and having unique visual characteristics unexpected in a painting context.
“One result of a method such as seriality tends to be a certain visual complexity uncommon to primary, or single-image art.” Working in photography transformed Bochner’s understanding of other media, and inspired him to give closer consideration to the form of photography itself. He notes that, “In 1967 there was o place for photography in a contemporary art gallery…. Photography was seen as the enemy of all the values of late modernism… and, as things turned out, it was.”
Of this enmity, a new project was born in 1970, titled “Misunderstandings (A Theory of Photography)”, which became a comment on the literature of photography itself. In search of mis/understanding, Bochner began a random collection of quotations written in block letters in black ink on a white lined index cards. The quotes come from sources including Marcel Proust, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Mao Tse-Tung, and Emile Zola, among others, and espouse worldviews that are definitive in the way that only language can be; they are mere hypotheses ready to be taken at face value or questioned critically.
“I would like to see photography make people despise painting until something else will make photography unbearable,” is the quote from Marcel Duchamp, while the Encyclopedia Britannica purports, “Photography cannot record abstract ideas.”
As Bochner explains in an essay written in 2000, and published in Photographs and Not Photographs (Fraenkel Gallery), which contains this series, amongst other work, he decided to create these facsimiles for the 1970 publication of Artists and Photographs, which was produced Multiples Gallery. “I decided that my contribution would be a selection of quotations which taken together might (or night not) suggest the impossibility of a ‘theory’ on photography. I chose six quotations from the earlier group, to which I added three fake quotes, which I invented (and have never revealed which are which). The intention of this act of forgery was to undermine any possibility of belief fin the text, and to raise doubt from a subjective to an objective principle. The ‘groundlessness’ of the quotations became the equivalents to the ‘groundlessness’ of photography itself, focusing attention on the artificiality of any framing device.”
The result is effective in making us aware of how the construction of language easily eludes our consciousness. When attributions are given, and we recognize them, we judge the message by the messenger more times than not. Yet to consider that three quotes are fake allows us to step away from the very idea of a theory of photography itself. We consider that the ideas of others, as well as of our own, are not finished products but works in progress of a sort. They exist to inspire, to outrage, to incite; these insights are mirrors in which we reflect our very own ideas and consider where we stand, and where we may wish to go next. Consider the Zola, which purports, “In my opinion, you cannot say you have thoroughly seen anything until you have a photograph of it.”
No longer taken at face value, we now consider this as both a possibility and an impossibility at the same time. We can certainly know something without the photograph, but were we to include the photograph in our knowing, could we say we see it in a new and more detailed light? It is impossible to say, no one ever having seen that many photographs so as to ever comprehend the visibility of life through the representation of it, rather than its original form.
It is in this way that Bochner’s work provokes us out of our comfort zone, out of our knowingness of the experience of art and photography and the theories that abound. Taken in context with the larger oeuvre within this book, we see the mind of one artist as he asks questions without answers in all media to which he is connected. We enjoy the aesthetic and the intellect at the same time, the two forces touch, aligning, and sometimes colliding when they question each other in ways that are no immediately obvious. For in the work of Bochner the photograph exists as more than just an object or an art; it is a concept unto itself, a concept that does not hold to a theory—or maybe that is actually a theory itself…
September 10, 2013
melt you do melt as tho you were and tho you are
and back to where you came is where you remain forever more.
fade you do fade as tho you never were not
to me, not anything, not even the shadow of distant memory.
erase i do erase as tho i never did
tho i did, and i am, and because of you i never will again.
September 10, 2013
September 9, 2013
When swallowed by a fire-breathing dragon,
Saint Margaret made a cross with her fingers,
causing the beast’s belly to burst open.
Keep calm and carry on.
September 9, 2013
September 7, 2013
September 7, 2013
All the secrets of the world are contained in books. Read at your own risk.
September 6, 2013
per chance to dream the dream, this is all i eva wish
to me he reads the words i heard with cummings on his breath
and his lips drip with words i heard before whispered on my flesh
and nothing but nothing then or since has eva felt like this
September 5, 2013
Governing a large country
is like frying a small fish.
You spoil it with too much poking.
Center your country in the Tao
and evil will have no power.
Not that it isn’t there,
but you’ll be able to step out of its way.
Give evil nothing to oppose
and it will disappear by itself.
—Tao Te Ching, chapter 60
September 4, 2013
Knowingness is an illusion unto itself. But it’s one that exists as part of the brain’s design. And it is quite a design, a masterpiece of sanity and madness and all that lies between. Thas what it seems we discuss, in many ways, facets of a diamond, diamonds being carbon, being former vestiges of life, of matter compressed by pressure and time, until final ashes to ashes becomes the hardest substance on the planet.
And the one that we kill, rape, and pillage to behold, we barter our souls for the vestiges of death. I love it. It’s a poem. Could keep doing on fossil fuels, but I wont since its neither here nor there, as this all is. To know, or not to know, that is the question.
How do we know we know truth and false ? I don’t buy into conventional wisdom because I am a fool. because i operate by folly. I walk along the edge of a cliff, forever looking at the sky and not at where my feet are heading. Thas my truth, until it’s false, and then ? Maybe I wont write poems. I wont write at all. I’ll be reborn in another being and answer a different call.
But while I am here, in this form, Ima say, I never knew God til we met three years ago. and it was. And it is. It’s tha best. Really. I am so grateful. I have no doubts. Because I have no baggage. No religious hang ups. No spiritual swishh. Like, word, tonite is New Year. Cheers ~*~ I celebrate New Years on three calendars. I wanna have it all. And God allows this, thas why I’m cool with any level of faith and doubt, just like truth and false. I tell myself I am here to do God’s work. I come up hard. I fall short. But still, each and every day I am blessed to be in God’s grace.
This is the Year of the Snake, because revolution happens when the circle spins round and I believe in the ouroburo, thas the snake eating it’s tail, thas my reptile spirit, annd Ima testify it’s real. And maybe or maybe not, me finding God is part of this, but I’m glad I’m where I’m at because I know things, and I dont know things, and thas the way it is ~*~
September 4, 2013
“i write from inside me.
you read from inside me.
you can not have a more intimate relationship
lovers, nayyirah waheed