Yes I hate Shell but the truth is I hate all of it. We can focus on Shell and hell
yes we should FOCUS. But it’s so big, so fucking
big Obama’s signed the permit to drill in the Arctic
already and the environmental org called
Friends of the Earth sends out this email
saying there’s one more permit
they need to start the destruction the drilling and can you chip
in five dollars to continue the fight and it’s all
a lie anyway a flimsy shimsham illusion.
Do you really think a PERMIT is the realest real?!
These oil guys law guys judicial guys presidential guys yes GUYS have made up all the
rules all together and it’s like with casinos:
Some days so hot you can smell em even without the contribution of melting piles of garbage, like the heat itself has a scent in addition to the burnt grass, the baking earth, wood chips, brittle branches, bee nectar. The air that blows hot air. Seattle what the fuck it’s 97 degrees. Where am I, who are we, what are we gonna do, what are we doing RIGHT NOW.
A pop song called “Radioactive.” Dance dance dance. Tshirts bearing the words “KEEP CALM” proliferate.
Slumped in the shade of a maple tree, stomach hot air after my lunch of (most likely GMO corn) chips and salsa. This day is like a beetle flipped over on its back, wrongly weighted. Also, it’s hard to trust that there will be consistency in love relationships, important relationships. On the other hand I with myself am consistent.
It’s fucking hot out here, waiting for the bus to take me to UW Hospital to visit my beloved friend who is young young young and has two lung diseases, who doesn’t take oxygen for granted, who’s there again. Again. There again.
Once on the bus it’s cool but reeks of pot like folks are actively toking ON THE BUS because it always smells like pot, Seattle is a Weed City, keep calm everybody.
The Earth is burning the fucking RAINforest is burning. Keep calm get high. Get stoned, keep calm as an unmoving rock. The boat the bus is rocking. Be stone.
“the hurt, earth, hurt beautiful” –Valerie Martinez
I can’t quite figure out the syntax of this thing, but hurt Earth, beautiful the Earth, not “the” but Earth. We don’t say “the Shae,” we say Shae. Yes we need homespace and this hurt Earth throbs up to me from the ground. All the barking beds, forks in lawns (a multi-perforation). On 20th Avenue, plastic cutlery stabbed downward, knives and forks for eating the soil. I saw this.
I’ll be walking, or laying on the porch, bared soles to the wind, and the tree out front will curve down toward me, I’ll feel the tree pulse, pulsing, with love. This hurt Earth beautiful, but not like “you beautiful mess, you hot mess.” Those anthropocentric distractions.
Still and after all of it I feel Earth loving us through her sobbing.
The kids I teach at the middle school resist writing by hand, whine and complain, don’t want so much slow-hand, so much slow. This act is physical: pen paper, arm, and fingers. Their hands cramp with disuse. They live in their brains, in digitized landscapes. Are addicted to their computers. The big belief is that computers will save us, will better us.
I see a real distinction between technology and craft. Technology confronts the world, forces it to do things it wouldn’t do naturally. Craft belongs to a humbler, more ancient relationship with nature–going with the flow. –Christopher Manes
One can make the case that the constraint of our psyche has turned us into the Earth’s walking wounded. Brian Swimme says the modern condition–alienation and loneliness–comes from unarticulated rage that we have been so profoundly cut off from the larger reality, the universe, the sacred whole. –Charlene Spretnak
The urban proliferation of anxiety, loneliness, listlessness, etcetera–I have a name for this widespread malaise and it is Earth Hurt. Earth Hurt. My hurt heart my heart hurts and heavies, heaviness brambles, a thicket, a thimble, a woman named Thumbelina. It keeps going.
The Latin root of the words “corporate” and “corporeal” is “corpus”–the body of a person or animal, especially when dead.
Corporate: an association of individuals, created by law or under authority of law, having a continuous existence independent of the existences of its members, and powers and liabilities distinct from those of its members.
Corporeal: the body is real.
Derrick Jensen points out that in the worldview of western civilization, everything is dead, an arrangement of objects: animals, the lesser humans (all of us except you-know-who), forests, rivers, mountains. All objects: to be taken, destroyed, traded, consumed. Produced.
I feel this in my body, in my knowing, but how to start. Unravel this knot with just-right words. It is early March and I am too warm. There is a nest exposed, high in the treetop. In other spots of vision, buds popping. Daffodils. Hyacinth. Soon, tulips. The heat is speeding things up, a cookery, a crock of Davy Crockett, all the hero-worship. How they subdued the land. Davy Crockett was a Leo, proudly burning. The work of flames is to engulf, oil in the gulf, slicking down the feathers and gills. Everything all together.
I am researching the Texas Revolution and the Invasion of Mexico.
Disney brought Davy into 1950’s living rooms. American boys with coonskin caps.
