poetry and thought fragments collected, unsorted

choice – perception / decide – definition

 

The windows slid open as the breeze’s comfort quickened. Phantom pains of sun rays pacing in translation.

transitory states, elusive and resistant in a blank face.

when the leaves turn ragged and rigid, they defy their make. I run my fingers in them, through this open window.

Because I never bothered giving it a screen.

 

!

the fire that I start is the one i let kill me.

i inhale its toxicity because it is mine, and mine alone.

you know where these hands have been.

that’s enough.

i run straight for things, rarely away.

the bend cannot crush you, nor can it pull you in if…

if.

that’s why my goddamn smile looks like that.

back to writing what cannot be found like anything can.

Not very

Before being allowed to leave her shift, they took her to a dark room wherein stood a table and two dusty chairs. No windows or other doors.

She faced the chairs, stoic. The man and woman entered. Sitting down, not worried about dust on their clothes, they matched expressions.

Three children entered carrying trays with organs on them. All parts of a human. She made eye contact with one. He was alive inside, barely.

They placed the organs on the table and left. She didn’t flinch; so this is how it would be. They said the usual, “You know why you’re here.”

“You’re going to need to pick one,” they commanded. She was already bored. If you’re going to impose fear, try something new.

They met her stare for minutes. No one spoke. She heard it perfectly. Then she kicked the leg of the table flat.

The organs pummeled the man and the woman, covering them in fresh blood. They stood up in shock. They were tied together.

It seems all the pieces were connected with a single, impenetrable thread and the two were trapped in this gory mess they forced upon her.

If there was a time to break face, this would have been it. But she didn’t react. She turned to walk, then stopped.

“You’re only as good as what you come for. That’s why the coercion is on you,” she said. “Forward my paycheck to my Next of Kin.”

 

~~writing this beautiful thing again. For you.~~where is the where things strike the same place twice.

 

In formation

closer. still.

isn’t everything.

worth fighting for.

nothing more than that.

hushes don’t get quiet.

they get louder.

until

every frame shudders

breaking the insignificant film we close ourselves by.

that’s what is truly deafening.

we can hear it.

we are it.

 

yea, that’s the voice.

Every invisible decibel, an annihilation.

fingerless hands scratching on the absence of a chalkboard. the reverse of all sanity.

breathing new meaning in the nominal shift of a verb: unheard.

 

Inspired by Isis

all.

none.

no one.

words.

the things that are not me.

yet define me anyway.

you can’t really scream into this box that will make the only reason to scream go away.

it is absence.

and the second you scream here, you’ve broken it.

but not enough.

it is never broken enough to fit fully into your hands.

but you grip tight anyway.

fighting for and against the only thing you need.

fighting with the only thing you have.

words.

nothing.

and you know you can’t get nothing with absence.

so you let go.

the scream will just sit between your lips.

it isn’t even a scream.

it doesn’t exist.

that’s why it is there.

 

“When you forget, nothing hurts.”

Nothing is everything to me.

Its power of absence surges in my windpipe, takes my air, wells my eyes, destroys all want of feeling.

Tears of never.

Love asunder.

Right where I want to be.

Exactly not what I need.

We are just creatures destroying ourselves.

That’s why he loves me.

All that is pointless of course. You don’t even read me. That, we made too.

I love it because it is impossible to identify. That’s the only way I know it’s there.

I’ve never been more conscious of my conscience. It’s exhilarating and defiant.

 

The scream trapped on the lips is back. Taste like volcanic ash that never found air.

Realm collision.

“Much of this. Just say to say.”

“00:10”

It was the chaos in your eyes that got me.

Double meaning: “@ArabProverbs: Watching what you say is your best friend.”

The futility of despair.

Awaiting collapse. How badly I

want it.

 

When I think the ache of loss will swallow me, I unbite my tongue. Whispering treachery into the darkness, bidding the sulfuric bite of glow. Your tinge sears my shoulder in the touch that never prints. Ink cartridges empty by evaporation. We the same: unused, discarded, adored.

 

Accidental Poem

Before the ocean, the willow tree.

Before the willow tree, the yucca’s counterpart.

Before the yucca knew friendship, the paved highway that fought itself with mirage under the sun.

Water only glistens like that when it isn’t really there. I drove like hell right over it.

But not before I stopped, and took a picture. Holding hands with my nothing.

It was that absence when you rode subways, seeking the way best meant to capture sound.

Having listened to the wind all day, I placed my ear to the waves.

And then there was song.

