Friday, December 31, 2010

Thank You

I haven't been blogging over the past few days, save for the abbreviated acknowledgments below. Over the past couple months, since my mother's death, I realized a while ago that I'd been using the blog, among other things--TV, internet searches for random stuff, and the like--more as way to avoid moving through this particular discomfort. Not that the sort of sociality of the blog doesn't provide me a means of accessing the poetic. Not, that is, that the transmission and thinking/feeling thru that the poetic affords here isn't itself restorative, or healing, because it is. But I realized that instead of corresponding also directly with those of you who'd reached out these past couple months, even in order that this space may be social, even additive to the social, I've largely kept it here. Which is a sort of hoard of such pleasures and curatives--beyond an avoidance of responding to you who have reached out, which is, beyond what friendship entails, also deeply restorative.

Besides poetry, teaching, and performing Maledetto & other works as part of Performance Research Group--contiguous activities that simultaneously gave me pleasure and escape, and under more ideal conditions a kind of actionable reconstitution--I avoided doing much else demanding that I interact with others, if even over email as follow up to you here, or as activism, etc. I've long been a social but rather solitary person, not particularly paradoxical, I think; the pain of my condition, and perhaps more so, its fatigue, I'm still somehow ashamed of? I must be, because instead of tell close friends I couldn't get back to them, to you who reached out, for several days or weeks because I was feeling unwell, or instead of telling friends or family that I hadn't gone out to the reading, say, because of the awful fatigue, I'd not say much of anything, contact when I could, and even then felt bad doing so--inadequate? Too late? A shitty friend? It's a complex set of emotions, and I think this is why I have trouble describing the phenomenon to the person who feels well, especially those who seek to care for and about me, especially since October. These social anxieties inevitably become part of the terrain as far as I understand the arc of unremitting illness. In any case, it was my mom's death, not just that she died but how she did, that she died so suddenly while I was on the other end of the line talking with my father, that I could hear the personnel come into the house and begin working on her, that I could hear it happening, that gave me a kind of excuse--?--to go from slow correspondent to off the grid save for the blog. That I think caused me to want to socialize but yet not, a state for which blogging is rather perfect--i.e. it's this aspect of blogging, not the interaction with the transformative that does happen for me, that can make such spaces far emptier than they need be. In short I was just sunk.

I don't write this as attention-seeking, nor does it fully explain my ego and all of those contradictions that define me, my relationship to you. But I was aware of what was happening, and yet it wasn't till recently that I woke up to the fact that it has been you, each of you--not to mention, literally mention, all of those who have cared so much for me, and do so still, regardless of whether you've contacted as of late--but each of you who have been so militantly watching out for me, who give me reason to write and do here--and elsewhere. Caring for and about me, looking after this body that's failed to reciprocate or even, at times, respond. Thank you for getting me through this shite time. Thank you all whose work I have written on here in the past couple months--the restorative potential of the poetic is, in part, its political valence, and despite my ineptitudes in correspondence, I feel better piece by piece for having written what I have. But there are other ways of becoming one can try to ignore without success, so here: thank you to those who have taken care of me lately and who I've largely failed to acknowledge. Thank you.

Thank you to my father and brother, Grant and Michael, for loving my messes.

Thank you to Elizabeth Williamson, for putting up with me for years, then caring for me as my partner--for letting me lean on you when I leaned on nobody else, and not just running away as I might have.

To Eden Schulz, the longest best friend I've ever had, for giving me a place to crash--my other home--and for taking care of me for a year when I first fell ill.

To Rob Halpern, for checking in on me like clockwork in that patient, loving way that I so admire, and sending me that amazing talk of yrs. I am lucky to have your friendship and your trust.

To Kate Robinson for taking such good care of Elizabeth and I and calling us and being there when we've needed you most. A sixth sense. For not killing me when co-designing Occultations!

To Maryam Gunja for also taking such amazing care of Elizabeth and I--your friendship means more to me than one dinner in NY this year, and I hope you know that.

To CA Conrad, for your loving support of me as person, not letting me get away with small talk this month when you knew I was forcing it--your love is too great for this planet, thank gods for aliens. I cannot possibly thank you for all you've done for me, writing in those huge CAPS when excited, or this month, worried for me.

To Brenda Iijima, for the long correspondence, that back and forth getting me thru the first two weeks of October--as if you knew exactly what I needed when. You did, and thank you.

To Thom Donovan for including me in every project discussion, all those invites, and for all those things you "like" on FB of mine--a way, I know it and am thankful for it, of saying, "glad you got out of yr head for awhile, keep it up!"

To Dottie Lasky, who is never far behind in your facebook likings, and never one who doesn't make me laugh--somehow, and on purpose, of course.

To David Buuck, for sending me books and all manner of correspondence--I always knew you weren't really grumpy. I DID know you were a good friend with a very decent heart.

To Jody Kohn for all those ridiculously corny E-cards. Honestly, I can't stand them. But you are too good to me, so things balance out.

