Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Poetry Wednesday

The Wreck 

I named the brown-small ghost of my childhood love
after a flower, a matted stray and
I would have married this, pulled from my
pockets the soft baleen,
drawn across the edge of things to the hoary limit
where we gather ourselves to gather
(debris and the sight of things)

Pinioned by the mast you look
like a child, and your hair
is curlier than I have ever seen it.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd something not-mine that I love:

Red Cloth
by Jean Valentine

Red cloth 
I lie on the ground 
otherwise nothing could hold 

I put my hand on the ground 
the membrane is gone 
and nothing does hold 

your place in the ground 
is all of it 
and it is breathing

Monday, March 11, 2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Eleven Years Later

Last week Annie McClanahan came to the UofR to give her a talk based on her current book project, "Dead Pledges: Debt, Crisis, and Twenty-First Century Culture”, which, according to her website, “explores how cultural texts have been compelled to account for the expansion and collapse of a financialized credit economy.” Analyzing foreclosure photos and horror films like Drag Me to Hell (2009) and Dream Home (2010)—both which center on the housing market--

Normally, deciding whether or not I want to hear a talk is simple, depending exclusively on my interest and availability. Other factors were at play for me with this particular talk, however. Having experienced foreclosure at twelve years old, it’s hard to imagine anyone explaining or intellectualizing that which, for me, will always be duly ineradicable and impossible. And mine.

McClanahan gave an excellent talk and, I think, an important one. But I’m full of anger when I think about photographs of my old home enlarged and projected for the scrutiny of graduate students and educators. There were moments in the talk when McClanahan quickly showed stills from Dream Home, apologizing for their gruesomeness before moving onto a more pleasant picture. But she lingered over the photographs of gutted and vandalized interior spaces, remarking during the question and answer session that those responsible for the damage must have been “incredibly angry” about their eviction to have acted so destructively.

For me, the foreclosure photographs were infinitely more traumatic than those film stills of spilled intestines and blood-spattered floors. In fact, they might be quite similar, showing, as they do, different forms of absolute carnage. I’m not sure someone who hasn’t experienced the incredible anger of foreclosure can experience its photographs as truly traumatic—and experience their anger again as a result.

It’s strange to be reminded of the ways in which my past will reappear and challenge me in my academic life.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Poetry Wednesday

White and Other Things

Snow makes its minimal monument:
The shape of what was done to me, but not its color
(remains, still) Recognizable
to me, underneath
an impermanent pigment
that will alter as it rests/
weighs upon and wets
//corrosive, I point and
point again
to the blooming salt crystals.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd something not-mine that I love:

by Pablo Neruda

Everything on the earth bristled, the bramble
pricked and the green thread
nibbled away, the petal fell, falling
until the only flower was the falling itself.
Water is another matter,
has no direction but its own bright grace,
runs through all imaginable colors,
takes limpid lessons
from stone,
and in those functionings plays out
the unrealized ambitions of the foam.