 

There are parts of a person that cannot be stolen. That is why they incarcerate us blind. They’ll take everything else in their futile power. Maybe they should have considered that before they tried to regulate us in language. Here we are speaking around hegemony. In our own words.

 

You are somewhere here.

I speak with you.

Hello.

Remember that space.

My only hope is that when this all hits, all that we said, what you saw, is how things are.

My every step is me being that.

That is all that matters.

I promised I’d show you.

And I’ll die trying.

Because I love you.

Because love is always where we are going.

You dared in the night. I dared without sleep. We are making this.

Do not, whatever you do, forget.

You are some where here.

 

These words exist in the senses. They tell the tale of all that’s hidden underneath. They are graceful void. They layer you when I cannot. They narrate the beginning in all those todays. They draw me: line by line. They’re the me you drew with sticks in the sand.

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when your light is dark green

I ain’t sitting on this shelf anymore

no longer the text that weighs heavy in your arms.

Jumped this bitch—dove through pages like wind

took it all like nothing

“Oh she knows what sacrifice looks like.”

Try taste like.

There were nights, working like clinicians.

clicknicians.

Shields come in threes—

Voices bent on ignition:

Careful lips  *  hell-bent tongues

And a whole lotta

“You can’t see son, we done fuckin run!”

These nights are ours;

Your pretty little dysfunctions

We cracked it – like glass

hammers pinging blue.

Houses stopped creaking with age

When we coming down your street,

They groan in frightful delight.

“Midnight is nothing, honey. Go to bed. You’re talking in your sleep.”

Oh, did we make it rhyme

Like ticks electrocuting your clocks

sticking

stopping

letters goddamn dropping from the ground.

I told you once, twice—things fall up,

not down.

It’s okay.

It’s all okay.

Grab your lantern and your flask.

The moments you give up chasing, you’ll lose

the traces where the trees meet grass

long-stalked and wild.

A Philosophy of Ethos

For my last assignment in what may possibly be my last stint at grad school before I drop out, I was asked to write a tutoring philosophy. Leaving college means no longer tutoring or teaching in academia. However, these words will ring true with me until I see, think, and feel otherwise. Every part of my being, in this moment, backs what I say here. I feel that it’s very important to be completely biased right now.

My Tutoring Philosophy

Statement of Purpose:

            Of all the composition and writing center theory we have read this quarter, I am most influenced by Harry Denny. His thoughts and words are embedded with my own now. Denny sets up the primary and recursive frame in which I think through all that is dear to me in my contribution to this field:

At its core, face is about identity and raises questions about who we are, and how we come to know and present identity, as a phenomenon that’s unified, coherent, and captured in a singular essence, or as something more multi-faceted and dynamic. While on one level, I want us to think about face vis-á-vis writing centers; I also want us to be aware of margins and center; to think of the ways of privileging, to explore the dynamics of ordinary caste. Put simply, as much as I hope for us to grapple with the identities that circulate through writing centers and tutoring, I also want us to think about the transparency of identity, where bodies and affects seem to exist and perform beyond or post identity, where they seem the “same” or “other.” (2-3)

The frame I shall use is identity. These two sections will be my tutoring ethos. I am hoping to establish my identity as a writer, a tutor, and a student. My ethos reflects the way I see myself in relation to others in an attempt to get at our heterogeneous homogeneity. There is a reason rhetoric and composition are paired together, and a reason the fluidity is interdependent. With a little cognitive eye-work, I hope you see how I put them both together to see the light of my day.

Experience:

            My history with tutoring, when looking back through it, has been an experience with serendipity. I connect it to my lifetime relationship with language and writing. I have been writing since a very young age. My mother recalled my coming home from my first day of kindergarten where I stood in front of her, deadpan, and recited the alphabet backwards. I have always loved letters, words, and the use of both. I began writing poetry at five, plays about my brother and baseball at six. For a class project in sixth grade, I wrote a half-hour long play on Greek mythology that the whole class performed. I remember looking up at the stars at age nine, telling myself that I would be a writer my whole life.

Somewhere along time, I forgot that statement.

I fought with myself over being an English major in my first years of college. Failing English 101 three times before finally passing it stuck. I had asked my last 101 professor why I was failing; the answer was simple: “You don’t know grammar.” So I sat down with Hacker and I taught myself grammar. By the time I reached English 104, Critical Thinking, along with the Honors supplement, my entrance into the field was complete. The English department at my community college asked me to tutor in their writing center. I took the class. Then I walked away.