To David Abel and Chris Daniels. I love both of you and have such respect for both of you and show quite the opposite. I love the friendship you two have developed over the years. I'm sorry for having not written you Chris and saying that, thanking you for all those beautiful books, not least yours, and that kindness when we took a walk in SF after you came to the Nonsite talk, for sharing with me words that resonate so deeply still; and David, for allowing me the opportunity to postpone dinner twice now, knowing we'll get there, all the while you keeping me in the loop just in case I come around.

To Eleni Stecopoulos, for your beautiful letters to me, and your beautiful book--your patience waiting for me to get to reviewing what should be in everyone's hands. For your Armies of Compassion.

To Mark Wallace and Lorraine Graham for your friendship, yr well wishes, and your understanding when I totally dropped out on hosting you in October.

To Leonard Schwartz for sending me condolences during difficult times--your friendship out here means more than I let on.

To Jules Boykoff and Kaia Sand and Rodney Koeneke: your persistent kindness is only matched by your political convictions. You gave us reprieve during a bad time, such a necessary one, and with such little fanfare. Thank you for being there.

To Sara Larsen and David Brazil, for your loving hospitality and the way you live...for friendships, poetry, social justice. I love that you both sign off with "Love," and mean it.

To Kevin Killian for thinking to send the photo and getting my good side.

To Nicole Mauro for continuing to work the Black Radish magic, publishing others' amazing books and yet still working on my book despite my near total absence on it as of late.

To Maida Rosenstein, my labor organizing mentor, for the note of condolences. This year Local 2110, with Maida as President, celebrated its 25th anniversary! Congrats. As one of the few radical left-wing unions led, for the most part, by African American and Latina women, I'm proud to have been a part of many negotiations, strikes, and recognition campaigns!

To all those Black Radishes who have provided much needed conversation, collaboration, cheerleading, and new-found friendships this year.

To Jane Sprague for telling me not to belittle my poetry--my labor.

To Thomas Bartscherer and Rebecca Smylie for being so patient and understanding waiting on what I promised to get you over a month ago now. Both of your notes were so kind.

To George Quasha for your new friendship and your new forthcoming book--to be able to meditate on your preverbs, how, like the stones, they balance impossibly, those lines that are visible and those that aren't.

To Sam Truitt, for your kindest wishes and your humor and your unfathomable "positive vibes." Above average, as you say.

To Catherine Taylor and Stephen Cope--for the love you've both sent over and again. It's an understated love for you on my part I apologize for, as understated as you are about your poetries. I'll cut it out. If you do.

To Debrah Morkun and Jamie Towsend, and Matt Landis, and Carlos Soto-Roman, you inspire the best in me. One of the last great times I had was with all of you--and it's a fantastic accident of history--or maybe Conrad and Frank's magic--that you've befriended each other, and you me. And all of you of NPPs, thank you.

To Michael Cross, Taylor Brady, and Tanya Hollis of Nonsite Collective, and all in the Collective, for your warmth and inviting me into the fold with open arms.

To Stephen Vincent for the beautiful haptic. I will always treasure that.

To Amber DiPietra and Petra Kuppers for your stunning work as poets and activists, and equally, for showing me that I should probably get off my ass and do.

To Frank Sherlock for your patience with my (non) correspondence. For your baritone and your psychogeopolitical and poetic drifts, real and imagined.

To Geoffrey Gatza for your patience and your understated work for BlazeVox, not just on my multimedia transliteration, but on all those books!

To Emily Carr for your beautiful insights and your directions for flying and that lasting image: smoking with Jack.

To Nicky Tiso. Thank you for your calls and emails. You are an amazing person. Let your love be known.

To Rachel Levitsky for reaching out to me over and again, and especially your kind check-ins these past weeks.

To N. Stephens for your letters: they are so rich I feel like publishing them. And they come unexpected, like most wondrous things.

To Rachel Zolf for everything this Oct. So patient and supportive. I wish we'd have had the time together to catch up and etc that I'd planned on. Next time.

To Laura Elrick for writing on my behalf, and with such incredible depth of relating. I look forward to meeting up in Feb.

To Joan Retallack for supporting my work, and for your mind, and your modeling for so many of us a pedagogy that is irreplaceable, though should be free. Thank you for all that administrative slogging on our behalf, and for your taking the time to write for me. Here's to a better and better time of it!

To Kristin Prevallet for your small, unexpected reprieves--and for showing me so much, always. For opening up all these friendships via Bard L&T. And most lately for your note and just before that a dinner during which the realization that "we're all fucking contradictions" made such sense to me I now keep that in my back pocket as one of a handful of mantras.

To Arun Chandra for gently pushing me out of doors as one of my few close friends here, helping us with so much despite no expectation for even a thanks, and so often--I secretly share in *some* of your skepticism of *some* contemporary poetry, and more importantly, I openly fist-pump your clarity and courage as a composer, and your unapologetic politics--the belief that art has a social function that isn't wrapped up in commodity fetishism.

To Tonya Foster for your note. Here, again, is to wishing us a truly happy new year.

To Erica Kaufman for your lasting friendship. Seeing you is rare and so good for me. Let's do that more often--since neither of us "do" email very well.

