HE SAID, MARIE, MARIE, HOLD ON TIGHT
~ The Waste Land, "The Burial of The Dead", Eliot
~ The Waste Land, "The Burial of The Dead", Eliot
Friday, November 30, 2007
snow under streetlight
the snow is falling under the streetlamp tonight.
yesterday, one of the english professors said to me, while working over a document "love and loss in shakespeare," "i necessarily empty my head of all these meetings and faces, if not i would be incapable of thinking."
yesterday was also poetry, i explained to small group what was waterwords.
"you could write a whole book of poetry about waterwords," said alesia.
tonight is work. "i am not calling tonight because tonight is work," i texted home.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
trauma and the heart
im studying trauma theory now, freud, felman, caruth, remembering certain conversations, certain scenes. i think, we need to repeat certain nightmares until we have mastered them, reordered them (like verses in poetry), interpreted them. this is why poetry is important. poetry is the point of departure and the point where we emerge, newly arrived. i don't write often, because i really want to be constantly surprised by myself, by my ability to pull away from myself in poetry. this is why theory and postmodernism, is not about the destruction, but about, reconstruction. it is about, fundamentally, the heart.
there can be no forgiveness if one cannot truly master the terrible event. how can you ask for forgiveness, when you dont even know what it is you want to be forgiven for? you can you give forgiveness when you don't know what you want forgiven? i think prayer, like poetry, is about the struggle for mastery over the fact.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
thanksgiving is over. at 5am this morning, he woke up and left for the airport, i was too sleepy to even say bye. but it was lovely just to see him and hear him breathing. in this life, there is much we want, but few, essential things that we really should want.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
so i had the most beautiful thanksgiving ever, with the wonderful judy, and nancy, and krista, and neil (sacramento "okay, dawn eureka," he digs, we tease each other about eating too much), judy takes awful shots of me, toni tries to teach me to play pool, the mongrel terrier humps me four times in a row, and henry. i ate till i died. there was homemade bread, homemade wine from krista's vineyard, homepressed grape juice by judy, homemade inari by mako.
in the drive to judy's the road is long, mysterious, filled with the possibility of passing deer, trees.
i took over the steering wheels of the car as we got back, the first time, driving like a crazy woman around an empty wegman's carpark at midnight.
outside valentine place, it had just started snowing.
it looks like it's really started snowing, henry said, not the passing kind. it will be pretty. when it gets all white.
pretty, not depressing?
back home, the fridge was already bursting with thanksgiving food. so, i added more food to it.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
the memory of a goldfish
it's thanksgiving again.
yesterday, a year ago, i was just flown-in and windswept. today, he is in the same house where he tried to teach me sledding, and i played the piano while his sister sang. wa wa wa
i saw him this morning, and i could not speak. tomorrow upsets him, with all my plans.
i hate how you can make all these plans, everyone involved in those plans are happy, and it takes one person outside it to express his disapproval, to make you just turn.
perhaps he is merely tired, so he doesn't want to talk. perhaps he simply is tired perhaps, i am a selfish person. we deal with our own ghosts in our own ways, some ways, maybe are incompatible.
he thinks that i don't love him. but i am only living where i am, and not loving him any less. unlikely that i would leave into the hands of another. he thinks i have the memory of a goldfish, and the intuition of a blind squirrel. he thinks. but i don't forget that easily.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
letter to yantai
你好！我的电脑有点毛病， 有些字写不出来！ 可能我的头脑也是有点毛病，好久没写中文，写出的句子一定有点奇怪：）只要你大概明白就行了吧！ 我很想念烟台。我这几天好忙，忙着读很多书，比如莎士比亚的越剧、哲学书等等。 怕越忙越会忘记我在中国留下的回忆。那天我正想，如果我回到烟台，什么变了，什么还不变？ 中国变化无常， 发展得那么快。， 如果一回到烟台， 我会不会觉得一切都非常陌生？我最怕这个吧。 假期到了，我能休息一个周。 一个周过后，学校又开始了。你着几天正在做些什么？ ：） 祝你快乐， 姐姐：）- 明敏
Sunday, November 18, 2007
all of a sudden
after reading carson, and the whole lot of renaissance plays ive been working on, and watching two renaissance performances in two days, looking at renaissance prints at the inkshop, i have this crazy idea of writing a verse-play.