I was pregnant with my son. I needed to pay my bills and support him. Transitioning into a full-time position in the medical field seemed the better economic choice. I spent four years at a desk reading novels during breaks and writing poetry on night shifts under the dark, green lights of the emergency room. Nurses hired me to tutor their children because I seemed to articulate myself so well. One day I looked up our university’s English department website; I stumbled upon the classes. My promise to myself, recalled.

There is an essay about my decision to leave the security of the medical field. It is a devolution of my disdain for the false sense of reliance on hegemony, patriarchy, and capitalism. Going back to who I am was no easy decision—it still isn’t. But it is the right one.

I have written here several times in my Blackboard posts of my experience working in the writing center. The last few years there has given me so much solace in way of my purpose in life. Tutoring and writing are interchangeable and relational. They are at the heart of how I think about the world. I have failed many times in my sessions and conferences. I have given bad advice. I have helped too much. I have helped not enough. Yet, I have always learned with them what it is we are doing. Last year, when I began giving workshops on writing, it all hit me. I just want to work with students.

Theory and Praxis:

I carry with me an invaluable source of enthusiasm when I begin my day. The large portion of this enthusiasm comes directly from my desire to work with students. My mentor once told me this—that my main contribution to my field is that I genuinely care who my students are, and want to show them ways to continue to define their identities. Having never fully realized this myself, I saw much truth in her statement. This, she believes, is how I have been able to fashion a clear middle ground between the very real problematic of theory and praxis. The ground is caring.

What does it mean to care for students, care who they are? In the classroom, this means looking forward to moments where I learn who they are. I initiate this journey by taking them up in conversation about their lives. These seemingly banal conversations tell me that students are people with knowledge and life experiences that make up their identities. Both of those are crucial in every classroom. In the writing center, this means that I engage my fellow students in similar discussions. I seek to get to know them. This means looking at the person sitting beside me (I always employ a relational position to my fellow students in a conference, so as to ensure there is no physical space between us.). It also means looking at the person they construct in their work.

Rhetoric teaches me that we are very much in the words we create. As I approach every text a student writes, I look very closely at the lexical and syntactical formation of their identities. I attend to their use of point-of-view, which tells me how they envision themselves in their voice, and whether they are aware of the limitations granted or non-required in their professor’s prompts (to academic-first-person, or not?). We discuss their interpretation of their assignment and their texts. I ask them what they want from the work they are doing. Because I believe identity is both at the forefront and the center of every text we compose, I ask questions that look at that. What does that mean?

Identity politics is a very serious and political endeavor in the academic institution. Every student at a university is forced to question who they are in everything they read and write for every class. Here is where I throw in my own politics because I am an identity, and this philosophy is mine. I’m going to own it. My philosophy solely focuses on solidarity. I am a tutor, but I am also a student. I am a teacher, but I am still a student. It does not matter what role I occupy; I am always learning from the interactions I have with people. Looking beyond labels, roles, and hierarchies lets me see what happens when we enter into discourse with each other: meaning-making. Our languages give us ways to communicate. Our views of each other denote the words we use. With rhetorical awareness of what it means to do both—what doing both makes—we participate in moving discourse in very powerful, meaningful ways. This is my belief at this time. Every conference, session, lecture, discussion, or mode of praxis is a moment to share discussion on who we are in the work that we do. Because, at the end of each day, we are all humans struggling to figure out our identities in this world. It will take considerable ethics and awareness to use language that resists imposition and linguistic violence; and, instead, opens spaces for new articulations of identity that places agency and human rights front and center. The center is a perfect space to do this work.

Collaboration? Global Warming? Writing Center? Shakespeare?

Hello everyone! Here is a BB post written by a peer; I value her insight and depth of thinking. She wrote this from a discussion her and I had. She has since referred to me as (A). Enjoy her discourse-making…

As stated in class, I can support the idea of every interaction or lack of interaction being a form of collaboration. Collaboration is a far reaching and all-encompassing idea. Here is the reservation that I have with arguments that pose that every interaction (or lack thereof) should not necessarily be classified as collaborative and I will use global warming as my lens:

Often we hear that we share the earth and that we are all responsible for protecting it. We say that automotive exhaust in China is melting the polar ice cap and that we can buy carbon credits to offset our own usage. We say that we must be globally-conscious and reduce, reuse, and recycle. We say that damage done today may not be repairable tomorrow. We say that damage done today may be repairable tomorrow, if we act right now. We say that sewage washed into the ocean from storms in California can end up on the shores of Chile. We “say” all of these things and we “hear” all of these things. So, the bottom line is that how we live, have lived, and will (not) live and how we use our resources now and how we have used them in the past and how we use them in the future are all interconnected. We think about it, we talk about, and we are all (every single human being on the planet) engaged in the use of some degree of global resource(s).So, on one level or another – even if we are not engaged in a direct conversation about the topic with someone at a particularly given point in time- we are engaged in a larger conversation about the common goal of the quality of the future of the survival of our species… either by omission or commission.

