It is in my experience. . .

that people will always have something to say. Unless, of course, there is something that you wish, or need, to hear. Similarly, I most typically have something to say unless, of course, there is something that someone needs to hear.

Simple, beautiful, gesture. . . this universe can tend to take quite a many a liberty but as I sit in a cafe doting on my tea and making occasional glances away from my laptop and toward the door The Bee Gees have come on the radio. This instantly reminds me of my Father. I’ve been missing him a lot lately and I’m not one to miss family.  It could be the long car rides with the Bee Gee’s soundtrack locking up the background music and my father humming, occassionally tapping on the steering wheel in the cab of his Ford F15o. You see, my Father was a child of the ’40s which placed him in his prime in the late 60’s at a time of first, political upheaval then disco. HIstory teaches us (specifically our American Cultural history teaches us, that the collective temperament is just as short as it’s member. I guess in a similar way I think of my father as effortlessly fabulous and politically engaged at the same time. You can’t teach it, he just has it.

Culture has a way, after all, of mimicking it’s aggregate’s individual personality.

Rather, that is culture’s way. . . anyhow.  Back to the thing. . . the thing that brings me to the page; my father. I’ve been thinking about him. HE’s so incredibly elusive to me. Yet, he always says the right thing. He always teaches and encourages even when things are dire. He has always found a way of giving me what I need when I need it. Never in a garish manner. Never anything more than what is appropriate.

I have read in the historical record of my first meeting of my Brimmer Family, how I instantly had a bond with my father. I was about 17 months. My mother had been visiting me for weeks and the girls (Jamie 10 and Andrea 13) were on their first visit to the foster home. We played, I never laughed. My parents have told me the story of the first time I laughed and smiled in their care . . . I scared myself and began to cry. This was months after placement. I was nearly two years old.

My Father came into the room and I crawled towards him. He picked me up, I nestled into his shoulder and calmly went to sleep. As though it were routine and he was but returning from a day’s work.

I moved out of my childhood home the day after Graduation in June 2004. My steps from the precipice were contingent on proving my game plan to my Father. More a business proposal than a conversation I created a poster board: presented budget plans, logistics and a list of pros and cons. After packing up the last of my meager belongings and assisting in the tear down from my Graduation Party I kissed my father on his wet cheek and he said one of the most beautiful lies that most parent’s tell their children. “You can always come home, if you need to.”

A few years ago, I was in Madison around Christmas time. It was Christmas Eve of 2009. My extended family on my Mother’s side gather at the Italian Workman’s Club (a cultural artefact and remnant of a time when Italians were a fresh immigrant community and lived in tight geographic concentration and facilitated social networks including language and children’s programs. . . the room has a history. As the Raimondo’s had outgrown a gathering at Great Grandmother Raimond’s home, we came to incorporate a new tradition that maintained Uncle Sam’s Pizza and Anice.)

This Christmas eve, my Sister-in-CommonLaw had recently had a baby, the little one was about 3 months old. She offered it to me, “Do you want to hold it?”. It easily became one of those moments where all eyes in the circle were on me: fall or fly.

THESE LINES FROM DEAR DAUGHTER (copyright 2010):

THREE

I’m holding a child and I feel nothing other than I might let it die.

FOUR

My father touches my shoulder and says to me softly, “It will come when it needs to,”.

It will come when it needs to. I have remembered that moment vividly for years now. The pangs of the maternal were lost on me for quite a while. This comes from a few places. The fracture of generations of displacement and adoption in my personal history. It has left me largely with out roots. Feeling myself to be more of an exile than citizen within my own life. The reunion episodes that I’ve experienced have only hyperbolized these notions.

The fracture that comes as part of my history as an African American. This is so important too. We were ripped from our Mother Africa, we were wrenched from each other for hundreds of years. That’s where the degradation of the African American Family began. That will not be where it ends. But I do not believe we have seen the bottom. I don’t know that pain has a bottom. I do not believe that loneliness has a bottom. I do not believe that displacement has a bottom.

Bottoms are neat and orderly. Exile, loneliness, pain, displacement. These things are steady, however chaotic. And like the energy of the universe, I do not believe it will stop. (Dismal, yes. Honest, yes. . .

I cannot tell a lie. I cannot tell a lie.

