Bellissima! Happy Sarah Day!

Must see this beautiful madness

sending you love always

infinite thank yous for the inspiration.

also, when i come home can we please put on a show?


Another note for the manuscript

Notes on GRAFFITI:

I consider graf-writing as ghost—the voice, image, marker of those “made” invisible. The photography of graffiti (national and international) illustrates the ghosts—the sense of oppression that cannot be buried—are found everywhere. Oppression haunts the walls. The graffiti photos function as a (red) thread that ties the work together—the spirit that carried the memory of love along. As I compiled my writing, I went through old photographs (made me cry) in search of graffiti from San Francisco, San Diego, Oakland, Amsterdam and Black Rock City to add to my manuscript. After compiling the graf photographs, I read an interview with Akilah from 2009 Bomblog where she describes A Toast in the House of Friends, in which Akilah used her son’s (Oluchi McDonald) graffiti in her book.

…graf writing as partially elegiac, and as a way to mark absence. What I love about how graf marks absence is that presence always intrudes. I’m thinking of the title of that film about Jack Johnson, this documentary, I saw it on PBS, called Unforgivable Blackness. Graffiti is like that, in your face, naming itself as never an “other,” but always as itself. Unforgivable in that sense, you know, in that it upsets easy notions of identity, resists type, even though the form itself has been codified as if it were only representational of a particular voice–the way the “invisible” are reduced to easy categories of erasure.9 (Akilah Oliver)

I think about where I grew up: East L.A. and Montebello, CA—the ghetto of LA county—where I grew to be ashamed of “wetbacks” and only spoke Spanish in Spanish class. While East LA and Montebello is predominately Hispanic, as I grew up I was unaware of the internal struggle and conflicting nature of a place that displaced or sought to “other” those who embraced their roots. I attended a middle school called La Merced, and my friend Maciel named me “Gloomy” as a tagging alias. In middle school, I thought “taggers” belonged to crews, not gangs. There was a difference. I still have friends who are graf writers, not “gang bangers.” From Akilah Oliver: “Graffiti as a way to mark the body’s afterlife. Graffiti as a way to abandon attachment to the author, long before we were told we could do that.”6 A flash: riding the train from San Diego to LA: upon entering the LA ghettos, I watch for miles: graffiti tunnels and freeway overpasses: R.I.P—signs of ghosts. Graffiti=memory=history. I consider how graffiti is the alias’ memory—the memory of someone who takes over—holy!

Can the body ever acclimate to space: a never home

never had a chance

to become


can the body heal itself after all the scratchscarscabs?


a train signals: watch the graffiti move from this never land

to another never land

a train signals: a whole line: box cars that weren’t

moving                       see through                                                     the other side

no space to tag                                                                                   gloomy: an alias

metal beams hold the car together                                                    a whole line

what could this mean?

Offer a line as space for the traumatized to act out and stop burying the dead six feet under over and over again.

Offer space—the sentence to move the trauma—fear—pain through the body to shake become possessed a chance at freedom to consider and reconsider without hurryhurry.


what could not box cars hold?

I can only make out: empty space

rectangles and triangles

to the end of the line

It began to snow after the last car vanished from sight

and sound: Happy New Year.


“…don’t you ever forget,”

april joseph

Intro for Manuscript: A letter

11 February 2013 (Losar)

s)he said, don’t leave me, please love me.


S(he) said, heart! stop beating so fast you’ll have to stop now.


sleep sleep sleepy eyed red child


sleep sleep sleepy eyed red child


don’t worry: make up

faces pluck pluck


s)he cries herself to sleep

sleep sleep sleepy eyed red child sleepsleepyeyedredchild


“Dear Monsters,1

What does a healed sentence look like? Post trauma. As I circulate around death and dying and mourning and grief, I write grief as monster: human. I begin to open up to the “demons”—as a practitioner of somatic meditation and Feeding Your Demons and breathe into my “inner territory,”2 I begin to realize we are all traumatized. Reggie Ray, during a dharma talk on the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, discussed how Trungpa developed safe breathing exercises to open up our “inner territory” to “put us in touch with trauma, to realize that we are traumatized.” Similarly, Lama Tsultrim’s Feeding Your Demons (2008) teaches a practice which encourages us to embrace our inner demons and call on them for wisdom and witness any transformation, revelations, and discover the inner allies that remind us we are alone and yet never alone. “Demons are our obsessions and fear, chronic illnesses, or common problems like depression, anxiety, and addition” (Allione 3). So then, are sentences, words which reflect on the self: obsessions and fear: traumatized?

I consider the page the mind, memory, history, a storyteller finds a way to heal trauma through purging violence on the page. Since we forget—our stories, memories have gaps—we forget what happened exactly, our breathing also experiences a gap—between the inhale and the exhale which represents our natural state of being. During Reggie Ray’s teaching of Somatic Meditation3: Ray leads the Vajrayana practice with attention to the three bodies of the Buddha. The class began with the Dharmakaya: infinite space of mind, our fundamental self. The actual experience of the body has no boundaries. The Dharmakaya is the gateway to an awareness of infinite space. “If you see something and you don’t love it, then you are not seeing it completely outside of ego” (Ray).

How does a healed sentence come to be healed? Is it critical of itself, the experience, searching for metaphors and markers, and growth? Is it more elusive now that it has healed

and how does it integrate the trauma and the lessons learned from the trauma—to never-everland—how to integrate the trauma into the imaginary—is the healed sentence an imaginary space, then? What does the healed sentence sound like?


Notes on the traumatized sentence:

The line/ sentence as a way to express or transmit trauma onto the page, purge violence and consider the sentence as the space for catharsis—healing through catharsis as the trauma is expressed through language and sound which moves through the body. As loss is a form of trauma: we mourn to process grief and why we die and how to let the memories die with the dead, instead of living with “a death that does not die” (Bhanu Kapil).

1–title of Sarah Keeney’s dance performance in San Francisco, CA during February 2013.

2-Reginald A. Ray, Ph.D. mentioned this term during a dharma talk on 4 February 2013. “Inner territory”: Buddha nature, our fundamental self or natural state.

3-Somatic Meditation course taught at Naropa University by Reggie Ray from 28 January through 1 April 2013.