For our dis•articulations collaboration, collaborating poet Douglas Kearney gave Terry four writing prompts. Terry engaged in fevered writing with each of them and gave the results back to Douglas. These are the words he will use to construct his dis•articulations poem.
Crisco fried funk
I think of Crisco, white and bland in the can, its impassive face revealing nothing. Likely it has no thoughts, but heat it up and its complexion clears and it starts hopping in the pan, popping on the stove, splattering a little sting onto the cook’s unsuspecting skin. Drop in the funk, itself just an unformed wad of dough, and watch it begin to spin and brown and harden somehow, growing a toasty coat on the outside and a soft cake inside.
Only a partial relationship to reality
The philosopher said, “reality is agreement,” so I said goodbye to reality a long time ago. Once you cut yourself loose, there’s no turning back. You can’t even imagine how you got bamboozled into it in the first place. The imagination has no place in reality–it’s all about “what it is” rather than what it could be. Living in possibility requires adaptation to a cooler kind of light, a thinner oxygen. Your survival is not guaranteed. But you begin to love that edge, the tipsiness of every day.
Vulgar yet weirdly graceful
People have a lot of contempt for this kind of woman. They want her to be more like a butterfly, less like a baboon. They want her to wear little slips of dresses and not get her hands dirty, to tiptoe about on the thinnest heels, not to ground her soles into Mother Earth. They want her to pretend she has no body, that her body belongs to them and she may not enjoy it. She’s not supposed to acknowledge her slash, her gash, her split in the universe through which light enters.
The infantilization of people of color and women,
and the women who are people of color are the most babied of all, but not babied in the Western post-industrial middle class model of doting and spoiling and commodifying, no, more like the pre-capitalist model of property, like livestock. Like infanticide. No one is dressing us up in doll clothes and fussing over us. No, we are dragged by the hair and beaten until our cries no longer disturb their sleep. Who’s your daddy, they ask, but we’ve learned better than to answer, our mouths sewn shut, our tongues snipped out.
Readers are encouraged to write poems in response to the prompts or to the fevered writing. The best Reader Poem we receive in November will win a $25 prize. All poems submitted will be posted to the blog.