To Maryrose Larkin for inviting me into the world of Spare Rooms. For the back and forth that I know we both feel with such rawness. And so I look to you again.

To Christian Peet for your emerging friendship this year. Your loving advocacy for a just world I admire, though I worry it takes too much of you. It DOES make a difference, even if it's too slow day to day to see it.

To Nico Vassilakis and Robert Mittenthal for inviting me into Seattle poetry. I'm getting there slowly--literally. I deeply appreciate--and look forward to--our talks, even if I seem like I don't due to taking so long to come back. I-5 isn't the best excuse, so I'll stop with it.

To Robert Kocik for not just inspiring me for years now, but for your recent, kind, and so deeply considered correspondence. I apologize for taking so long getting back to you. To such a giving set of thoughts regarding what we are both obviously so passionate about.

To Will Owen for your invites and constant support of my work. And for your much appreciated support as of late. And, of course, for letting me use you as one of the windows into Vancouver poetry and politics. Reg, Aaron--such amazing people.

To Paige Clifton-Steele for last-second reading AND curating our last PRESS event, and to Megan Bontempo and Giana D'Emilio for doing ALL that running around and helping last-second for same. It fits an overall pattern.

To Lionel Lints. You are one of the best distractions. And one of the most loving people. Not a common combo. Thank you.

To James Yeary for going with the flow and collaborating on the spot with me. Great sport. Excellent impromptu performer and writer. Let's do that again?

To C.J. Martin, thanks for your well wishes, and for the amazing quotes you kept digging up.

To Reb Livingston for your note and for fixing my errors!

To B.T. Shaw for reaching out when we read together--your advice is still resonant, thank you.

To Sarah Mangold for being there from Oct onward, for your kind notes. It was great to finally see you again when you came out for the Maledetto performance. The conservative poetry anthology--I'm on it if you are.

To Robin Tremblay-McGaw for the well wishes and the updates regarding mutual friends, not to mention Bay Area poetry.

To Meghan and Caitlin Doyle for taking care of my father and I. For all the food. I'm sorry for your recent troubles. If I was a better friend I'd have known about them. Hang in there.

To Clay Banes for all your help over at SPD. And of course to everyone at SPD. But Clay, you've been so responsive and don't get the props often enough, I'm sure. And your recent note--thank you.

To all friends over at FB who sent their condolences, thank you. It meant a lot.

To everyone in the collaborative performance group--you're outstanding.

To McKenzine Carrigan for your recent note of condolences--I'm sorry I didn't write you back a much needed thanks.

And to my students this past semester--thank you for sticking with me and picking up the slack.

Because I've been so distracted and depressed there are doubtless several friends that have been reaching out to me and that I forgot to acknowledge here. I hope you know that I love and appreciate you. And that, more importantly, I'm resolved this year to express that more often, and more directly.


  1. & to you for being such a great person. may your new year be a good one

  2. Lars! Oh, so good to hear from you friend. Ah, this is why I wondered whether to write this. I forgot to mention you, since you did send a kind note on FB, which I really appreciated. I've been meaning to write an Ungovernable Press update--since several wonderfuls are now published over there. I'll do so soon. Shoot me an email, tell me how you are dong? I wrote the above now because I'm stirring finally, so tho it may seem odd to say this, I'll write back! My best to you from across the ocean. Did I send you a copy of Occultations? If not I forgot to--and so do send your address bakchannel when you get the chance, since I would have lost that by now too--ugh. Very good to hear from you, though! In Solidarity, david

  3. "Tell me how you are dong?" HeeHee. Yikes--no name calling intended. Um, "doing"? Happy new year to you as well...

  4. Oh, my dear man. Thank YOU for the only year-end list I wanted to read. You're one of the top humans I know, and we've barely had a chance to chat. Here's to 2011 and more chances--xoXtian

  5. Christian--likewise & agreed! I owe you an email, which I'm glad about, since I'd love to know how things are going with you. For those more chances! So, soon. Meantime, really, thanks. solidarity, d

  6. Much love to you David. I do your pulse meditation in the workshops I have started and it feels like one of the clearest, brightest, most open-ended tools I got in 2010. Happy New Year.

  7. What a beautiful post, David. Thanks to you for posting my little blog moment, and above all, have a very good 2011, full of joy and good grieving. I mean that. aloha, Susan

  8. Amber, thank you for that, & much love to you. And for generating such stirring viz. the Nonsite talk dating, what, back to 2007 now? FYI: thoroughly loved yr Tarpaulin Sky prose piece, which I discovered last month. Looking forward to seeing you again--will be catching Nonsite curricular events (hopefully?) when I get to the Bay this winter and/or this spring (two trips).

    Susan, thank you. I aim to have a good 2011 and feel myself stirring for the first time in a couple months, so that's good. But so beautiful and spot-on your insistence for a year of grieving. That's precisely what I need be doing, and so with it comes the post above. I love that quote of yours. Kaia and I last time we spoke (Oct) talked about how prolific, but also writing with such amazing thought, you are. I mean the books, poetry & poetics, of course. But each blog post we agreed is an essay for any number of us. Aloha, & happy new year...

    XO & solidarity both, d