“Poverty is not fate, it is a condition; it is not a misfortune, it is an injustice. It is the result of social structures and mental and cultural categories, it is linked to the way in which society has been built, in its various manifestations.”— Gustavo Gutiérrez
for the someday list
an oral history collaboration between oakland cops and african american teenagers.
i was thinking
about adolescence and thought of the wilderness act:
“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”
could it be that young people, young men and women, deserve to be untrammeled by adults? by our narratives? our intentions? our assumptions?
by denis johnson via stephen elliott via marie howe
Whatever the foghorns are
the voices of feels terrible
tonight, just terrible, and here
by the window that looks out
on the waters but is blind, I
have been sleeping,
but I am awake now.
In the night I watch
how the little lights
of boats come out
to us and are lost again
in the fog wallowing on the sea:
it is as if in that absence not many
but a single light gestures
and diminishes like meaning
through speech, negligently
adance to the calling
of the foghorns like the one
note they lend from voice
to voice. And so does my life tremble,
and when I turn from the window
and from the sea’s grief, the room
fills with a dark
lushness and foliage nobody
will ever be plucked from,
and the feelings I have
must never be given speech.
Darkness, my name is Denis Johnson,
and I am almost ready to
confess it is not some awful
misunderstanding that has carried
me here, my arms full of the ghosts
of flowers, to kneel at your feet;
almost ready to see
how at each turning I chose
this way, this place and this verging
of ocean on earth with the horns claiming
I can keep on if only I step
where I cannot breathe. My coat
is leprosy and my dagger
is a lie; must I
shed them? Do I have
to end my life in order
to begin? Music, you are light.
Agony, you are only what tips
me from moment to moment, light
to light and word to word,
and I am here at the waters
because in this space between spaces
where nothing speaks,
I am what it says.
stephen elliott says in the daily rumpus: p.s. Marie mentioned this poem from The Incognito Lounge by Denis Johnson and I went and found the poem. Apparently Johnson wrote it while a fellow in Provincetown. So here you go. Isn’t it interesting how something so dark can bleed and breathe with so much life. Love love.
This weekend I saw the Nicholas Galanin's work at the current Frye exhibit, Your Feast Has Ended: Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes, Nicholas Galanin, and Nep Sidhu in Seattle. This piece, “Things are Looking Native, Native’s Looking Whiter,” was one of them. In the exhibit, he says this:
"… I [also] look at this piece in cultural terms—mainstream society often looks at Indigenous or Native American art through a romantic lens, not allowing a culture, like my Tlingit community, room for creative sovereign growth. "
And wondered: is this how we look at girls? So fetishized or romanticized or sexualized, that they have no room for sovereign expression?
Feminism is hearing your pain and your struggle in another woman’s voice and suddenly realizing there’s nothing wrong with you and nothing wrong with her, but something wrong with the world trying to make you think there is. Shelby Knox
— I am so grateful to Jamia Wilson for introducing me to Shelby Knox.
let me tell you one thing
Let me tell you one thing about why writers write: had I known the answer to any of these questions I would never have needed to write a novel. from Why I Write by Joan Didion
I’m thinking about the lyric essay; about writing a community narrative, and a personal narrative, and I’m reading this
I think my students might suspect me of seeing lyric essays everywhere, even where they are not. Some people report double vision; mine is polymorphic, as I am always on the lookout for different forms, stages, and types of writing within a single writer’s work. - Ann Lauterbach
So the gf met a guy in DC who works in public transit and she starts talking about putting summer lunches on commuter lines to make it easier for working parents, right. Because she has a one track mind: making sure kids have access to healthy food in the summer.
building a culture of empathy
We deeply need to invest energy into making our schools humanizing, especially in light of the trauma so many of our young people face. - Sarah Glasband, MetWest Teacher and Advisor