A HYBRID NOTEBOOK OF POETICS AND PORNOGRAPHIES

Pornography Disclaimer

This is a an imaginary diary of facts, confessions, or messages. This is a notebook of working but broken ideas, lines, images, notes on books I'm reading, writers I admire, and brief fantasies of language. Here unfiltered  all mannerings pseudo-private, publicized, ur-. Here I am art and unrevealed: poetic, political and pop. These are my moonlit rough beginnings and should not be taken literally, directly, truthfully, reliably, and none of it is legally binding. These lies are all choreographed, but only haphazardly. Beware.

11.11.08

DREAMING THE COMMON LANGAUGE

Friends and Strangers, read my piece about the recent struggles for gay couples to legitimize their marriages at Poetry Foundation's blog, Harriet:

1.

Tonight I am a parade of love and anger.


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written and quite eloquent. This piece should not go unseen and deserves a larger audience. Perhaps you should submit this to large publications.

I support your views completely, albeit from the shadows.

Charles said...

This made you my hero again.

westcoastjewel said...

[Miguel, I have been reading your post, on the Dream of a Common Language and it moved me so, that I want to offer up this piece, that you inspired, as part of the Conversation…]


Subscription to a Holy Tongue


A Winter Storm Warning is rolling in from the front of the fissured tide. No replica of past loves, no new love immanent enough on this horizon to make the night stopStart and struggle to catch it’s breath. Yes, a woman brought me flowers today. A suitor without a suit. A separate possibility.

The news anchor tells us to stay home but I am wondering if home and staying can fill me the way a poem can. Will the poem stir from my summons or must I summon it with stealth? So many times stealth has been the only way to find my way through the forest of lost couplets. The couplets are scattered, like diaphanous leaves.

We tread a wilderness in your distant backyard trying to reassemble the etymologies of Eros into solid flesh we can flush with warmth again. Alas couplets are scarce to come by and words like letters stray. Your terms at times mean little to us. We are looking instead for whole poems, for verses, for new families of meaning.


I remember the way one lover taught me a new language. A whole new tongue that we invented from the truncated note of Love that you, the culture, gave us. We had to reinvent, circumvent, the rules of courtship and abandon the language of commas. Desire cut us differently, words slipping from our thighs, hers always covered, but slipping too with the vowels she held back until the last moment when she could hold no longer the note of coming. Home

is a place we struggle with, culturally. We make our beds on shipwrecks, shipwrecked soil that moves beneath us, rolling through the wake of starboards, even as we press our teeth to dark skin and light skin, to tender skin and rough. We are always losing ground, as soon as we make it. Losing our last held moment, wishing we could make it solid and easier to find.

Solid is often something we find only momentarily in those moments when we are alone, together.

By the time we wake, too many votes may have unsettled us. Propositions turn our clothes inside out and of course, we have no coverage. If it isn’t that, our families are still fighting and our neighbors putting up signs. Yes we have had fights and sleepless nights and won awards, but in the end, we wonder, is it Eros or is it us? What is the square root of this thing that cuts us differently?

We long for something solid and at the same time, potent enough to mark our namelessness with a name that will last. As if solid and potent were congruent (for more than those cascading moments of rapture). We don’t know if they are, only that we

want to make marks, make a text of the sounds that we reach with and fall into. We want to subscribe to a holy tongue that can describe the body of us. We want to ask with our lips and let our calves be part of the answer, our hard to reach places opening up to engender new verbs. Our language is a friction of letters we expire. We want so very much to make something beautiful. New, and potent. Potency, a tide we concentrate.

We knock up against our bones, our ghosts. We know that we have more bones and more ghosts. More tresses on the floor. More locks on the door. Desire is a risk and as sure as breath.

I don’t know what our Book of Marriage looks like. What we are really wed to and if somehow that is different than other driven people. Language invents and undoes itself in our world like water: steam or salt or solid again and in need of melting.



Common is a cloth cut from the bolt of leisure and yet, we have little leisure and less leftover and we outgrow clothes so quickly. Gender is a thing we are still stumbling upon and crawling under. We are stringing together sentences that have no structure, trying to invent a way to see ourselves.

Sex is a way we wrestle the words forth. We want to turn things over and back up to things that matter. Take potencies in and conceive with them.

We need sex to make sound. We need sound. We need songs and fragments of songs to assemble. We need storms to keep us home, so that we find the poems inside and slip toward the slim chance of permanence.

We sleep, while the snow falls. The morning, I already know, will be fresh with the droplets frozen, prismatic. Moments, we have. Snow, silence, and slim chances. For poems. And poets. For prisms. And permanence.

My photo
I've got one foot in the grave and the other's in my mouth.

Poetry Disclaimer

My work has been awarded the Katherine C. Turner Prize from the Academy of American Poets, a Swarthout Award, and has twice been nominated and shortlisted for the Pushcart Prize. My first book, A Book Called Rats, was selected for the Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry (Eastern Washington University Press 2007). I'm curating editor for the online journal of poetry: PISTOLA and my poems and reviews most recently appear in Massachusetts Review, Beloit, Ploughshares and RAIN TAXI. I currently teach writing and literature at Santa Monica College in southern California.