So, the question was posed, “If everything is collaborative, why have the word?” The answer to that question is”degrees.” We have varying degrees of collaboration. We have a person (or group of people) in a position of power interacting and reacting to a subordinate group or person to achieve a mutually beneficial goal. We have equal parties doing the same thing. We have people working against one another wherein the shared goal is the advancement of self at the expense of the other.We have people who may, for all intensive purposes, be ignorant of the existence of one another and yet they too share the purpose of advancement of self either at the expense of another or without thought of another and so on.

The point I am trying to make is that we cannot say we are all connected and responsible for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren, etc. when it is convenient only to change our position when it does not suit our argument. If we are all responsible to one degree or another for the survival of our race and we are all connected by virtue of sharing a planet and we are all in constant dialogue by the very act of living  – then the energy that is transmitted through exchanges cannot be destroyed – it merely changes form (Rudolf Clausius – FirstLaw of Thermodynamics). In this case, I am suggesting that energy is changing form from a discussion on global warming to an experience in a Writing Center. This same energy can change form again to a discussion on Shakespeare.

In essence, the energy of every conversation held with/by/about Shakespeare through quill, pen, stage, or time is still floating about in the collective collaborative consciousness of mankind and it continues to influence both those who have and those who have not heard of him. Likewise, the residual energy of the collaborative tutoring session that lasted thirty minutes and just “ended” may be the source for the spark of genius and/or invention that causes a new revolution of human thought/existence so by extension and default the collaboration continues on long after the physical manifestation of the session has ceased. As a result, mankind is always collaborating with itself individually and collectively and continually and the window of existence is always shifting (Joe Overton – The Overton Window) and the energy is ever present to varying degrees.

In nutshell, I am posing that when Person (A) collaborates with Person (B) and  when, later on, Person (B) collaborates with Person (C) by extension and default Person (A) is also a part of the collaborative equation between (B) and (C) because of theinfluence the first exchange between  (A) and (B) had on  (B).

~Kelly

Twitter is like Tutoring?!: Discourse-Making is Just a #Hashtag Away

Sitting down to write this essay without having any specific direction, just inspiration, I realize how connected I am to the discourses in my life: books are strewn around me; piles of papers and pdfs with my annotated scratchings looking up at me; headphones are in my ears lulling me into a dubstep process; and my phone lights up with a blue Twitter ping. Never in my life have I been more aware of my being wetwared. What does this mean to the purpose of this essay? For me, it means everything. Technology builds and bridges me to all of my discourse communities. Without any one of those in my writing process equation, I would have trouble writing. Without writing, I wouldn’t be able to share my translations of the world with the world.

Etienne Wegner says, “The importance of our various communities of practice can thus be manifested in two ways: their ability to give rise to an experience of meaningfulness; and, conversely, to hold us hostage to that experience” (84). Twitter is the practice of writing. As a social network, it connects people rhizomatically through the “interwebz.” Twitter is where discourse meets rhetoric—where we take what is said, and speak back to each other. Thus, I beg the first question: how is twitter a meaningful experience?

Connection makes meaning. Here I lead us into the realm of Twitter, to hashtags, and to the @ symbol. Bear with me, we are discourse-making.

I shall start by putting my bias down on the page. I have a preference for Twitter; it is my one and only form of social media. The reasons are because of their privacy policy (https://twitter.com/privacy) and their explicit refusal to turn over an occupier’s account

information (https://mashable.com/2012/05/08/twitter-stands-up-court-order/). But something entirely more discursive is at play in Twitter: the #.

The # is a semiotic representation of discourse; it symbolizes hypertextual conversation across the entirety of the site. Where’s Roland Barthes? Oh, here he is: “Of course, it is not any type: language needs special conditions in order to become myth: we shall see them in a minute. But what must be firmly established at the start is that myth is a system of communication, that it is a message. This allows one to perceive it as a mode of signification, a form” (109). Because # operates via semiotics, it establishes a sense of mythic discourse within Twitter—a rhyzomatic “system of communication”, or “mode”, that users can access at any point. The # is just a click or press away.

