In writing a current assignment I have to discern my own aesthetics for writing poetry. This was trickier than I thought it would be. In looking over what I’ve been working with lately, most of it deals with failure and breaking, with fracturing and displacement. I’m a real joy to be around these days.
But in thinking about it, of course I’m interested in failure. Back when I used to participate in performances (Peddle to the Meddle days, oh how I miss the debauchery) my interest rested on failure of body. I liked to push myself to the edge of what I was capable and see if I could slip over the other side into complete failure. As a performance artists, I didn’t succeed in failing (which would be failure at failure… cyclic headache of a logic problem). We most often joked around and tried to make people laugh, and I found it frustrating but wasn’t sure what to do about it. It isn’t surprising that I didn’t continue with performance art after the group went our separate ways.
We learn our bodies from the edges of pain. I think that’s something originally from Elaine Scarry, but it might have been a different philosopher. Regardless, it makes sense. We learn our bodies from where they end, and what better way to feel the end than pain? This isn’t to say masochism is a way of defining self, but if I look back at what I’ve done, pain (of a sort) has been important. What better way to feel alive than a hard workout on the track? The best I’ve felt has been after pushing my body beyond what I thought possible and still going further, crossing a line and turning to scream for my girls coming across the line right after me. Or stumbling to find the girls who had already crossed. If it didn’t hurt, I hadn’t tried.
Love, too, can be debilitating- even when joyous. The pain of separation is something that numbs away through ignoring it, but focus on it and it can be as sharp as blades and as equally capable of damage. I am shocked again and again at my capacity to feel loss. My losses add to the displacement and again, this is how I define myself. Where my edges stop.
Jessi decided to put the Blue Planet dvds on the Blockbuster que. What a wonderful idea. We made dinner and watched fish, though now I feel badly eating fish, especially after watching the “Seas in Peril” section in the bonus features. Turns out fishing is evil. Really evil. If only suishi didn’t taste so good…
Things I learned:
Mackerel are screwed. They are on everyone’s menu, and the “ball up in a shimmery sphere” defense mechanism, well, it isn’t that successful. It just makes it easier for the bigger fish to dart in and get a meal.
The (undersea) world would die without plankton.
Hermit crabs are given silly music as they scurry around trying to steal each other’s shells.
Quite a lot of undersea creatures really seem to dance a fine line between animal and plant. Or are strange fusions, animals with plant cells hitching rides and also providing nourishment. Seem suspicious to me.
All of this reminds me, I need to own this book, part 3 in a series of wonderful coffee table books. Series also includes Giraffes? Giraffes! and Your Disgusting Head.
Perhaps it can be accounted to the late hour, and the alcohol I’m sure was consumed, but these are lovely:
“…I assumed you did. You’re too young to be tied down. I’m old to be insane.”
“You want to screw around let me know. otherwise. adios.”
“PS. Maybe i burned a bridge but i believe in suicide. Check Schopenhauer.”
“I’ve a tendency to make people feel things they don’t want to. Call it arrogance. I know what I am.”
Bit of back story. I’m a friendly person, and was introduced to this fellow a while back. Ran into him at a reading but pulled a blank at where I knew him from. Social graces as they are, I figured it out and apologized for not recognizing him. Handful of conversations later, a Family Guy link sent and laughed at, another reading attended, and all of this culminates in…. me being made to “feel things [I] don’t want to.”
I’m not trying to make a point against this fellow, really. Maybe he doesn’t get smiled at very often, and my conversation was laced at some subconscious levels with “come-fuck-me” vibes. I’m not sure. If it happened, it was beyond unintentional. I’ve lasted two years out here by myself, and this guy wasn’t about to be the home-wrecker. But he did manage to ruin my evening and make me want to crawl into a hole and talk to no one of the opposite gender. And this afternoon, I’m just a bit irritated that he made me feel that way.
On a happier note, The Trucks are amazing. Jackie Bang knows them from Bellingham, and she was right: this is the band I wanted to be in in high school. Four girls, two casios and a whole lot of kick ass-ness. They were so fun. They opened for Northern State, the Dollyrots and Killiola. I wanted to take them all home. Makes me want to put on roller skates and start a band. I don’t know why roller skates, but I do. And fun clothing. And dancing around.
So here’s to fun girls. And thumbs down to stupid boys.