[alert type=alert-white ]Please consider making a tax-deductible donation now so we can keep publishing strong creative voices.[/alert]
Attendance is documentary poetry by Rocío Carlos and Rachel McLeod Kaminer, who are collaborating on a book length manuscript for the duration of one year.
As we stand in relation to plants and animals—and one another—we are not exempt, but alive as creatures in and of the world. Taking attendance, and attending, alters* our writing, bodies; places—city, land, wilderness; times—past, present, future…
*fucks up / fucks with / plant sex
You said to me can I tell you/I said yes/you said to me/ I don’t know if I want to ask/ that’s I wanted to tell you
the new moon comes black and a twin. The other will come late, the way my sister and I were born. Saturday is difficult. The fox is in tears/ she is tired. We set up the record player and she is happy.
Carnell Snell is killed at 107th St. A mother has to beg uniformed strangers past the plastic tape (and their guns) to put her hands on the body of her boy.
and then a new year, the day the world began, even as the wilderness wilts. Leaves fall. Things are better in the morning.
On your mother’s porch. The sanseveria, how swords reach for the moth’s death. the dead hydrangea, dusty pink corymb- how a flower drinks acid and blooms. Mother gives you an amaryllis bulb. She had a friend named Amaryllis who lived on Carmelita and Randolph. You perched on your heels in front of the snowy screen while the mothers chatted. Her youngest son Freddy was a terror at school and shorter than you, but angry. Her oldest son was in a bed and couldn’t speak.
How long, hummingbird? The annunciation / visitation different only by feather
The datura/datura/ that sleep time
The nightshade’s perfect berry
Dark and cold (you wanted to see)
something adorning the throat
what we do/ and do not have (arrangements)
she holds the mandarin peel like a flower
(I didn’t know)
the one-hundred degrees days
How a year is new now. Drive to Claremont. Steal succulents in a parking lot: blue curl echeveria, kalanchoe tetraphylla, fire stick. We sit in a college town pub and you get that young feeling. You argue with Rachel about a gardenia and you look it up. You are right but you don’t show it to her.
an anniversary. The river reed and the pearl of occident at their desert marriage. How often can I write about the orange blossom and the whiteness of her.
a tuesday night café: at the Far Bar by myself and then finding my wolf pack and then sitting at a long table singing eternal flame. Someone says Pretty Good For A Bunch Of Writers. We laugh a good laugh. It feels good to laugh.
Every 7th: detonate: the wilderness in an exposed photograph, radiografía se dice.
on a different page (she and I)/there is that kind of carnage
Watch this televised talk in horror. (I write about being the grabbed person)
the death of the reef. little bone, little hand waving goodbye. The ornament, that is.
what you wait for when it is the only thing to wait for/ that
Monterey Park hospital. Here the place of your birth. The syllables you learned in English at age four.
The floors smell clean but not antiseptic. Your father smiles cheerfully. You learn something you didn’t know. something about clean hands. You have a feeling he has never lied to you, not even to protect your feelings. You are afraid, you have not returned the favor. what if not blood.
(the train together. I usually take the train alone. I talk to a guy who has his head against his hands.)
We walk down to broadway and 9th and drink ginger and lemon tea and talk wirecutter business. And after, there is guacamole and chips and I finish the bottle of whiskey and she doesn’t drink any more.
Columbus day October 12th. After the cockfight there is soft down and congealed blood and scratches on the dirt from where we tried to stand our ground. The tail feathers were confiscated/ that kind of carnage.
Chilaquiles and the rain out on the porch with tea and coffee. The trees the steady mist green hummingbird, two fussy corvids. Scout prancing.
The bougainvillea leaves gathered on the porch.
What telling is
Is here/here is a map/is a line
greetings from this green place. I miss your thirst
your turning in the dark your always tired and always sad
your days are only okay your nights long and restless
your always broken body your always somewhere below you body
absent from my body/that wild place
how long, hummingbird? The annunciation / visitation different only by feather
the line in the sand the citrus peels in her hand or what is my hands was it me who crushed the leaves to hold to your face I forget
(what hands forget) they made too much coffee they forgot they wouldn’t
carry a cup to you
One the long sleep /the other the mercy of the children you are starving.
At night lit up the wilderness allows this
allows your boots and three times filled glass to stand
under the still-green peach in hopes of rain: what we can muster
(in this dry place)
the datura/dátura/ that sleep time.
Dark and cold (you wanted to see)
something adorning the throat
what we do/ and do not have (arrangements)
The hurricane passes
All week crows and ravens, parrots, little birds, and pigeons. No hawks.
Two vultures—first time since July going north on the train. Their wings, the two tones of brown and browngrey, opaque and translucent.
On instagram I start looking at the Audobon photos everyday.
Hummingbirds and hawks. Repeat.
But I feel a bat, my colony is several thousand miles away in Portugal, in the palace of Mafra library. Going through the windows at night to the orchards and flowers, coming back for the insects who eat at the book papers and glues, nocturnal. Spending the day still and downside up behind the cases.
