Friday, May 02, 2008

No no no. No!

The third section of Alma is called "Guardian of the Earth." Still, this moment from the poem "Crudites of Enlightenment":

"thousand-armed. the one female version, a not-quite-deity, is always a principle of mercy. the mother fuckin' mother. are we merciful?" (140)

and this

"i live in negative space with all the dead women, whose potential erased while they lived i seek to restore, via the vengeance of language and the spreading of a message of pure negativity. the unveiling of light in our owl-like faces at midnight. i am enlightened and we are, i can say anything i want to. i am saved and we are, because i say so not to you. do you know that if my poetry lasts--that is if there is a future that is similar in any way to this present--my condemnation of our leaders will have considerable weight, and i am loading it down, the words that count will be mine. and our present leaders will be despised and laughed at. because this is the way literature works. though they are all too unread to know this" (141).

Before yoga class yesterday I was laying on the floor of the studio, trying to stretch my quadriceps, the other five women in the room began to have a conversation about children, and then pregnancy, and then giving birth, and then the cost of education but also how "children are a gift that lasts forever."

I like children as much as I like other humans. So that means I like some of them and don't like some of them. I respect their right to exist, like I respect everyone's right to exist, but I'm not going to be friends with everyone.

I think the pregnancy/children conversation at the yoga center is the default conversation the women have when they don't have anything to say to each other. Just like people who happen to move in shared contexts but don't actually have much in common talk about movies or how much they hate George Bush.

We usually say "I was born on June 11" not "my mother bore me on June 11." Blake says "My mother bore me..." in "Little Black Boy" and Jeremiah says "Cursed be the day on which I was born! The day when my mother bore me, let it not be blessed."

If you are the mother, you could say "I bore the child on June 11," or "I gave birth to the child on June 11." "I had the child on June 11" is common, but vague.

Another default conversation yoga conversation, or even greeting, is the "be positive and relax" conversation, often with the subtle but rather snobby suggestion that one person is actually more happy and relaxed than the other person.

One of my high school friends, who was very nice and positive, failed many of his classes during is first year at a University. I remember him saying, cheerfully "Oh well, I know I can do better next time," and I remember thinking, "dude, no you can't. You need to deal with the fact that you failed most of the beginning-level classes in your major."

Also, all during yoga, I kept on thinking about a dead cat I'd seen on the road that morning. In pincha mayurasana: dead cat, in urdhva dhanurasana: dead cat, in ardha chandrasana: dead cat, in ardha chandra chapasana: dead cat. Finally I said hello to the cat (not out loud, of course), and imagined breathing in all the elements of the cat that were now on the road by the lagoon, and in the air around it.


ashley said...

Dear K. Lorraine, I'm sorry to write this in your comments but I couldn't find a way to contact you. If you are screening your comments before publishing them, this one needn't be published. A while back I was reading something poetry-related online that led me to Jessica Smith's blog, and I was reading her posts because they were interesting, and reading about being cash-strapped in NY, and you made a comment about working for a group called I am a poet doing many different things to get by but it's not quite enough so I just remembered your comment and went to that website but could only find links to other online advertisements on that site. I was wondering if you would be able to direct me to the actual job opportunity(ies) you were referring to? I'd be very grateful. Anything work from home and/or make your own hours would be very helpful to me right now. I've got the advanced English/creative writing degrees etc and lots of teaching experience. Perhaps you could email me if my email address is visible to you? Many thanks and best wishes--

K. Lorraine Graham said...

Hi Ashley,

I'm glad you contacted me, and I'd be glad to email you my thoughts on the various kinds of employment that continue to work for me. Alas, I'm not sure how to contact you either. Why don't you leave another comment with your email address? I won't publish it (or your email address of course), but I can respond to you then via email.