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Some news: My next book is forthcoming with Noemi Press.
My heart, be still.
off-side // reading from my beloved Interludes
When we read at the Menil Fest in Houston, TX, for the Failure To Launch series:
Left, my red shoes and pink socks.
Right, Addie Tsai’s rainbow shoes and flowy skirt.
The day was sunny, breezy, and warm.
[Thanks Shannon for the pic]
I tried to ask questions today
tried to walk around obstruction
push in colors, dropletting face skin
I wanted every single one of my happinesses
And I think what kind of allowable things
my book belongs to me too
Another template for drawing blood, just wait
// [un]grateful always to devereux for laying the skin to this book //
I went to DC to attend Split This Rock despite a hell of a hectic schedule around the close of spring semester. It was well worth it. With Muriel Leung, I co-ran a workshop session on play and pedagogy. It was energizing: we moved, swayed, scribbled, colored, marked, tore, asked questions, and tried to make sense of the places from which poetry can originate. Then monsters, and slaying them, and mutating them, and accepting.
Some things in me loosened up, and then a day later, I was back in Louisiana, too far away from all this:
Pacing. I’ve been totally submerged this past week. Something in the air is changing (in this imaginary way of spring arriving). Even though, it’s too far south for spring here. Still pacing. Submerged as if my world’s been glossed over, or sunken under six inches of sludge. I’m waiting for the gradual lift.
This week I’ve been…eating foods that make me ill. It’s unceremonious. I keep scouring things out of the fridge, and inevitably, it’s usually something that’s gone bad, and what I put into my stomach starts flipping somersaults. Gas bubbles. Wringing.
My grandmother died young and of esophageal (also stomach?) cancer. She eventually starved away because she couldn’t eat anymore. Yesterday for lunch at school I opened my tupperware and realized what I packed had gone slightly sour. I ate it anyway. Grotesque meat. Smelly rice. Too tired, hungry, busy, shuffling between class, to really feel moved to change what I had planned. Then the stomachache I carried for the rest of the day.
Today, again, I ate something old. No excuses. I was home, with plenty of other choices. Then stomachache. My mom used to say that her mom died of eating old foods, too poor, that the cancer came because of rotten food, because she gave her children all the good food and ate only leftovers. And where did this come from, I wonder? My inability to throw anything out, any food out, and will eat old things the way my grandmother did. She was this mythical figure. I’d only known her briefly, before I could speak back to her.
Then the gurgling reflex of my body. This overcoming. And me eventually feeling as though I’d won a battle against something. Then the submerging, again. Holding my breath. What don’t I regurgitate into poetry. I vow to never throw up.
“The tantrum is a form of panic attack”
— Merri Lisa Johnson’s Girl In Need of A Tourniquet: Memoir of a Borderline Personality
I keep returning to these photos of pre-1900s Chinese USA / what was lost to assimilation