What does that mean for the @? In Twitter, the @ is the mark of identity. But not the kind we have out here in the “real world.” The @ is unidentity. The name attached to an @ is interchangeable. One can be who they are, or not. One can pick a gender or abstain. One can be an animal, a thing, a notion, a brand, a company, literally anything. There is no limit to the identity of @. The @ is free to be however the @ wants to be. The inability to appropriate a fixed identity on @ makes it a liberating projection of self. And if we connect that to the discourse of #, we have a completely radical notion of discourse.

To get there, we have to get social, absolutely social. Barthes, if you please,

Speech of this kind is a message. It is therefore by no means confined to oral speech. It can consist of modes of writing or of representations; not only written discourse, but also photography, cinema, reporting, sport, shows, publicity, all these can serve as a support to mythical speech…Mythical speech is made of a material which has already been worked on so as to make it suitable for communication: it is because all the materials of myth (whether pictorial or written) presuppose a signifying consciousness, that one can reason about them while discounting their substance. (110)

Silence makes up the auditory relationships within Twitter, yet sound is bypassed in favor of touch. I often struggle to reason with technological determinists[1] about the ability for us to reach one another in the Internet. But touch is a real occurrence in “cyber”space.

Barthes argues that mythic speech takes on a materiality. This means that it is tangible; we can physically interact with it. For those of us with touchscreens and smartphones, we know what pressing a finger to text feels like. The #s in Twitter work off of this sense of touch. An @ moves through discourse via click or press of the #. Thus, people unite through connection. We are able to see the entire history of a conversation of each # the moment we press it—an invisible aspect of the hyperlink exists. This is horizontal representation of interaction. Any @ can access a # at any time. There is no limit. (of course Twitter [K1] has been known to delete hashtags before, especially subversive protest hashtags connected with Occupy Wall Street.) When one clicks a #, one participates in “signifying consciousness.” I refer to this as meaning-making. And, here we are, making it every time we touch.

The symbolic act of reaching, if mythologized, can turn on us in Twitter, for nothing is sacred. Barthes continues,

Motivation is necessary to the very duplicity of myth: myth plays on the analogy between meaning and form, there is no myth without motivated form. In order to grasp the power of motivation in myth, it is enough to reflect for a moment on an extreme case…But what the form can always give one to read is disorder itself: it can give a signification to the absurd, make the absurd itself a myth. This is what happens when commonsense mythifies surrealism, for instance. (127)

All connection depends upon motivation, whether it is twitter or any other discourse maker. Many say that connection via technology is a myth, but here, with Barthes, we see that motivation can drive “the analogy between meaning and form.” Meaning is inherent to connection; they are unable to be separated. Conveyance and connection are interdependent. Knowing this, and going into twitter, the disorder is less chaotic, and reveals the various forms of the absurd.

Discursive play. @s # to establish a space for open connection, the # offering a rupture in all language that existed prior to it. The # can be a repeat hashtag, reopening a discourse that had been left silent for an indefinite amount of time. Or, it can start a conversation new. Jumping into the #, another @ connects to this rupture, breaching a path to making connection. This is sight. Sharing a # is seeing one another through language, saying “I understand you” or “I have something to say about this too.” Meaning-making. And all is fair game with #. More often than not, the # goes awry; it becomes absurd.

Take yesterday, for example. My twitter self, @tumblesweed, began a discursive rupture: #psychosisdanceparty. Several @s joined in on the dance, and we danced. Some linked songs, others hashtagged moves like #hokeypokey, #laughsandlineolum, #getdownonit, #funkychickendance, #funkyrubberchickendance, and #robot. Though not an actual dance shared on a floor together, there we were: making verbal dance move. The songs were nice too. You see, twitter lets anything happen. It need not have a point or an outcome—at least not when a # starts. But sometimes, some @ dares to #, and a whole new language begins. And that language brings many, many people together. It all depends upon who the @ decides to be, and what # they dare to speak.

Works Cited

Barthes, Roland. “Myth Today.” Mythologies. HarperCollins: New York, 1972. Print. (109-59).


[1] Scholar Nancy Baym’s discussion that technology imposes control over our identities, allowing us no means in which to utilize it; rather, technology determines our ability to relate to one another. As a direct opposition, the theory of  social shaping of technology discusses our interdependent relationship with our hardware, thus making us “wetwared.”


– The @ must # comes from a conversation I shared once over this: http://i.imgur.com/pVYjD.jpg