I speak with Moa on the phone. She asks can she use part of our letter I wrote her for a film, a new one she’s working on.
It turns out to be a dream, but the kind where I’m surprised the next morning in the mirror that the blemishes I feel sitting there aren’t visible. It still feels they’re there.
After the reading and long book event day, Jen and Rocío gather succulents. Succulenters gonna suc- culent.
Stop. Go to sleep. You’ve been dreaming, of late. Of sleep. And waking.
I see the highschooler on the Altadena bus again, the one with Theandrew’s face shape and bones.
Yesterday someone on the roof had his kind of laugh. I could hear it from outside my room.
Go to bed.
Tomorrow you can rest, and launder. Buy a calendar, buy a new notebook. See some friends.
All of the week of Hurricane M I write nothing but texts with my sisters and mother.
Oct 7 Strange street harassment
Ost 12 Tues The datura reappears, three blooms on the smallest plant, two open. In noon high warmth. How.
Oct 13 Wed For the third time, the young man—the Theandrew one with his jaw, his skull, his timbre of skin, but taller—boards the bus and rides and deboards.
For the umpteenth time, motorcycles. For the near umpteenth time, one that chooses the lane between me in a van going 70 or 80 and the next lane and its speeding vehicle. For the near umpteenth time, a motorcycle mirages behind in the rearview mirror, then mirages out of sight, then back into site, still behind me. What umpteenth must mean is that one no longer expects it to stop, thought the feeling of it always affects in the same way even when you anticipate it.
I ask my sisters about animals where they are. In Oregon Jude is laughing and has begun to crawl. In delight to finally move, I imagine.
Oct 13 under the raven’s wing right at sun up—layered dispersing—the light hits it gold and rose gold. Later in the Sci-Arc bookstore there are sheets in packages, and a kind of kit, for gold leaf and silver leaf to gild with.
Walk by the Harry Dodge show at Armory each day after work too.
Walking home (9th, easterly) ran into/met Chi’s mom and dad. We hugged + she held my hand until we parted.
14 Oct Corvid with nothing in their mouth the way they land—my language supplies a mechanical description; landing gear + the plane leaning back nose up
Last night—16th—The birds AND how flight isn’t dancing it’s more a combination of [this really fight? aggressive? intense metaphor?] and synchronized swimming but like, warp speed and cut throat black swan.
25 Oct dátura dátura dátura (not blackberry…)
—Da tu ra Da tu ra Da tu ra—straw furls in shade overnight more overnight deep green and dust resistant
HOY pink dove talk to get pigeon noises trees stumps—which page of Giving Tree—and I fucking hate that book—one block down.
Lose my keys all day. Find them in my door at the end of it.
AYER hawk I see and show D; she sees everything [else] before me
Hummingbirds chatters at the entrances
End of last week: Can you even remember?
28 Oct: The Armory / Memorial Park / Pasadena / Metro Gold Line
<<Mysterious Fires>> (Harry Dodge, 2016) is a single channel video, color, sound; 24m30s.
I recommend it very much. From the promotional imagery for the show, a still taken from this piece, I assumed it would be weird in a grating or aggressive way. It was weird, I guess? in the way playfulness is weird—in the way nerding out on big ideas [freaking out] is weird—in the way very smart people are weird. I laughed more than once aloud.
I don’t know if it’s the memory of The Argonauts first scene under my mind while I see Harry Dodge’s body in the videos—moving through the world and [??] gestures or these sentences copied out on the board but I wrote You can do anything you want to me as long as we do it slowly first and got, felt,
The light changed when I exited the building in the way it does
RE: 31 Oct and all The birds; the kiddos. Getting twitchy, some of them. Meeting with no one in the afternoon. Happy there. And on the roof, got the flying. My gorgeous. Light slantwise across them, their banking airsail waves, magic: lightness of being? (from able, from power) fleet ness of being
As if you were, so be
Make still days
Opaque the sky
Ache on past
Break timbre green
Snake up true
Rake fast water
Feel a bat making still days a vulture opaque the sky an anger stake skin an insect shaking pollen a hurricane ache on past Feel them, wake there Feel datura break timbre green a raven quake light a motorcycle mistaking Feel a dream lake under a coyote take scent a painter forsake canopy a hummingbird flake gossamer a want snaking up true a child raking water a paloma slake purple Feel the moon mandraking
Feel a bat feeling a bat
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel McLeod Kaminer has been thinking when do the notes for the work become the work for a while now, and Grimes’ "Be a Body" is on repeat in her head; her book As in the Dark, Descend (Writ Large Press) comes out 6/30/2016. Of plant attendance, Rocío Carlos says Literally What I Do Is I Go Outside And Make Sure They’re All Alive. She keeps an instagram of the things that live. See her familiar Scout demand attendance of the wilderness; see her be the wilderness.