It’s July 2010 I was in New York City for a week, meeting my Biological family. All was too quick. You can’t force family. I was a mess. It was day 3 of my trip and I was being treated like a child. A petulant one. I was 24 and had been living out of my childhood home for 6 years. I paid my own rent, car payment, insurance. I thought I had survived crises before. This was new. There were these people supposing to know things about me. To have answers for me. To have expectations of my emotions and behavior.  A lot of pressure involved in one sweltering concrete jungle. Or, rather, THE sweltering hot concrete jungle. . . to be more precise.

After a long day in the city and an amazing night of jazz at the Villiage Vanguard:

Hello, My name is Kurt Rosenwinkel.

Lorraine and I step into the Village Vanguard on a Tuesday night: my first night in New York City. The intensely humid, hot air from the city manages to slink with us down the stairs but it is halted abruptly at the door. It is dark and brilliant thing to be within the Vanguard’s walls. This is what going to church must be like for most pious of believers.

Tonight: Paul Motian, Enrico Pierunanzi and Marc Johnson play in trio. Enrico is an old Italian and so I’m familiar with his ways. It makes me feel like an old hat who has auditioned for a role I’m playing. There is hard contrast between the black and white worlds I find myself dancing between. Black in comparison to the white and white, only in contrast to black. But since it is dark I can’t tell the difference in the candle light. At this moment I don’t even care. That is how jazz makes me feel. Clearer. Better. I order a glass of Malbec and my eyes jump all over the program and around the room. Evan was just here a week ago to see a Kurt Rosenwinkel show. He told me about coming down the stairs and –literally- running right into his idol. He was soaking wet from the rain and the Kurt just looked at him and managed, “Shit” before passing him on the stairs.

Evan had met him before. They had talked at a bar in Chicago after a show for an hour or so. Rosenwinkel didn’t even recognize Evan that year later in the Village Vanguard dripping from his storm soaked venture in the world outside. Now, here I am. I sit in the Vanguard across from Lorraine who expects conversation and after three days tour of Sag Harbor, the Hamptons and New York City with a meeting of potentially every one of her friends the time has come for Jazz and for me and Mr. Malbec to hold caucaus. I want silence with Enrico, Paul and Mark. I want to be surrounded by these men and not be expected to speak.

Lorraine is like Evan. She knows of the history we share. She has met me before in many ways through my mother, Jane, and through Jane’s story and her mannerisms and her troubles. She has met me through Jane’s potential. All this I know and it is all I can do to mutter “Shit” and pass her on the stairs.

“Hello, My name is Kurt Rosenwinkel.” I pen quickly in my notebook.

Paul gently pats the drumset as I drink my wine, smile coolly at Lorraine and focus on the sounds he makes as I make very certain not to cry.

(June 6, 2010- New York City)

That night, returning home to the apartment we were borrowing in the theater district I went outside to make a phone call. It was just about 1 am and therefore nearing 11 pm in Wisconsin. I call my father. He and my mother were still up watching TV in the living room. Somehow. I sobbed into the phone, sitting on the ground wearing a sundress and at the first opportunity my father chimed in “Well we’re not going to be able to solve anything if you don’t calm down.” And then it was that coming home was not an option (both logistical and emotional). “What would it teach you to run away from the situation.” He encouraged me to find private time. To write. To exert myself as the independent 24 year old woman he had raised and was proud of. And if necessary, just pretend everything was fine and deal with it later.

That last one sounds like surrender.

I don’t believe it is.

This summer I had the my first workshop of Steel Gun Cold, a play I had poured life into through characters to whom I had submitted. My parents came up to the Cities for the show. This was epic. The second rehearsal (preperformance) started rough. One of my actors was drunk and clearly uncooperative. Reading lines with different intentions on each word, making up his own dialogue, and throwing things across the room. His behavior continued after the centers head honcho and various others had one on one conversations. Doors opened, the house was very full. And still the whole first three scenes were not as I wrote them.

I did not cry. I went on acting as though I was not affected. Did not yell, though I muttered some rather foul things beneath my breath, made it through an excruciating happy hour with the actor in question. And the next morning when I brought it up again the next morning at breakfast, my father stopped me.

L: I still can’t believe–

B: Just stop. There isn’t a thing you could have done to control his actions then and there isn’t a thing that will happen by talking about it today. Move on. Recognize the successes of the moment and move on.

Brilliant.

 

 

Walk on, Write on.

2speakease

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Art and the Political

What makes an Artist an Activist?

