Solid Quarter

Visit Trembling Pillow Press for poetry books, broadsides, chapbooks, and Solid Quarter Magazine.

Visit New Orleans Poetry Fest for the annual 4 day poetry festival directed by Bill Lavender and Megan Burns.

Megan Burns' Poeticsofbone&city project on Tumblr



Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Will lack of touch induce a failure to thrive?






Day 4


committed/ i fold down my fiery wings & listen:
“Parts of the levee system were either topped or failed, leaving up to 80% of the city under water.” What do you do at 6:10 AM. Where were you when you heard the news. Where did you grow up. Where did you go to school. Do you think there will be a Mardi Gras. Can you locate New Orleans on a map a hundred years from now.  Once there was a city now underwater. We call it home.


*************************


Process Notes: 

“the habit of photographers seeing – of looking at the world as an array of potential photographs – creates estrangement from, rather than union with, nature”
-Susan Sontag

the devotional target goal is to post each piece by 6:10AM, then meditate for 30 minutes, then do a ritual energy clearing directed towards the GPS coordinates of the area of that day coalescing in a 31 day city wide healing reciprocity to the city from my body. if i imagine this makes any difference to the world, am i a form of crazy. is it hysterical in this world to only believe in love. or how have you ever known anyone has ever loved you. or how has no one ever loved me as much as i love this city. or has this city's love created within me a strange capacity to love all things broken and abandoned. and who among us is not.

Photograph:

Picture of New Orleans east sidewalk in the rear view mirror of my brother’s car


30° 1' 56.053" N     90° 1' 0.797" W


My brother was born in New Orleans east at the same hospital where my first daughter was born; it was destroyed by Katrina. After the storm, my brother and I went to the house where we grew up and walked through the abandoned decay. The tiles were visible through the mud, and I remembered them from childhood. Now the house is occupied, and the above ground pool is gone. The tree house my dad built in the oak, gone. The fence we put up for the dogs is still there and the shed where I used to climb on the roof. When I was 13 years old, I used to watch my brother while my mom worked after my dad moved out. After he would fall asleep, I would go in the backyard and smoke one cigarette behind the shed thinking, one day, I’m going to get out of this place. one day…

“Securely attached kids learn the difference between situations they can control and situations where they need help. They learn that they can play an active role when faced with difficult situations. In contrast, children with histories of abuse and neglect learn that their terror, pleading and crying do not register with their caregiver…they’re being conditioned to give up when they face challenges later in life”
-The Body Keeps the Score

“relationships extending curiously throughout space and time… spooky action at a distance”
– Einstein

“entanglement between particles exists everywhere, all the time…”
– Michael Brooks

“Even with high intelligence there is the always the risk of becoming overwhelmed by the persistent state of expanded perception. “
- Dean Radin

listening to the radio in the days following the levee breaks, i remember the story of a mother on a roof who waited for anyone to rescue them and during the night, the baby slipped from her arms into the muddy water that surrounded them. she couldn't swim. the child lost. an island of what takes us is this city. how do you not go into the water. how do you not go into the underworld looking for your dead. how long it has taken me to understand how thin these veils are that appear to separate us and how often we are crossing. and why is there afraid. we can never be lost to one another. there is nowhere to go. these are the ways we survive the nightmares we have constructed here, the types of suffering we dreamed up to make life "matter." we imagined all of this terror and inside of this terrific image, we forgot it was only us in the cave watching our own shadow dance on the wall.


can you hear me//who can hear me// can i hear what i am saying yet// [echo]


Plague Journal:

5.21.20

inside Notley’s poem Eurynome’s Sandals- it feels like she is inside my head, writing to me, inside my thoughts & then she writes about telepathy, being in another’s thoughts and can we get so crystal clear, can we tap into the vessel of language so clearly we share one poetry making mind, or sometimes how it feels when you are in love, and you feel like the other person can hear you, can know what you need, as if you are tethered, is that a type of being open to receive do we make the future with our mutual desire. can you be in a space with someone eclipsed of your need. if you drink poison by mistake, the “mistake” won’t save your life.