it's like i didn't have enough melodrama in my life, my breasts weren't big enough, i didn't watch enough chinese television serials, there was no space in my world for a sweaty world of outdoor theater, conjurers and pandars and crossdressing women, i needed a tragedy that would with lots of cleavage, symbolic gardens and clowns.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
gotten to a point where i have fallen in love with my books. i don't want this term to end, i want it to be suspended somewhere between webster and lope de vega, and felman, and the inkshop and pogo, and jim screaming at me to move on the dancefloor. in a strange way, i don't want to go home, to the burden of relationships. also because, jo is staying in ithaca alone, and i don't like the sound of her staying in ithaca over new year's and christmas in the middle of nowhere. i love how she and guan are simultaineously hungry, laughing in unison, worrying in unison. renaissance literature frees me from myself, because of how immensely complicated and constructed the literature is. i want to remain in this world of words, alone, but not lonely. in spanish tragedy, if the source of honor exists external to the self--in the bride or the groom--honor can still exists in disjunct with the self, rendering the honor code a fallible system of merely readable signs. if you want to know what happiness is, it's not a state of involuntary laughter, it's simply the very conscious, self-willed state of being at peace with yourself, because of yourself, not because of other people. happiness should never be contingent on an Other. i suppose this was what i had been trying to articulate in rgs, which was nearly always miscontrued as feminism, antisocialness, and other odd labels. i think i understand it now, and perfectly.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
i am judgmental, and punitively, dehumanizingly judgemental. sometimes i feel judgement became an armor when i chucked people out of my life. it was never that i judged that friend, then fell out of love with him because i discovered flaws. it's always me creating a crazy rupture, distancing, then imposing judgement, creating a monster. it's a terrible, selfish thing, judgement, because i know my judgements are motivated by the desire to be able to live with myself as i am now, rather than the people per se.
the ghosts of people are always returning in this house, and i am always trying to stage goodbye. the only medium is writing. writing is a bit like prayer, except that writing is more empowering, because the power emerges from the self, but it is as liable to failure.
difference can sometimes be a terrible thing. it provides the illusion of a binary. we were merely different, not oppositional, remember this.
and on another note, winter in ithaca makes me feel like im a patient in a loony bin. i wake up, and i immediately switch on the light, because it's too dark. the absence of working in natural light makes you feel like you live in an institution.
Friday, November 09, 2007
I went to the imaging center today. it was a minor scare that's stretched out over the past couple of weeks, but everything turned out okay.
I am here because
my body spoke last night,
But I could not read its words.
Placing her hand over my heart,
She asks it to speak.
In the first frame, I am an ocean.
I contain a multitude of fish.
In the second frame, I am a city,
Travelling into dusk accompanied by a trail of lights.
In the second frame, I am the map of a country
My rivers changing its course.
These are the ribs. This is the surface of skin,
hard, rock-like. These are the layers of tissue beneath.
The black is the black of water. And
where is the stone? We wait
for the appearance of black.
She continues mining, in search
Of stone amidst walls of rock,
finds none. There is nothing, she says,
only rock. The rock
of life. I thank her,
and leave, carrying my body with me.