More appropriately how do we delegate our responsibilities as citizens to the craft at hand. This is a question that stuns as much as it inspires.  I suppose for me the two are wholly intertwined. It can be a simple question of writing that which we know. As an artist, specifically as a female, as a Black female, as a poet I feel an easiness in developing work that speaks to my experience. The easiness stems from the structure but it maybe just stops there.

It is a question of the personal. How do I articulate my place in this world and how does it contradict popular notions of that very same place where I sit.  A few weeks ago at the Playwrights’ center an incredible female Navajo writer articulated a very real point that her work gives voice to an American history that is muted, and also mutated for White display and has been over Centuries. That is, depictions of Indigenous Americans has been subject to slant, idealization and very political slander. Art/Film/Literature about the Native American experience has been Anglofied (verb) to fit models of popular mythology, true or not. This lack and mis-representation is a disenfranchisement. This disenfranchisement leads to artistic difficulties in the cultivation of new work- there is little or no infrastructure, the community is fractured and disconnected from manners of expression that should be inherent.

So there is a structural problem. There are few Native actors, directors, artists for her works production. . . that doesn’t stop the work from happening. Thinking internationally of depictions of Middle Eastern stories. . . (The Prince of Persia- Jake Gyllenhall as a box office stud- methinks he’s not Persian, the use of a French actress Marion Cotillard as Menominee Billie Frechette). There is also the problem of reinforcing certian sterotypes af culture- any culture, Black, Yellow, Brown or otherwise- think Tyler Perry, Carlos Mencia, etc. There is a real experience that some of this information stems from but then when you think of Sapphire’s Push/Precious success I can think only of scheming, of financial gain and the negative connotations of popular film/media/depictions.

What makes a person become a political activist? Specifically an artist? One word could be dissatisfaction.

I’d also say history. (Hurtstory.) I could also say the personal. I have a hard time fleshing the personal experience from the practice of art. In the last few years it has become evident in my work and also in the work I find myself reading that I am responding to a question of generation. A question of passing. A question of voice. I want to voice my experience and there is quite a lot of political in my personal experience. As a Black female writer you find yourself needing to divorce yourself from certain things, but you have to know why. When I was at the Givens Black Writers retreat last year, Ishmael Reed told me to divorce myself from the white avant-garde.

That’s political. Not simply because he is Black and they are white. It wasn’t about that. It was about finding my roots. The roots of what I was doing. It was about politics because it was about learning what a generation before me had done to the political niches they were given, Negro Lit, Negro Theater, Film (yes there is! Oscar Mischeaux) but no one ever talks about it. You have to find it for yourself.

I have two points here, Ishmael Reed was my first Black teacher. In my near 20 years of studentship I hadn’t had one direct English Teacher or teacher at all that was Black. I am thankful to my advisor in my time at St. Thomas Buffy Smith in the Sociology Department for her support and attention but it was not the same as the direct feedback (at times quite harsh) that I recieved from Reed and Laurie Carlos.

I found myself at a precipice where I had to ask myself, do I double back and go back to the safer moments, the safer containers that the Lit world wanted to keep me in or did I want to blossom forth and get a better handle on my perspective, which was really my person?

My second point is that as an Adoptee of the diaspora, my experience of Blackness is likely much different than the experiences of many of my brothers and sisters. I was raised in a white family and it wasn’t until my Givens experience that I had developed a group of other individuals of color. It was like the pieces were coming together. I recognized my face in the faces around me, I also recognized what I had been apologizing for all along. I am an imposter.

I think every artist comes to a time when they have to do them. They have to go forward using what they’ve learned hitherto to create a language and venue for their voice. It takes more than me identifying as a Black writer. It means I have to step forward and scream my experience from the top of my lungs. If that means delving into my personal life and finding profits from the pain I’ve experienced or the hurtstory of my people. Then all the better. I think I do that in my work. I want you to know what I know but I also want you to learn a bit for yourself.

What makes my work political isn’t that I’ve created ( I hope effectively) a new formal structure and mechanisms to convey my experience that don’t align directly with such and such writer or with such and such institutionalized form. What makes my work political is that it doesn’t apologize for it’s apology. It allows for contradiction. It is self effacing and honest. Sometimes the language is hurtful. Sometimes you want to cry. Sometimes you want to laugh. Sometimes you want to leave the room. That, to me, is the beauty of it all. That is what is political. That is what enfranchises me.