“When people begin to argue about doing things instead of doing them, they become absolutely impossible”
– A. Crowley

reality exists only in accordance with what you choose to observe

i have to get to the future to finish the poem that saves me from the past



Notes from the Channel: 





Resources: https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-is-a-medical-and-financial-disaster-for-blacks-in-new-orleans-11590226200

Monday, August 03, 2020

Did we create a model for America?





Day 3:

Time is a problem. If we run it fast enough, it seems solid. We seem solid. This city too should hold; we hold our breath.  Come now, don’t be afraid. This is the end of the story, and we are running backwards.  We have survived this already. We have lost everything and returned. We have abandoned hope and still suddenly, we have found the other shore beneath our feet. Did we ask the right questions. Has your life been a truth or an elaborate fiction? Can we return again. We can return again.


********************************************

Process Notes: 


time is a problem. 

when i was a little girl we would climb to the top of the rocket ship playground equipment in Kenilworth park. i remember this was where my best friend told me about the word: cunt. we lived behind each other and would cut through the neighbor’s yard to hop the fence to knock on each other’s doors to play. the house on the corner across from the park sold cold cups for a solid quarter: strawberry or grape. when i recall my dreams sometimes, i dream about this block. these inner maps are stable across time. 

“Traumatized people simultaneously remember too little and too much.” 

“the organism itself also has a problem knowing how to feel safe” 

-The Body Keeps the Score


Photograph: 

Kenilworth park in New Orleans east 
30.0344° N, 90.0137° W


The eastern section of New Orleans, colloquially known as "New Orleans East" or simply "The East," is the newest section of the city. Eastern New Orleans is bounded by the Industrial Canal, the Intracoastal Waterway and Lake Pontchartrain. Developed extensively from the 1960s onward, its numerous residential subdivisions and shopping centers offered suburban-style living within the city limits of New Orleans. Its overall character is today decidedly suburban, resembling the archetypal postwar American suburb much more than the compactly-built environment found in the city's historic core. Before Hurricane Katrina Eastern New Orleans had begun to suffer from disinvestment and urban decay. The flooding subsequent to Katrina, which affected almost the entire area, accelerated this trend, particularly in the retail sector. Numerous national chains present and operating in August 2005 opted not to reopen their stores and restaurants. Approximately 85,000 residents inhabit Eastern New Orleans today, representing a small decline from the area's peak population of 95,000 inhabitants recorded by the 2000 Census.
Source: from Wikipedia


Plague journal: 

5.10.20

the thing about empty space is that we know instinctively, it’s not empty at all. and yet the emptiness of all of it is also a truth from inside us. 

the balance of objects corners us. we tread both in spaces where we are and where we are not as we imagine there’s nothing i cannot occupy. uncounted hours. primary feathers in winged tellings. & toward framework, a pondering, still dark work. teach me not a new language. teach me a new tempo for danger, what seems still within reach. anything we see inhabits a choice of not seeing something else. observe like an underworld, we travel shadowed. how can a book be like a wheel? 


Maps from the Channel:



Resource: https://youtu.be/uD90KhVV_Jw
BEVERLY KIMBLE DAVIS is a New Orleans Katrina artist who is on a mission to tell the many untold stories of what really happened during and after the flood. Beverly uses her canvas to graphically tell the stories of people and events you've never read about nor ever seen on television.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Is tradition a verb?

























Day 2:

Patience brings you closer to reality. You ask how to breathe like a worm under soil watery, what floats in memory. You take it out. You put it back. You can close your eyes, and still smell the way the photos ran on the walls. You can smell a city of death inside you always. What miracle you are now. What fire carried you on the surface from there to this new paradise of absurd infrastructure, designed to fail, you ask. Is a city designed to always break?






