I walk by this place every morning on the way to yoga school, and four out of five days there’s a middle-aged woman in the doorway, smoking. She always greets, me, “Hey, Sugar,” and I’m so happy. I think she works there, because I see here in the evening sometimes.
Dreams of an unsubtle, obvious direct body. This summer as a summer in Beijing or Singapore.
Stupid dreams of having the same conversations with X, who I don’t even really know. Also, “It is normal for everyone’s anatomy to be quite different.” “Where should I feel it?” “Where do you feel it?”
X wrote me an email full of tender but unasked for advice.
I lived in Chattanooga, except that Chattanooga was a cliff-dwelling community and also like LA. I rode in the passenger seat of a white moving van with a poet friend as we swerved around curves. A long conversation in someone’s home about bookshelves—how to build them and arrange them, comparing other people’s bookshelves and then competitive conversations about the relative happiness of bookshelves and home spaces. Later I walked out to cliffs where birds in cages boarded. It was a safe but precarious place. Although I walked through, it was “closed,” so I wasn’t supposed to pick up Lester. He was there, healthy and happy, but in too small a cage, so I put him under my shirt and took him home.
In bed with someone I knew, though I don’t now remember who they were. I woke up, and they were there, looking amorous, so I said “please go away or go to sleep.” I got out of bed and there was a long packing sequence; I worried about excess luggage because the plane was one of those small propeller planes I few on in PNG and the Solomon Islands. This dream had a long water sequence, which is typical of my dreams. I revisit certain dream lagoons, oceans, lakes and rivers on a regular basis. This one was a particular lagoon—the water is warm and tropical but not clear, and there’s an island. On the northeast side of the island is a surf break and a colony of sharks. Just as someone was about to be eaten, they escaped. But then a man was murdered in a campy but really disgusting horror movie sequence. The murderer had a sport fishing boat and caught the victim—a man—with a huge sport hook. The murdered victim was then somehow vacuumed out and put in a small, plastic barrel.
Cut to a sequence with my friend M. We were in a road race running along pathways next to canals, and eventually we got on a boat. M and I got in his car and he drove/flew it into a house.
Here’s a bad-ass Durga from sometime in the middle of last-week.
Today I sat in the park and strung a new set of mala beads in the sun. In the playground behind me, a little girl screamed at her mother for a solid forty minutes: “Mama, I need you.” “Mama, I hate you.” I’m using a combination of red and yellow jasper beads with yellow thread. Thread the bead and chant “om shreem,” tie a knot and chant “om shreem.” Of course, I kept fucking it up. My mind would drift off and I’d be delivering a comeback or speech to someone who wasn’t there and so would tie the knots too loose or too far apart.
A woman in my yoga teacher training program attended a mala workshop on Friday. I didn’t go, but she gave me information about where to find the woman who led the workshop. I’m skeptical of ritual but also interested in it, so yesterday I went to Tibet Imports on 8th avenue to visit Sarita Shrestha and buy beads to make a mala. I’ve used prayer beads since I was in high school. My mother gave me my first mala, a very beautiful Baha’i set made from antique Chinese glass beads. On my first trip to Beijing in 1994 I bought a yak bone mala—each bead is hand-carved into a tiny skull. I’m disturbed that my 15-year-old self was so drawn to it. I remember the man in the shop wanted to sell me a jade bracelet, and I kept on saying in my bad Chinese that I wanted the mala, and he kept responding, in English, “not for you!” I did buy it, and it’s the mala that I’ve used for my intermittent mantra practice ever since.
Bone malas are meant to remind us of impermanence and death—the very things I’ve been meditating on this week. All fear is fear of death, etc. But recently I’ve been trying to cultivate more sweetness, and since I’m attempting to establish a meditation practice, a new mala seemed like a good idea.
At Tibet Imports, Sarita Shrestha asked me a few questions about my life and then did a quick Vedic astrological analysis. I know almost nothing about Vedic Astrology, but she said that I was in the midst of a difficult transition (“look, see, Jupiter is all over your chart!”) but that also I was about to enter into a period of travel and communication (“you are going to do a lot of talking and be very shiny—look at the sun here, here and here”). She suggested that red and yellow beds would be best, to emphasize the sun and the manipura, or solar plexus chakra. This felt right to me, since the manipura is associated with transformation—both the literal transformation of digestion as well as spiritual transformation. And also my favorite color in high school was yellow.
I’m thinking about the upcoming reading with Carrie Lorig and Joe Hall in the new Agitprop space, which may or may not be called Agitprop, and also thinking about a conversation that David White & I had a few months ago about art spaces and museums and how clusters of smaller, multi-use spaces might be (to us) more interesting than a larger, space. And less expensive, of course.
And I’m thinking about how SFMOMA is closing for expansion and the Grupa O.K. proposal for a museum series on the Open Space blog and the recent post from Byron Peters, Matt Post and Xiaoyu Weng based on a conversation responding to the whole series.
This, especially, from the end of the post:
We would, by contrast, pose the possibility that “expansion” might take a different form entirely. If, as Terry Smith offered in “You can be a Museum, or Contemporary…”, “the remodernist modern/contemporary museum continues to serve contemporary artists by steadfastly demonstrating the look of somewhere not to be,” perhaps the goal might simply be to redistribute the museum’s immense energies somewhere else. This could, in the very least, amount to an increased advocacy for spaces for art free of gift shops, of art-as-tourism, or comprised of something other than dizzying storage facilities for privately-owned value. In other words, with the museum as an expanding frame of reference, we might look to an imaginative demand as sort of counter rhythm, an equal and opposite force to ‘productive’ expansion in general. As Marcus evinced, and we agree, “to resist the encroachment of capital in the present climate, therefore, means harnessing the museum’s resources against the logic of productivity, elevating time-insensitive activities above the “proper” (i.e., productive) use of space.”