I’ve said again and again to my friends in pain. To my friends that are struggling that they need to put it on the page. I’ve had this said to me. If you don’t write it down how do you know if it is real? How do you expect other people to understand your history if you don’t understand it yourself. That is what I was trying to get across in my essay Open Letter to My Generation. You have a history. Don’t invalidate yourself because you don’t know about it or aren’t willing to know it, accept it, learn from it.

I don’t know if after writing this I’m any more clear on what makes a person become an activist.

I guess I learned from my father Bill Brimmer, I learned from Reed, I learned from Carlos and from myself everyday. It’s about not being in the room when the derogatory conversation is going on and knowing why. It is about speaking from the heart of your life and knowing why. Its not just about breaking the rules but exploding knowing full well why and what damage you’re doing to the environment. Activism and Art walk hand in hand – and if yours doesn’t then. . . it’s still art but I wonder whose it is, ’cause it ain’t yours.

Nobody reads this

so I know I can say this.

I’m listening to Buddy Guy and the awesome thunderstorm that is happening right now. It is well needed.

For both the earth and myself.

I’ve been trying to listen to as much blues as is possible lately. this is good and also… what it is. (yes, I still like that as a band name. )

The night does not know what it brings to us, the night… I think… knows very little. There is darkness and sometimes the light is Venus, sometimes Mars, sometimes lightning. The friends that I have continue to amaze me. I wish you could tell me why. I wish you could tell me anything… I didn’t know already.

I’ve been continuing a joke with good friends… the comeback you never expect anymore. No one does it anymore. Too sad. I’m having a hard time telling this person exactly the things I think I’d be prized to know. It’s quite difficult. Life, at this time, and at most times,is difficult. I just want to make this as easy as possible on you. I’m writing you here because writing you a specific email is too difficult. I k now you are moving…trans-state…that makes things more difficult. I want to tell you now that sometimes more difficult is more beautiful. Fact…F-A-C-T. There are many things I want to tell you… or even try to. Whether or not you are receptive. This is an open letter.

I’m sorry I don’t know how to be there for you.

Honestly, wish I did. There are feelings of wanting to protect you. Feelings that you can protect yourself. I know you can. I know you are strong. I want you to know I am there for you. Without it ever feeling like I can’t be, like I won’t /wouldn’t be, like it would end up public, when you don’t want that. I now this is. But that is my reality. This had been a release, had been a place for diary like exaltion of my daily woes as a writer =not a person… (sigh). And now, a person.

Wrote that all with my eyes shut, in fact.

I remember my first few days of college. Shopping in unfamiliar territory, with my money from summer work. And my surprise when the boy I thought loved me was found to be loving other women, my listening to 98 degrees and gin and tonics and the impression I made on my floor as “that girl” (funny story really) but an even gentler impression could have really been made, had I been willing to try.

I want for you a gentle impression. I want for you the semblance of normalcy you dream of. That’s what I wanted for me. I remember how (in)tangible that seem(s)(ed).

Now)

I want you to know, no matter what, I will always protect you…. whether you like it or not. I will always want to protect you. That is how my older sisters raised me. with the yearning to protect me… until I left and there was none. No protection to be had. There are “sisterly things” and roles I want to take and engender in you because I want to. Because I think I would be an awesome older sister. I have never been one. I’d like to try.

I’m going to have to do this like Laurie Carlos and Andy P. suggested. As best I can, an actual 100 percent and one day at a time. He’s going to hate that I said it like that, but that is what it is.

I want for us an actual interpersonal relationship that I feel is being obviated in this moment.

Lightning.

I want for us a minute that will actually be just us. It may happen after all of the other this that is happening, but I hope that you know I want you to control as much as possible. Though I’ve learned a lot from the gifts that happen from not being in control. I also know the difference between handling and being handled.

I’m a lot, I get it. I’ve always been a lot.

There is no reason other than wine to post this in the rain, over blues, contemplation, and repetition. These are the things.

These are the things.

I’m sorry.

so, i know

that my life is a practice of reactions to non-sequitors. I’ve come to terms. Laurie’s word ring in my ear… the artist… eats the leftover pasta salad in the fridge. The artist approaches the Mercado’s tamale stand. The artist serves the table. The artist listens to the jazz set. The artist does.

The artist writes. I’ve been away again. Living. I suppose. Stunting, some would say. I am trying to write. I am wanting to take my writing to the play form. I’m thinking what I need to do is really bring the play form into the writing I am doing. So I suppose, again, that I’ll need to read. And read I shall. But as intro writing classes have taught me: You just have to start writing.

