What the Body Knows

The body finds shape as muscle, nerve, scent, surface, grip, how tendons find rock, find wood, cracks in walls, granite scree – the body shapes and finds, becomes a room, a slope, a sound, becomes a movement of air, becomes gradual and gradually meets and blends, becomes the world around it, melds and merges and remains stolid, solid, breathing and flexile, is every shape, is every room, how flesh ends the world, how flesh begins it, the body without beginning or end explodes, vital, sensual, happening, everywhere, parallel, intransigent, conscious, beaming, tightening, sliding, balancing, hovering, sexing, shedding, lifting, lighting, lightening, dwelling

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ANNOUNCE  ::  I have one reading coming up in March, on the 22nd in Santa Cruz (Scotts Valley, really) at the first annual Coyote Festival of Sound and Vision. Sponsored by Daniel Yaryan and the Mystic Boxing Commission, it’s a full evening of music, word, and visual art in tribute to artist Daniel Stolpe. I’ll be reading with a big buncha terrific folks, including Avotcha, Cathyann Cusimano, and Steve Arntson, with music by The Process. Deets as usual on the Events page.  ::  Besides that, looking forward to getting this darn arm healed and all stronged up, and traveling to the East Coast at the end of the month. Hello, Cape May!

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My heart breaks and then there’s no fucking room there’s no fucking room for injustice or pride there’s a riveting single gong of a bell and then life endless stretching forward through streets and reeds and there’s no goddamn place for wrong for discourtesy for disrespect for mistreatment for dispassion for harm of any sort for my heart breaks I mean shatters something permanently broke and who cares really there’s so much worse to worry about but the soil and rock that we stand on, that we live on, that feeds us, also feeds on our hearts and if it consumes damaged meat then someone else might receive a poor meal a little less nourishment and turn a blind eye

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REFLECT  ::  This was, as the theme indicates, a very bodily month. Started with a week in a full arm and hand splint, the second of two after a surgery to correct lateral epicondylitis. Had the splint off for two days, replaced by a mere wrist brace, before I got slammed with The Cold of the Season, and for sixteen days I transformed into a highly efficient mucus factory. It’s good to have a purpose. Somehow amidst that I managed to do a decent reading at Nefeli Caffe with Julia Vinograd, though between the Dayquil, Excedrin, and Robitussin my recollection of the event is somewhat blurry, and presented three sessions in the poetry track at the San Francisco Writers Conference, somewhat clearer in memory. With the cold finally gone, I opted to end the month (actually to start this one) with another surgery, this one an implant placement so’s I can get me a new front tooth, which involved drilling a titanium screw into my skull (well, my maxilla, which is technically part of my skull). Still nice and swole from that at this writing, and hoping to be a real boy again, er, have a real tooth again, sometime in June. Hoping I’ve got all this body bother done at once, so I can be amazingly strong and healthy for the rest of this year (my life) (this week).  ::  I’ve also had the delightful fortune to spend more time with new poet friend Mimi Gonzalez, whom I mention here because she ROCKS SO HARD. First got to attend a terrific workshop that she ran at OnTwoSix, still encasted, at which I scribed (scribbled) the left-handed poem “( )” that you can see this month on the Fresh Words page. A few weeks later got to hear her read two nights in a row at Nomadic Press in Uptown, Oakland, and at Berkeley’s own (and best open poetry mic in the Bay) Saturday Night Special. And cherried off the month with a lively friend date to hear Dr. Ajuan Mance of Mills College speak on pre-Harlem Renaissance African-American literature (amazing talk), followed by remarkably bad phở at Monster Phở in North Oakland (don’t go there). The company and conversation were so excellent and invigorating that the annoyance of the meal rolled off us like phở off a duck’s back. We might in fact still be in rigorous conversation and just hallucinating that life has gone on as usual. Mimi’s moving back to central central central Michigan in May, and I hope she’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that I’ve already moved in.  😛

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Ragged flesh, torn flesh, beat flesh, ecstatic flesh worn by elements, by age, electrified and doused and for a moment broken, questioning where and how, how to continue, how to begin bleeding from the chest, how to walk while shivering, how to know stars, truth, sincerity, especially my own. The mirror is a bastard, tricking the eye again and again with superfluous goodness, is it false, is it real, can we use these words at all? I ask the ragged flesh, What are you about, really? What do you want? What did you ever want? Who told you it’s bad to be battered – by time, by accident, by others? How do you know, how do you bleed, how do you move on? How do you be you, be I, be nothing, be nothing you know and strong?

In breath,
Richard

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