**************************************
Process Notes:


I was 28 years old when Katrina & the federal levee failure destroyed New Orleans. I had a 2 year old daughter and I was 4 months pregnant with my son. I had just bought my first house. We packed for 3 days when we evacuated. I wouldn’t go back to the house for 2 years. I think if that woman could survive then I must be able to survive now. But maybe I survived then because I survived now. Perhaps, I was writing the survival of myself now and it depends on what I am able to hold here more than there.


what we forget to attend to
is what isn’t there
what is invisible

it seems ] what seems]
         [ever since    [we met
inside the matrix]
         a lot has been shutting down
[first me
             ] first me
         now [now] the world


Final Symptoms that emerge in PTSD:

excessive shyness
muted or diminished emotional response
inability to make commitments
chronic fatigue or very low physical energy
immune system problems
psychosomatic illnesses
depression, feelings of impending doom
feelings of detachment, alienation, and isolation
diminished interest in life
fear of dying, going crazy or having a shortened life
frequent crying
abrupt mood swings
exaggerated or diminished sex drive
amnesia and forgetfulness
feelings and behaviors of helplessness
inability to love, nurture or bond with others
difficulty with sleep
reduced ability to deal with stress

-Walking the Tiger


Photograph: 
A brick wall with weeds growing out of it taken near the Bayouk ChoupicBayou St. John
29.9755° N, 90.0852° W


“The word bayou comes from bayuk, meaning minor streams in the language spoken by the Choktaw, believed to have been one of the Native American nation-groups that inhabited this area before the Europeans settled here. The Native Americans called the bayou area Bayouk Choupic, after the mudfish, and built thatched homes near its bank.  Groups from the Chapitoulas nation are thought to be the first to inhabit the area. Another nation-group, the Choctaw had noted the advantages of living near this waterway and transported food and other goods on the bayou. They also traveled to the Mississippi River, by way of the bayou and a path now called Bayou Road. Ultimately, a trading village was established at Bayouk Choupic and Bayou Road.”


“It all started the year after the storm, residents say. If the bayou was unsightly before Katrina, it was even bleaker right after. Floodwaters were pumped out of the city, but sluice gates were still closed, which caused low water levels in the bayou and high salinity, according to the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. That wrought damage on the bayou’s already compromised environment, and exposed the tires, drowned cars and shopping carts that had been trapped in the water.”

 


Helicopter crashed near Bayou St. John, 2005












Bricks & Environmental Contamination:

Currently, the use of brick has remained steady, at around seven to nine billion a year, down from the 15 billion used annually during the early 1900s. In an effort to increase demand, the brick industry continues to explore alternative markets and to improve quality and productivity. Fuel efficiency has also improved, and by the year 2025 brick manufacturers may even be firing their brick with solar energy. However, such changes in technology will occur only if there is still a demand for brick.
Even if this demand continues, the brick industry both here and abroad faces another challenge: it will soon be forced to comply with environmental regulations, especially in the area of fluorine emissions. Fluorine, a byproduct of the brickmaking process, is a highly reactive element that is dangerous to humans. Long-term exposure can cause kidney and liver damage, digestive problems, and changes in teeth and bones, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has consequently established maximum exposure limits. To lessen the dangers posed by fluorine emissions, brickworks can install scrubbers, but they are expensive. While some plants have already installed such systems, the U.S. brick industry is trying to play a more important role in developing less expensive emissions testing methods and establishing emission limits. If the brick industry cannot persuade federal regulators to lower their requirements, it is quite possible that the industry could shrink in size, as some companies cannot afford to comply and will go out of business.