I’m going to go back to the Classical Literature I’ve read already. Pay more attention to the form, to what is happening there thanjust the basic plot. I don’t know if this is the correct path but this is certainly the only path I know… I don’t have a process yet, so I guess I just figure out how to create one.

I do know that I am thinking more and more that my main problem (self diagnosed) is that I continue to think that there is an urgency to get to the thing right away. You know, cut the shit and get to the point already… that’s what I feel makes poetry so great, it is this amalgamation of these things, points and precipices. I was speaking with playwright Kevin Anthony Kautzman about a week ago and he said something that rang hard in me that, paraphrased, was “There should be more drama in poetry and more of the poetic in the play form,”.

Maybe soon I’ll be able to say with a more full knowing, Truer words were never spoken, my friend.

And how.

I sat down to write

and realized, quickly, that everything I wanted to write I had already written.

June 25, 2008 : from my earlybloglove– blueplatespecial

One of my favorite poets, James Tate, has a poem entitled “Prose Poem” from a collection of poetry entitled “The Oblivion Ha- Ha”–released circa 1970 with the line

I am surrounded by the pieces of this huge
puzzle

–it follows that Tate’s speaker, reduces his life to puzzle pieces that are immense and interconnected and yet wholly unrelated, describing different opposite parts of a whole.

And it is true.

past and future have their pieces, now and never-their own as well… each person, each empty apartment and future apartment, and discarded mattress and future park bench… pieces…

we wrestle, we are tormented somehow by these pieces but we are always present, always somehow manipulating them into order. we connect the blue and the blue-white and the white of the sky. connecting the brown of the road with the green of the grass and as we connect earth and sky and the red truck with the pond…we are somehow making it happen…
It seems that we are actively arranging these pieces that have been somehow already been splayed out for us.

I miss my old life and am grappling to create a new one. a new comfortable setting.
I can call this piece work and this one minneapolis and this one art and this one Adam and the other Eve, but they will change. Oh, will they change.

another line…

My head cocked toward the sky,
I cannot get off the ground,
and , you, passing over again,

fast, perfect, and unwilling
to tell me that you are doing
well, or that it was mistake

that placed you in this world
and me in this; or that misfortune
placed these worlds in us.

it seems at first so sad- but it is sooo hopeful and at once relieving. to rely on someone else for fault at love’s lessons. to rely on Mistake and proper Misfortune for fault at life’s regressions, this is poetry. this is understanding the past as a happening neither good or bad but as something that did happen once. as humans we are unable to say it did. we can only say they, me , i –is it a language problem?
we don’t know.

I expect Simi to still be reading. Maybe just searching for her name (her piece/peace).

I needed to muse- I think I mused pretty hard here…

I just wanted to tell you
I remember you even now;
Goodbye, goodbye. Here come the cows.

and Oh, how they come.

Moo.

Leaving Brooklyn

today is probably a pretty surreal experience. This is another one of those open letters. I wake up every morning thinking that I’ve received an email from you telling me that everything is impossible. I remember after the last time we talked I got an email saying that all of the things that were talked about were never going to happen.

Don’t send me anything to this effect. Some things are better left unsaid.

I’m sitting in a cafe in Madison next to the zoo and listening to early Bob Marley. Which is strange because I was listening to early Bob Marley in the car on my ride here from Minneapolis. I don’t know what this means, or if this means anything. It could simply mean that I need to listen to more Reggae. We don’t know.

I do know that it is a different world that I live in now, but it is also very much the same. I’m trying to make sense of my life as I’ve made it and as I hope it to be someday. I’ve written a paragraph here a few times but I can’t seem to train my thoughts to follow in sequence. Any sequence. I’ll give you minutes of your life back and just give the goodies away: I’d prefer to live in this unknowing, hopeful, mourning period than experience the redoubtable mess that would follow if anything more final and adverse ever came from this blaze.

I don’t know that I could be held accountable for my behavior.

I don’t know if I can be at this time.

I hope you are well. I’ll be honest. I hope you travel safely. I hope. I’ll always hope.

Yours Always,

L

Turf Club Tuesdays

Tuesday, March 16

I caught up with some folks at the Turf Club’s Clown Lounge for a dirty martini and some jazz.