Logic can’t be counted on. A dead kind of meaning-making. Dead like The West was said to be–empty, vacuum the dust to dust, burn the corpus of it all, down and down. Homeland Security border checkpoints.
Rereading Rita Wong’s collection “Forage.” Discovered http://www.ban.org. Basel Action Network–all about the toxic waste generated by our fancy eeel-ec-tron-ics and then DUMPED, illegally, overseas: the Philippines, China, et <retch> etcetera.
Just gets deeper.
Acceptance means saying I will look will not will to bury my head
Juxtapose all this love-living–this sunny porchsit time in May, with Romeo the cat, these songbirds, the hovering bee, 64 ounces of cool clear water to drink. Be
here. Do not begrudge myself
this. And also grieve, also
weep. Also rage
I am waiting to see a medical doctor. I sit in the windowless exam room. Hard light at the poor people clinic. Had my blood pressure and temperature checked. They weighed and measured me. The effortlessness of placing the hard plastic cover on the thermometer, before inserting it into my mouth. The perfunctory throwing away of it, into the magical garbage can, where everything just disappears, never to be seen again.
All the certainty here, in the clinic, in the structures. Certainty of procedures: the plastic gloves, the hand sanitizer at every doorway, the blood pressure cuffs, velcro, all the disposable goods. We play grown-up, go along with the program, trust the program, believe with solid certainty in the program. This is it. This set-up is real. Not:
We are animals.
That row of shiny coated paper boxes, multicolored vinyl gloves, cabinets with holes cut out for just this purpose: the dispensation of disposable gloves. As if things could go on this way forever. There is nothing beyond the neat, clean edges of this civilization. Nothing doing. The gloves just appear and disappear. The paper, the plastic. Equipments.
When my heart swells, opens, it spills. It spills, my heart, a cup of brine, a morning miso soup. Good mourning, autumn. My napkin ring in the shape of a wooden whale.
Can water be thirsty? Extended dry sheafs of skin out, downward grounding the bones, the burrowed sought surface for dousing: cold stream of river poured onto my crown from 5-gallon buckets.
I was so thirsty. I needed the love like a sponge and under I bloomed. Sweet drops, we had hydration stations we called Love Circles. Blew up the waterboards–reversed the grooves layed into our early plastic minds.
Can water be thirsty. Can the sun seek for warmth. Can the moon draw its breath all in, along with the light, crinkle in on itself, refusing to reflect, refusing to mirror.
I miss the quiet.
There was a woods of Scotch Pine, a triple-spiral labyrinth, clay mugs of tea. Bare feet, everywhere. Elastic garments.
Back in the city now, my heart thirsts for heart.
The river wasn’t thirsty until yesterday. When she sat squirming on a vinyl bench, in tight jeans, with the commotion of machines all around. Keys jangling in pockets, rattling around fingerbones. Evidence the absent things, all locked up.
And I’m okay with heartbreak, with the breaking-open. I am salt, all salt and water. I am all shades of pink, tender. I am multi. I see the holograms of things. The armor has shown itself, its locus on my cervix, masquerading as “abnormal” cells. What if it’s completely normal to my being-body to manifest these cells, this site of healing, transformation. My body-being is moving through its processes perfectly–nothing is static. I am exchanging atoms with all of you, right now. My cervix is healing, lush, and lovely.
I am dropping the armor.
Autumn is coming and I will cradle all the onions in my arms, little flecks of brown dirt earth, papery skins, all the eye-burners. I am full and curled like a cat. I am ready for more pain. Joy. To embrace and be this:
It is slipping away, the earth one. Sitting with Death at the table, meal after meal.
Please provide a 250 word personal response to the following Virginia Woolf quote, our thematic point of reference for the 2015 Retreat & Waves Discussion Series: Writing Against the Current.
“I’m fundamentally, I think, an outsider. I do my best work and feel most braced with my back to the wall. It’s an odd feeling, though, writing against the current: difficult entirely to disregard the current. Yet of course I shall.”
By sticking to the stickiness of the body, I write against the current of alcohol that flooded my family, generations generations generations momentum. I write out toward my blood-linked people who will not read me. Calloused hands, full-time food service jobs, female bodies back-bent, worn and pickled. My own left knee, the ligament torn at 17, no money for surgery, now permanently puffy. The current of currency, all downhill, away from me. To speak from salt, to write against the tide of lineage, dreams sucked and swallowed, reconstituted into weapons turned against the female self. Find the river raft of women writing, borne on blood and mucus. Writing out against and up and over waves of misogyny. I write as an unapologetic lesbian, a radical love for women. Mostly self-educated, I write out against the current of the canon with which I am largely unacquainted but which defines the establishment literary. I write into the tributaries of June Jordan, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Judy Grahn, and others.