“The dreamer in his corner wrote off the world in a detailed daydream that destroyed, one by one, all the objects in the world”  -Bachelard, Poetics of Space

“Tradition can be a verb. It isn’t over yet. It hasn’t become history yet.” -Johnny Vidacovich


Plague Journal:
5.7.20

dear unica: do you remember seven years in the bardo? how we jumped, fled like an angel. winged our way out here. do you recall the in between. dreaming of dolls & men. how we trapped ourselves in the image. strap now to a life of carry: father in the exotic & mommy gone away & what of being bound to a brother. how we rewrite all narratives. shaving it down. did we murder the airwaves with our talk of revenge. tell me, even now do you love the extra pages of blank days till we outnumber time itself & what did we war within….


Resources: 


Saturday, August 01, 2020

Is reconstruction making a real difference in people's lives?

Day 1

This is where I died.  There are a lot of reasons to go into the river.  But to come up a resurrected brick by brick, masked face to desire, and I was culled to that mapping. Have you ever loved a city such; I would you deny me this reincarnation. I would you tell me this story from the ending, we always begin there, words spill the past. Death is the entire mirror. Death, the only song it seems we can hear anymore, and this cornering lisps, the way my hand slipped off the rail. Once you fly, can you land again?





***********************************

Process Notes: 


Sound is the first and last sensory experience of the body. 

“the right side of the cortex is crucial for perceiving pitch as well as certain aspects of melody, timbre, and rhythm…. The left side of the brain in most people excels at processing rapid changes in frequency and intensity, both in music and words.” 
–Mark Traimo

if the poem itself is a code: a line of code slipped into time, so in the future you could pull it out then it must also be true, that in order to survive  i must now construct the form that moves in this time over that one, a palimpsest of language and movement that forms the survival of a me i left behind 15 years ago. that is to say, i am the rescuer who pulls me thru.

“When people are compulsively and constantly pulled back into the past to the last time they felt intense involvement and deep emotions, they suffer from a failure of imagination, a loss of mental flexibility –without imagination there is no hope, no chance to envision a better future, no place to go, no goal to reach”  
-The Body Keeps the Score

fuck hope. 


Photograph:
A picture of the letter A taken on the Mandeville Wharf at Crescent park on the Mississippi river with the city scape in the background: It’s called an “urban linear park” as it hugs the shore of the Mississippi. 


Latitude 29.961241 Longitude -90.045469
Elevation 3.901 DMS Lat 29° 57' 40.4676'' N
DMS Lng 90° 2' 43.6884'' W GeoHASH 9vrfqyqbukpu5
UTM Zone 15R UTM Easting 785132.039763373
UTM Northing 3318163.99271297 Time Zone America/Chicago
Country United States State  Louisiana (LA)

In 2014, Crescent Park opened. The park—a 1.4 mile, 20-acre stretch of linear park—hugs the shore of the Mississippi River and runs through the Bywater. The park was conceived post-Katrina by investor and hotelier (International House) Sean Cummings. Cummings was the director of the New Orleans Building Corporation, the city agency that oversees municipal property. He assembled a crack team of architects, landscaping experts and designers to create the park in 2008, so it was under construction for eight years before it finally opened.


The Mandeville Crossing, a pedestrian ramp beginning at N. Peters St. and Elysian Fields, floats over the protective floodwall and train tracks — providing a literal, visual connection to the Mississippi River — and plunges into the roof of the Mandeville Shed, a raw event space which reflects the area’s original commercial character. The crossing in tandem with the shed simultaneously create a direct connection to the park and to the wharf structure, establishing a front porch for unmatched views of the city and the Mississippi River.

Source: https://www.reinventingthecrescent.org/phases/phase-1/design/ 

Sketch design:


A return to the Mississippi River for the city of New Orleans, sparked by Hurricane Katrina which struck the city in August 2005, causing so much damage and heartbreak. With a view to reconstructing this resilient city, also considering future weather events, the Crescent Park project is part of an extensive master plan that envisages a new and greener future for New Orleans and its riverfront. As the city's first new riverfront park in 30 years, it is a response to the city's need to reclaim its sense of place and origin, to remember its industrial and maritime past, and to give locals and visitors a new resource.