What is to be done? We will make two modest proposals, which might begin to undo the logic of privatization we describe above, and to hold the museum to the promise of its public relations. First, the museum should abolish fees outright for admission and membership, as, for example,the Dallas Museum of Art has already done, and expanding SFMOMA’s Art for All proposal to the entire institution.
And second, the museum should make permanent its temporary program during closure, of off-site projects and support for community partners—and indeed should extend its resources, expertise, and collection further to otherwise underserved and sorely underfunded arts institutions in the Bay Area. Enacting these proposals would begin to realize a “community ownership of cultural riches” that will otherwise remain a convenient rhetorical pose. This would be an expansion worth embracing.
“The necessity for this book is to be found in the following consideration: that the lover’s discourse is today of an extreme solitude” (1)
Roland Barthes writes this in 1977, but it sounds like a description of every song by every troubadour ever. One lover must be absent for lover’s discourse to happen. Traditionally, you don’t chant a chanson as long as your Lady is present and loves you. You only write post-breakup, after she has forsaken you and you are an economically disenfranchised knight.
“Once a discourse is thus driven by its own momentum into the backwater of the ‘unreal,’ exiled from all gregarity, it has no recourse but to become the site, however exiguous, of an affirmation” (1).
So the lover’s discourse is a place where declare and propose the truth of something.
“…instead, a structural one [portrait] which offers the reader a discursive site: the site of someone speaking within himself, amorously, confronting the other (the loved object), who does not speak” (3).
10 years later, R Howard Bloch publishes “Medieval Misogyny,” and then eventual a book, which I read in 2003 or 2004 as part of a class on Medieval Women with Kelley Wickham-Crowley when I did my MA at Georgetown. I wrote a paper for her about the Lais of Marie de France, subjectivity and pain.
From the first Bloch’s article, with the subheading “Woman as Riot.”
“So persistent is the discourse of misogyny—from the earliest church fathers to Chaucer—that the uniformity of its terms furnishes an important link between the Middle Ages and the present and renders the topic compelling because such terms still govern (consciously or not) the ways in which the question of woman is conceived by women as well as by men. Misogyny is not so much a historical subject as one whose very lack of history is so bound in its effects that any attempt merely to trace the history of women-hating is hopelessly doomed, despite all moral imperative, to naturalize that which it would denounce (more on this later).”
Something about the juxtaposition of Rilke & the 19th century exploration of the Oxus river made sense when I was 22. This is from a box of papers I cleaned out while preparing to put most of my possessions in storage. Was I a romantic when I was 22?
Sosibos the Lakedaimonian, by way of proving that the fig-tree is a discovery of Dionysos, says that for that reason the Lakedaimonians even worship Dionysos Sykites (of the Fig). And the Naxians, according to Andriskos and again Aglaosthenes, record that Dionysos is called Meilikhios (Gentle) because he bestowed the fruit of the fig. For this reason, also, among the Naxians the face of the god called Dionysos Bakkheos is made of the vine, whereas that of Dionysos Meilikhios is of fig-wood. For, they say, figs are called meilikha (mild fruit).
Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 3. 78a (trans. Gullick) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to 3rd A.D.)
He was said to have discovered all tree-fruits, amongst which apples and figs are particularly mentioned; and he was referred to as “well-fruited,” “he of the green fruit,” and “making the fruit to grow.” One of his titles was “teeming” or “bursting” (as of sap or blossoms); and there was a Flowery Dionysus in Attica and at Patrae in Achaia. The Athenians sacrificed to him for the prosperity of the fruits of the land. Amongst the trees particularly sacred to him, in addition to the vine, was the pine-tree. The Delphic oracle commanded the Corinthians to worship a particular pine-tree “equally with the god,” so they made two images of Dionysus out of it, with red faces and gilt bodies. In art a wand, tipped with a pine-cone, is commonly carried by the god or his worshippers. Again, the ivy and the fig-tree were especially associated with him. In the Attic township of Acharnae there was a Dionysus Ivy; at Lacedaemon there was a Fig Dionysus; and in Naxos, where figs were called meilicha, there was a Dionysus Meilichios, the face of whose image was made of fig-wood.
Sir James George Frazer, The Golden Bough, Chapter 42
And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. (Isaiah 34:4)
And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. (Revelation 6:13)
How my body and the temperature do not match—a basic reminder of how even measurement is subjective and so being bewildered.
Not being able to do “regular” push ups continuously, but alternating between doing two on my knees and two not on my knees and so alternating between feeling impatient and empowered.
Alternating between sleeping on the couch and sleeping in the bed, sometimes serene and sometimes restless.
When San Diego looks tropical because of this plant or that plant. I am involved with Jasmine, especially.
Watching Lester scratch pin feathers from the top of his head, the ones he won’t let me scratch yet. When tenderness feels impossible, I look at Lester.
A floor with dust, feathers and smudges on it. It is not my floor, but I use it. Guilt that I am not cleaning the floor right now.