“hand me the Bulgarian umbrella, comrade” / I don’t remember my intentions for the future

 Ganesh Puja at Samadhi Center for Yoga in Denver, 8.15.13

Ganesh Puja at Samadhi Center for Yoga in Denver, 8.15.13

The beard was new nine years ago. It was new and my friend wanted to keep it a year, at least, and then a year later I was getting ready to go to Vancouver for the Positions Colloquium hosted by the Kootenay School of Writing. Kevin Davies and Jeff Derksen were among the people that read during my first year as a baby poet, and my first reading in Washington, DC was with Nancy Shaw. Seven years ago I was exhausted after a long yoga practice with Darren Rhodes, where I got into mayurasana for the first time and thought about my intentions for the future. I’ve practiced mayurasana less than ten times since but have read Kevin Davies’ Comp at least ten times, and whatever my intentions for the future, the following year I was urging friends to donate money to help produce a documentary on Alex the African grey parrot. This morning I order Life With Alex: A Memoir and anticipate crying when I watch it. When I watched the video of poets reading Craigslist posts on MacMillan USA’s YouTube channel via the Rumpus, I thought about art and capitalism and how I want all of my poems and books to exist in multiple, non-authoritative versions, which is not an effective marketing strategy. Videos of people reading from Craigslist are an entire genre now–maybe they have been for years. After watching the video, I worked on an essay about  wigs, manifest destiny, Papua New Guinea, Texas and fruit doves. I have pieces of this essay somewhere, and some are lost, which is what happens when you are disorganized and have multiple versions of everything. It’s the book project I will finish in my 60s–I have a few clear intentions about what I hope my life will be like then. There is an entire section on fruit doves. A section on my own internalized version of American exceptionalism. Four years ago: packing up an apartment by the beach and moving to a condo in San Diego, looking after a bunny named Truffaut who enjoyed hiding in packing boxes and lounging on the couch. I went to see the Heartless Bastards, bought their album Arrow and listened to it constantly while driving between Denver and San Diego over the next two years. “Every renunciation of instinct now becomes a dynamic source of conscience and every fresh renunciation increases the latter’s severity and intolerance.” I was sad and inconsolable three years ago and also self-critical about what I thought was my own severity and intolerance and what other people told me was my own cruelty and general uncoolness. But I’ve never been cool: I’m easily angered. I get hangovers and hives. My first CD was by Enya and my second was Tori Amos. “Thanks, Freud,” I said. I was sad but I practiced yoga with new friends and went to puja and thought about how the answer most religions give to suffering and overcoming obstacles is some version of this: That everything changes. That the obstacle isn’t really an obstacle. But it was and I was sad. Two years ago, I was less sad. I read a conversation between Heather Fuller and Dan Gutstein about “critters, beer, writing and Welsh football.” In DC, we can always return to these four topics. We can talk about Swansea, about the beer we are drinking and the poems we are trying to write. About the birds outside and the birds inside. What happened a year ago is too secret to say.

 

 

 

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