Friday, January 25, 2008

Please Interpret My Map Before You Read My Executive Summary

Let me know in the comments here what you think I am going for, how well I pulled it off, why you hated the piece, why you liked it - anything, really. It is very helpful for me to hear what you got out of my piece. Those layers of information are necessary for me to progress as an artist. Thank you.

My Executive Summary Of My Map Presentation

Where Anthony Gormley says, “the body is our first inhabitation, the building our second,” I define building as commodities. And there is one other inhabitation between his two. “He could feel his heart beating against the pine needle floor of the forest,” wrote Hemingway in For Whom the Bell Tolls. Sound, emotions, language, words – they are another inhabitation for humanity. (The world, implied by Hem to be another inhabitation, is architecture, so Gormley caught that one too) I think in words, I talk in words. Where do I live? In words. Not only do I surround myself with them, but I am surrounded by them. Words are meaningless – they are just sounds – until you decide, “this word means this,” or until you accept another’s definition. Try saying the same word 200 times in a row and you forget what it means, how to construct it. “Sound is humanity’s original collision,” I don’t remember who said that, but words are our most prevalent form of collision.

So my presentation had three parts: the reading, the projection, and the pile of shoes. The pile of shoes was Gormley’s second inhabitation, and the jumping off point for the stories. There were eight pairs of shoes – well, seven in the pile, I was wearing my North Faces. For the reading I was there, in my body –Gormley’s first inhabitation – reading. The stories were each a story, or the story, of the shoes. However, as a friend of mine pointed out, what I ended up with was an emotional map of myself and how I handle, as well as a map of my poetic progression. With the flash animation I hoped to create such an orgy of information that it would become words for words sake and the meaning behind the words would increasingly vanish as the animation progressed. I think that was effective. But I ended up with at least two more layers of information in the animation itself: 1. It became a graphic of my creative process for poetry or architecture (which are the same exact thing): I create like that, I mark the page and toss it again and again; and 2. As I wrote the words I kept relying on some of my favorites as well as bits of conversation around me – it ended up being a map of where I am within words. I was delighted that the why was tossed away by the results in all cases.

If you want to help me out some more, let me know what you think I should have changed, why what you got out of my piece is better than what I thought I would, or whatever, in the comments for this post.

The Words

The project, as you know, is a map of where I live and there are eight pieces here. I will read the titles for the pieces between the pieces themselves.

The North Face

The trip was not remarkable solely for the dirt, trees, rivers, rocks, views, or company. Nor for the goat snuggling me in the night. Nor for the fish that never bit. Nor for me beating a math-major at a game of chess. Nor for that sunset from the top of Little Annapurna. Nor for Aasgard pass’ millionth renaming to ass-fuck pass.

A man died. A son. They took a break on the glacier above Inspiration, formerly called Valhalla. The son slipped, clawed the glacier all the way down until he stopped at the bottom, just above the lake. There was a pause of silence before the crack and the frantic splashing that lasted almost five minutes. The man who held the father back told us this. He kept his sunglasses on. He carried two packs twelve miles down to the trailhead. I didn’t ask who the other’s was.

Rope Sandals

She said she’d be scared:
she couldn’t breathe underwater;

I told her I’d seen a shark,
caught an octopus, dove with turtles;

but four months filled the air between us,
all good things start with s:
sun, sand, surf, sex. She
clenched her scuba mask tight between her teeth.


The first day of my first poetry class I wore a cowboy hat. I thought it would be an easy A. I kind of liked poetry, I guess. Now Jared Leising, Rebecca Loudon, and Me. Those are the three reasons I am in poetry. He read Loess. From the simple, “It gets in our drinks…” to the swarm of bluegill around the bobbing couple, I didn’t know then – and I know even less now – which synaptic gap was bridged, but it was obsession. And then came Rebecca with her:

This is how you sing warble peck caw this is how you
wake to find me your voice your spine against my
spine that travels a V in the southern sky this is how
you sing this is how you drop the berry into my mouth
this is what you promise this is what you carry and I
could no more hold you than I could hold the sea
when it enters my back door I could no more contain
you than I could contain the sudden dazzling lilt.

