"To him, her nails seemed honest somehow, like hot summers in Baltimore, where he and his cousins chased loud girls with huge earrings, fast ones who hid their sweet underneath layers of salt and sour, but who were oh-so-quiet when the time came. These girls spent their days strutting around like peacocks, with wildly streaked hair that matched their brightly colored talons, girls whose voices hit him low like a song, soft in some places, jarring in others, but deep and dark all the while. He could tell Alicia was like those girls, armor-plated on the outside, but all sugar underneath."
More Than This by Tracey Rose Peyton - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
Image by Toyin Odutola, "An Undoing," (2014). In collaboration with PBS Digital Studios.
I’m not sure if I believe in poetry as healing
so much as I believe in
as chicken necks, poetry as red meat,
poetry as fishing lures
baiting you out of me.
"Poetry As Healing" Trista Mateer
I had two desires: desire
to be safe and desire to feel.
Louise Gluck, ”Aubade” from Vita Nova
[BIG AND LITTLE SAME]
The first time I met my father I believed I would understand
the line connecting me to him because a man rooted to his kin
can never be a slave. But he was like the road, skid marked
and distant, like the rain breaking above ground and beating into it.
Terrance Hayes, Arbor for Butch
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
– Those dying generations – at their song,
The salmon‐falls, the mackerel‐crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing‐masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
Sailing to Byzantium, William Yeats
Columbia student will carry her mattress until her rapist exits school
September 2, 2014
While most students at Columbia University will spend the first day of classes carrying backpacks and books, Emma Sulkowicz will start her semester on Tuesday with a far heavier burden. The senior plans on carrying an extra-long, twin-size mattress across the quad and through each New York City building – to every class, every day – until the man she says raped her moves off campus.
“I was raped in my own bed,” Sulkowicz told me the other day, as she was gearing up to head back to school in this, the year American colleges are finally, supposedly, ready to do something about sexual assault. “I could have taken my pillow, but I want people to see how it weighs down a person to be ignored by the school administration and harassed by police.”
Sulkowicz is one of three women who made complaints to Columbia against the same fellow senior, who was found “not responsible” in all three cases. She also filed a police report, but Sulkowicz was treated abysmally – by the cops, and by a Columbia disciplinary panel so uneducated about the scourge of campus violence that one panelist asked how it was possible to be anally raped without lubrication.
So Sulkowicz joined a federal complaint in April over Columbia’s mishandling of sexual misconduct cases, and she will hoist that mattress on her shoulders as part savvy activism, part performance art. “The administration can end the piece, by expelling him,” she says, “or he can, by leaving campus.”
As painful as I know the constant reminder of attending school with her rapist must be, I’m glad she won’t be the only one forced to remember. I hope the rapist drops out immediately…or better yet, I hope he faces the justice he deserves.
It was a time
governed by contradictions, as in
I felt nothing and
I was afraid.
Louise Gluck, “Landscape”
Labour freed from exploitation becomes, under socialism, the source of all spiritual (and aesthetic) creativity. Marx and Engels point out that only given true economic, political, and spiritual freedom can man’s creative powers develop to the full and that only proletarian revolution offers unbounded opportunities of endless progress in the development of literature. The great historical mission of the proletariat consists in the communist rebuilding of the world. It was in the proletariat that Marx and Engels saw the social force which could change the world and provide for further progress not only in economics and politics, but also in culture, the force which would bring about the conditions required for the full realisation of mankind’s higher moral and aesthetic values.
Agency has become a catch word. In a way, this intoxication with ‘agency’ is the product of liberal individualism. The ability of individuals to fashion themselves, to change their live, is given ideological priority over the relation within which they themselves are actually formed, situated, and sustained.
We are habits, nothing but habits – the habit of saying ‘I’. Perhaps there is no more striking answer to the problem of the Self.
Many of us cannot help looking because of what Susan Sontag has called “the perennial seductiveness of war.” It is a kind of rubbernecking, staring at the bloody aftermath of something that is not an act of God but of man. The effect, as Ms. Sontag pointed out in an essay in The New Yorker in 2002, is anything but certain.
“Making suffering loom larger, by globalizing it, may spur people to feel they ought to ‘care’ more,” she wrote. “It also invites them to feel that the sufferings and misfortunes are too vast, too irrevocable, too epic to be much changed by any local, political intervention.”
So now that war comes to us in real time, do we feel helpless or empowered? Do we care more, or will the ubiquity of images and information desensitize us to the point where human suffering loses meaning when it is part of a scroll that includes a video of your niece twerking? Oh, we say as our index finger navigates to the next item, another one of those.
As war becomes a more remote, mechanized activity, posts and images from the target area have significant value. When a trigger gets pulled or bombs explode, real people are often on the wrong end of it. And bearing witness to the consequences gives meaning to what we see.
Relations of power are not in themselves forms of repression. But what happens is that, in society, in most societies, organizations are created to freeze the relations of power, hold those relations in a state of asymmetry, so that a certain number of persons get an advantage, socially, economically, politically, institutionally, etc. And this totally freezes the situation. That’s what one calls power in the strict sense of the term: it’s a specific type of power relation that has been institutionalized, frozen, immobilized, to the profit of some and to the detriment of others.
Michel Foucault, “An Interview With Michel Foucault Conducted by Michael Bess”