Letter A: 

Cuneiform A from the Epic of Gilgamesh: The Sumerogram: Akkadian for mû,[1] "water", which is used in the Gilgamesh flood myth, Chapter XI of the Epic, or other passages.



A History of the letter A. 

Egyptian hieroglyphic writing (1) gave way to early Semitic writing (about 1500 BCE) on the Sinai Peninsula (2). About 1000 BCE, in Byblos and other Phoenician and Canaanite centres, the sign was given a linear form (3), the source of all later forms. In Semitic languages this sign was called aleph, meaning “ox.” The Greeks used the sign for the vowel a, changing its name to alpha. They used several forms of the sign, including the ancestor of the English capital A (4). The Romans incorporated this sign into Latin, and it is the source of the English form. The English small a first took shape in Greek handwriting in a form (5) similar to the present English capital letter. About the 4th century CE this was given a circular shape with a projection (6). This shape was the parent of both the English handwritten character (7) and the printed small (8). 
Source: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.



Plague Journal:

3.20.20

funny how you think one disaster will replace another. your seat at the table kept ready. it does not matter what you carry in. once it was new orleans, now it is all of us. we live day to day like post-K but less scent of death in the air. once we were yellow fever here. once we were this virus too. see how time flattens. we stroll round and round the park. watch nature adjust to our absence. & i adjust to absence of touch, like i cannot hold or hope now, like i was beginning to emerge, to pull up and now we go under, i was anew. we uploaded our entire lives and then we were expendable. it taught us how to forget to be human. all the hours you stared at a screen instead of another human, instead of life… now we are bound to looking. [authenticity as place holder] i thought maybe it mattered to you where i came from but maybe it doesn’t


Resources:

http://galleryofthestreets.org/ten-years-post-katrina/




Saturday, July 25, 2020

NEW ORLEANS: 2005-2020





a new and deeper memorial
set where water not rising 
will not go


“What does it all come down to?  love?  Love…”
e.e. cummings 


15 years of shatter
a ritual in survive 
31 days 





uploading in 7 days....

via




Thursday, July 09, 2020

LANGUAGE


when all this temporary undoes us

part of love is creating a new sound
thrust forward seemingly from nothing
now we part desire, a grasping that includes
holding loss, for every word is marked
its beginning and its ending particular in time

what is an echo of an echo, you can’t forever
shadow ban potential, and if i let go swiftly
will you know that is also love, if i let go
and never return, will you know it was always

whisper, aloof, whisper, fantasy, whisper en-
tanglement, pour illusion into chaos and what
different souping of design do you muster
not passion, but compassion was the breaking
i was most interested in, what’s the depth
we can hold. we consider the sand pouring through
our cupped palms far longer than we ponder that
what it pours through is not us at all

language betrays but look how we built
a small float of laughter and comfort
in an ocean of loss and disappointment
what of that, scream into the well: what
of these memories.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Cave of Hands



i am in love with things unbearable

press palms against the womb wall
as if to say i exist & can you handle me
to obliterate anonymous, before the word
before the outline of the body
to say: here inside i hold the sound of my naming

layered into patterns, the wheat threshed design
circles 8 fold geometry etched the fire of existence
open that portal to death before us

look at my hands, she says, removing all of her rings
beauty is not ours to decide, i say, how long will we
be able to hold on to this life

none of this life on earth is guaranteed

temporary imprint. each shadow. each bond
of love we wrap tightly around the heart

i pull it forward.

to poet is beyond a lifetime of survive for me.
my hands are on the wall. i have always been here.
i can smell the cave. i can hear the echo of our blood
rushing as the fire dances & we catch and name
the world itself a keen knife slicing

take this too inside your conscious hide
no one can stop the flow of love

your magic is an indivisible and unconditional
belief in life, in the self replicating beauty of the universe
in the patterns’ ability to self regulate and that we must
absolutely learn to let go.

let go and let sound loose from you into a cave
of hands held for eternity: what are we allowed
to do with time.