And from my first abecedarian to Hetepheres the Second’s lusts, that trod bridge has broken in.

Circa (White)

We met in a darkroom. She said she was called by God to save the savages in Africa. I didn’t care as long as she didn’t talk about it. One night she said I made her feel safe. Her parents were out of town. It lasted three weeks, or until I wanted something out of the relationship. She said God told her to not date me. I can’t say I blame him. Last I heard she was doing her missions work for a Starbucks in Seattle.


At ninety miles an hour you start to forget things. Push it past one-twenty and the stars still wont blur. A six hour red-eye drive is cleansing in the same way a faceplant is. The cop was not convinced though. I tried to explain that he was the first car I’d seen in a half an hour, and how at my average speed of one-ten that was fifty-five miles – a good distance – and it was four AM and I just wanted so badly to get back. He let me off easy – three hundred dollars easy. As I pulled back onto the road and slowly rounded the next corner, I barely stopped in time for an elk lying in it. The cop had gone the other way. As if knowing.

Dress – She Thinks Me and Her Older Brother are Gay Lovers

1. This Isn’t the First Time

Last time she called from a dumpster
while I was asleep. It was her first
semester of college. I drove across
state lines with cop-light-flashes
on too near hillsides the whole way.
She ducked her head when they got close,
then woke her brother when we arrived. I passed
six cops on my way back out of that parking lot.

They brought a fire truck.

Her brother and I think it was just in case they had to
break in the door – which they did of course.
Inside she was as belligerent as at the hospital
she had run from. What was left of the cocaine
was spread over her desk. She didn’t remember
a thing she’d done, couldn’t understand
why they were arresting her, or why the ugly cop
cavity-searched her while the hot one stood by
the fire truck talking with the paramedics.

Oh, did I mention the ambulance?

There was an ambulance too, with
three cop cars and a fire truck, all
to take one brown-eyed-girl to the hospital.
She seemed no more than ten there,
in the backseat of the squad-car –
looking at her brother following
doggedly behind in his piece-of-shit Tercel.

Later they found her broken foot.

Later they found the heroin.
Later they found the valium,
the cocaine, and the Jack Daniels in her
blood stream. She’d had a night, they said.
They didn’t press charges, said
it was good training for the newbie cops,
let her out with warnings, threats of expulsion
and a call to her student conduct board.
That was two months ago.

2. Four Psychologists Later and We’re at it Again

She’d quit, for two weeks actually, the longest
stretch since she was fourteen. But now
she’s back at it and we’re being twirled
around her until she blacks out. Last night
we thought she was at Seree’s
before the Pullman Police called:
this time they remember her,
this time she was driving,
and this time they’re pressing charges.

She went home: dropped out of school
and into rehab. Came back here
only for the court date: they suspended her
license for a year, gave her four years
of ignition interlock, a hundred hours community
service, and five years of a twelve step.
I never heard if she liked her probation officer though.
Last I talked to her, she was contemplating
taking three to four years of jail time,
then getting back to her life.
That was while she was still in rehab.

Now they can’t find her – the police, the feds, her brother.
Rehab in Vancouver only gave her more contacts.
Her brother canceled her cell phone,
but she used his credit card number to buy another.
That transaction was the last anybody ever heard of her.
A rumor about California went around,
but no one knows for sure. No one knows at all.
At least no ones telling me. I’m just a friend of her brothers.


In these shoes I lost most of what I thought I understood.

Circa (Black)

I'll speak to him again. What do you read, my lord?

Words, words, words.

A List Of Things I Did

You're not supposed to DO anything for school! What the hell?

I have developed an obsession with Doing. I need to do.

So here is what I did for this project:

1. Wrote some stories.
2. Learned Adobe Flash CS3.
3. Performed a piece and was satisfied with my performance.
4. Figured out how the hell to get it all posted online. (Still can't figure out how to get me on there though)

It's a good start for me.