This body, this poem
Scanned under the light,
And shorn of shadows.
in my own time
i have always had wonderful friends. i have wonderful parents. they all have wanted me to be happy. you deserve to be happy, they have all said. for some, the revolution necessitated violence, a violence overthrow of the past, the wiping of names off the slate of memory.
sometimes, i would remember, lost names. i wanted to finish the nightmare, to see it to its end. i didn't want to be woken. i wanted my friends to leave me in my dreams to chase that predator. i didn't want them to suppress that nightmare.
these days, i am learning to be happy on my own terms, as i slowly learn that the only happiness one has is that which one holds in her own hands. previously, my happiness was held in another's hands. living in ithaca, living finally, on my own, i hold my happiness in my own hands. i will finish the nightmare. when it has finished repeating itself, i will blow it out. in my own time.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
All of a sudden, the winds piped up. Leaves began to shift in unease, like many birds. The blinds of my window began to converse together, all at once. Someone’s alarm went off.
Then, the alarm stopped. The leaves settled back into the night’s silence. Downstairs, my housemates were laughing, the way they usually laugh.
But I knew, the way one simply knows. One knows when he steps outside and witnesses the loss of green in the smell of the air. The days were getting shorter. Winter’s shoes were outside my door. One morning he would knock, at I would open it, as though embracing a long lost friend.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
just a thought
notice how subversive, and subservient seem just little variants of each other.
it's cold, daylight saving. it feels like new york in a time of papers, with some love. shorter days, the urge to eat something.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
dilemmas and thought experiments
i have been distracted by decisions to make. i am troubled by the things that were said to me in last night's phone call. we have to end this philosophical call now he said. i am being agitated the whole day.
sometimes im annoyed that some people have it all made, all planned, sometimes i envy them, sometimes i think they are asleep, other times i am happy for them, for their faith. then i think, what on earth does that mean? what does it mean that "youre all made?" that can't be true. so now that we have established and both you and me arent that different at all. i realise paths werent made, paths were found and earned.
ok, so i have a path, a bunch of paths i want to take. its far away. sometimes i feel i don't have enough time to find this path. this purposed "path," this overwhelming question.
i think ambition makes you insecure, ambition is a transgression of predestiny, it is a sign of not living in the present. ambitious people can't be very happy.
but what of the directive to work towards the future then? what does it mean when he said "go forth and multiply"?
is it a performative, is it a constative? i mean, if the offspring is definitely gonna be as numerous as the stars, then what's the point of issueing that directive? a label that says "directed by god"? but authority and directorship becomes fundamentally confusing. whose script is this? if there is already path, why bother? why bother do anything at all, really, why don't i just sleep all day? what of this problematic "go forth and multiply?"
if i have 4 years to learn everything i want, and another six afterwards, why bother to learn everything that has nothing to do with the six? i think of a beautiful boy who says, we can be in love for 4 years, in the fifth, i fly. am i to actively love that person, or do i walk away, saying, ah, but the fifth, the fifth. if i adopt that kind of mindset, i will never bother to actively love at all. and then, the boy who has touched breasts, they re-enter their lives, 6 years, 16 years, maybe sixty years, after that brief 6 seconds. they are composed as they arrange themselves together, in truth, they have become mad, incapable of living within old selves and former rhythms.
then i think again, that maybe time is not chronological. what does it matter, four years, six years, sixty years. four years can last forever, in truth, and 6 years, 60 years, 16 years, as brief as 6 seconds.
when he said, go forth and multiply, he carried in his voice the assuredness of the end, that yes, the offspring would be numerous as sand and stars.
how do we then interpret the initial despair? ostensibly that despair is mingled with hope, because the end is always in sight. with hope is action, because we are assured of not being broken, the obedience of the call to "go forth and multiply." isn't that fundamentally mean? to break someone down, make him completely ridden with insecurity so as to lead to the affirmation of faith it's like a bad parent.
the next logical step would be this. so if the parent is a bad upbringer, we have to forgive him, right? a mean parent doesnt warrant abandonment. the logic is strange fundamentally, "i turned into into a demon to save you, forgive me that i was a demon, but never forgive the intent."
the intent, to live with passion. thus the circle, miraculously almost, closed.
[me] dawn, singapore, new york city, ithaca.
holding on tight -- vol ii
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