OFF THE MAP, (another Brandon Wozniak affair with drummer Jay Epstein and Bryan Nichols on keys) and FANTASTIC MERLINS

It was a real great set up. Wozniak sounded brilliant and delicious as always. Epstein was a fit to be heard- skill, technique- he is a master. Now Nichols, and I wrote a bit about this in my notebook while at the show… there is something about him that reminded me of someone much younger, with a knowledge much older.

There is a poem  I was reminded of by Etheridge Knight called Green Grass and Yellow Balloons. From the middle so you get a sense.

” green grass

and yellow balloons

floating in the sky

you sang of. and sadness too.

softly you sang

your words warming me

and the sea rose in me

and your song sent me spinning

and i thought of e e cummings

mud puddles and colored marbles

and what the fuck was i doing

in this new / england / state–

then your eyes seemed sadder to me

and your words seemed warmer to me

and the sea rose higher in me

and suddenly

i was 4 and you were 40″

The thing I was wondering about was about artists. (and not myself, really).  I wonder if there is just something they know that maybe they’ve always known. A friend says it is something about playing honestly. The Fantastic Merlins for instance, he really enjoyed a few Clown Lounge Tuesdays ago when he was in town, saying that Nathan Hanson-saxophone- had a very honest approach.

My question: is it honesty?

I once dated somewhat of a Roy Hargrove/Monk/Rollins wannabe.

He might have been honest too. But that didn’t make his music any more informative than if he had been lying to us with his axe. Maybe that would have been better. Give them something.

I’m not saying he knew nothing. But he didn’t know what any of the musicians I saw Tuesday knew. They knew and they told me.

A few things:

Nichols has a show coming up with the Zacc Harris Quartet (where Harris, Nichols are joined by Chris Bates and JT Bates) at the Clown Lounge next Tuesday- Jazz starts at 10. I really enjoy their stuff- Nichols knows his way around a keyboard and he doesn’t mind showing you the place. I’m eager to hear more of him and more of his compositions.

Wozniak and the Atlantis Quartet have an upcoming show at the Artist’s Quarter on 3/26 and 3/27. Both shows start at 9pm. $10 cover.

Hanson told me about his affiliation with Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar in DT Saint Paul– Fantastic Merlins play every Friday, music starts at 8 pm, no cover and shows are all ages.

When I walked into the museum it was

everything in relation to Moscow or Warsaw. I remembered a life that had been in relation to Szeged and Veresegyház. Maybe this is where I say something about how age is nothing but a number. I can’t justify saying that when I feel a certain way about the years as they pass. The Museum of Russian Art (MORA) was lovely and strange.

Looking at a beautiful collection of paintings from various -isms/movements/historical backdrops were incredible. There was a great breadth to the curated works that really allowed you think and breathe about the Russian people, their artists and culture and its descendants.  I was thinking about Mayakovsky, and his story, and his death and works. I was thinking about looking at someone’s work and life as a still or distilled image of the actual reality. I then remembered how naked I felt when I read Impossible or even his poem about the Brooklyn Bridge and I think I learned something about student-ship. The real possibility of being seen by our teachers, dead or alive. The universe sending us something new and it is our choice how we receive it (back to that choice piece). I wrote a poem about Oscar Mischeaux, a film maker whose works started in the silent era and reached forward into the Talkies. some of these were greatly inflammatory and responses to D.W. Griffiths’ Birth of a Nation. (I don’t have adjectives for this film).  They were left out of conversations I had in my Silent Film course in college.  This is largely because Mischeaux’s films were banned then exported to Europe. Etcetera.

I felt a lot when I finally found him in the margins of my Silent Film Reader. His text was not entirely forgotten.

Still, I do not really know what any of this means. I know that at the Museum everything was geographically placed in relation to a city many miles away. I know also that the artists were acknowledged only by who they were students of or with or the -ism they influenced. Is there more than that? As an artist I can’t help but acknowledge that who I read/study/workshop/listen to might find their way into the nameplate of my painting someday. Maybe I in theirs.

Only the years would tell. Only the numbers. I don’t know what I’m grappling with here. I’m going to the bookstore.

The bookstore always helps, something like Tiffany’s…

I come back here

whenever I’m trying to do something. I come back here whenever I am. I have a very difficult time telling the difference.

\\listening to Jimi Hendrix’ Are you experienced? album//

Already in 2010 the universe has given me news and reminders and reinforcements and gifts. Not entirely in that order. I have been reminded of how I think I am a failure at relationships, when really those I trust often fail me. Maybe that is a gift. I will always have  my work. My work is my life. I have been reinforced of my drive for movement and explosion- I have a new car. I have been given family members whom I am learning to be ready to connect with. I have been given time and opportunity for collaboration and research.

I have even been given a plant that has been named Jimmy Baldwin. It was very cold when Simi was leaving and I am hoping the dear spider plant will come back to some health and eventual proliferation.

+++++++++++++++

I am applying at present to another retreat. I am struggling with my cover letter, as always.  I am thinking about my journey. I have had a series of conversations (3 in 3 days) with some women I admire and respect that have all discussed paths and journeys… such a meddlesome thought process really they idea of paths/journeys. We all have our own. yes.

we are all on the same path/journey. also yes.

Since I was 19 I have been interested in the way paths work in circles, you lose yourself and find yourself. You are in the same hoop of someones hopeful arms. we orbit.

People come in and out and back in again from our lives. Some of them we love. Some of them we hate. Some of them will never be forgiven for the sins they did not commit. It is best for you both I think.

**—–**

Lisa the artist cannot forgive you because you have not hurt me.

Lisa the woman feels the same.

Lisa the daughter agrees.

Somehow the universe brought you to me so that I could do it right this time.

Somehow the universe brought you to me so I could start again with love.

These are two different conversations for the sake of this narrative but bear with me- I mean well- and also, the paths are many, but the path is wide.

I come back here to say something about where I go when I am not with you. There will be many things that you will never know,  maybe things I will never tell you. There will always be something we can share.

***********************************************

Now I must commit to the page so that I can commit to a week in June.

Have I mentioned my fear of commitment?

-::shudder::-

Open letter to my generation

To Whom it may concern/may it concern many:

Two important letters I have read in my life begin: I have written this letter five times and torn it up five times.

1. I have begun this letter five times and torn it up five times.  As with anything, trial and error have presented their predilection for shininess.

There is a gloss.

1. Life does not exist in a vacuum.

Begin with what you know.

1. You need to choose. This is a lie. You choose.

This is a lie that I tell myself daily.

1. I hope you feel you can talk to me.

This is a lie I tell others. TALK TO ME.

1. You really have to think about what you give to people

I can only give you this letter. It is unfair to think these lonely years have been in vain. Unfair to think the meaning of this life is lost on you. unfair to think that art initiates life in some cruel way.

2. I have begun this letter five times and torn it up five times. This is the beginning I choose.  I hope that you can talk to me about this life. this thing we are all here rehearsing together. Create the space and the story will be told. Create the space and your life will explode. Create the space.

When you were born a  nurse told your mother she would do a great job. When you were born a doctor smacked your ass and made you cry. Made you BREATHE.  You sucked your thumb, went to school, had friends, had a peanut butter sandwich, probably kept a journal, maybe broken a bone or a heart. hopefully have danced to a street band, smoked a cigarette and drank a beer. if you are lucky at all you have done these last three at the same time. You have a history. You have a history.

You have a history: someone has called you stupid, called you nigger or chocolate face. Called you bitch, whore, man-whore, spic, called you chink. Called you out and spit on you. You have a history. It’s OK cause it is yours.

Nobody has reminded you of your beauty. Nobody has reminded you of your humanity. Nobody has assured you, nobody has embraced you. Nobody has forgiven you because you don’t have no body. It hurts you to know you can’t even ispire hatred from an enemy.

You still cover your scars with Flintstone band aids and dress your wounds in dope and dirty martinis  because you liturgically have no where to hide in a nation so oversexed and intersexed and undersexed in the literal sense in their ideas of knowledge that Hell hath no fury like like you towards the seventh month of your dryspell.

You say you’re ugly, you’re not. You say your cash poor. This is true but try not to dwell on it. You say “fuck you, I’m leaving” when you really mean living. You say.

You’re mean, it’s true. It’s also true you are sad. It’s also true that sad is lovely. It’s also true that you are not bad. You are not bad. You are not bad. You have a history. You say the opposite.

I want you to remember that we are the movement. You have a history. We have a history. We are the movement that is happening at this time in the present and the progressive and the movement. We are a collective. We are the movement that we have been waiting for, we are the life’s breath.

When you were born the doctor slapped your ass to make you cry. To make you breathe. With that information remember how this letter began.

Begin,

LB