Solid Quarter

Blood Jet Poetry Series in New Orleans, weekly poetry and music as well as open mic performances

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Monday, July 24, 2017

"....orbiting around the Big Dicks..."

Dear Chris:

You said: as if sex can provide the missing clues….
I’ve been meditating for a long time now and the more stable I become I wonder if it is ruining my art. I mean, how does hysteria help us.. get there… how to embody that Kali energy… is there another side to come out on.

I stopped having sex a few months ago because I got tired of fucking strangers… and by tired, I don’t mean really tired, because I loved it. I never got bored fucking strangers, but it’s like eating chocolate cake with every meal. You don’t start hating chocolate-- it’s just you reach a point where you want something else for dessert.  And what’s the alternative to meaningless sex. Is it love?

Is it nothing. I thought maybe I’ll save all of that energy for my art. But my horoscope last week read that this was a bad idea. It literally said not having sex is bad for me … I’m an Aquarius with a rising Sagittarius and the tarot card reading I did last week-- to see if I would ever reunite with my ex-love-- came up 3 of swords, popping out of the deck before I even did the spread. How can you argue with that? So I stopped talking to him at all.

I don’t think you should ignore signs. It’s all signs isn’t it Chris? Like now it’s just you and me here.

Two girls. Two Women. Two Bodies with Holes. Two Body Suits talking about art.

I’m gonna try to not think about fucking you just yet. Because I want to take it slow.
I think about fucking almost everyone I meet. Is that normal? Is it because sex provides a clue (..... LOL to the fucking bank, Barthes...) ...we need to know how the other sees us? Do I even exist if no one wants to fuck me?

Let’s talk about hysteria and its aesthetic. Is it even necessary to say female here?

I saw a review online that described I Love Dick as vomiting on the page.
Proust isn’t vomiting on the page. DH Lawrence isn’t vomiting on the page. Fucking Milton is not a vomitorium of morality. Faulkner is certainly not vomiting and jerking off at the same time. Hemingway is never diarrhea. They are all the opposite of expulsion from the body. They are the insertion into the body. Only hysterics vomit it out, take it out of the body and put it on view.

The monster under the bed is only scary because we know
a) that the monster exists
b) we know the monster is in the room with us
c) currently we cannot see the monster, but at any moment it may come into view

Free from the Salpêtrière: where are the hysterics contained?

I read another review of I Love Dick where the reviewer seemed offended that at some point the author was performing “art” and not life. That at some point, Chris, you became self aware of your hysterics and decided to make it art. Decided to create something bigger than your self. Decided…. to shed the helplessness of female passivity and step into your person suit of autonomy shoving aside your role to be an emotional caretaker to those men whose lives you circled… you… you….. monster….You made something with your name on it. You are practically a real girl now.

“…anything that is repeated so emphatically must always be suspected of being a kind of denial or refusal of awareness…” – Luce Irigaray

When I wrote Basic Programming  I spent a year fucking strangers to learn about how attachment works inside me so I could write poetry. I used these men’s bodies to write poems because I’m a genius.

I used these men’s bodies to write poems because I am Genius. Just like you, Chris. Just like Augustine writhing under the gaze of a man thinking he was going to tell us what it means to be hysterical. Going to measure it out. Going to take a picture of it in practice. Going to note the symptoms and the treatments. Going to be left holding my limp "dick" in my hands when that bird called Augustine flies away… monster us all. Wait long enough, and I’ll write you an ending that really matters. Write enough letters to free us all.

That’s why I’m writing to you, Chris. There’s not enough written to counter the tide yet.

“… the less we see and recognize… the more powerful and insidious is the fiction at work…” –Luce Irigaray

So let’s see each other. Let’s see how we are hysteria and not how it is told to us. Can a woman create without a man? Can a woman create art without a man? Come into the menstrual hut with me. Our womb, our hystere…in the menstrual hut: we examine the “logos” outside the spectacle, we erase through repetition, the way a poem sings into existence a type of life forgotten. A poem rivets on the image, images seep into the gateways of our sensory perception and tell us how to structure the world. Hysteria is the counterpoint of control defined by the hegemony: image of what you are allowed to be and how you want to be perceived.

 We have been asleep.

But it’s all in there. It’s all inside there, under the “bed.” It’s 2017 and we are still waiting on a discourse on female anal eroticism… [how can it be, Eve?]

Where is our tree? My spirit animal is a snake. A fucking snake.... I wanted a wolf or a crow, but there we are, sexed in the clues all the way fucking down a rabbit hole of metaphors. I imagine you are soft. I imagine we lay together on the bed and look at plastic stars affixed to the roof of the hut, and the animals come in and we each take turns naming them. 

There's no getting away from the body. There's no getting away from the sex of the body. There's just far enough we can reach with our fingers. There's just far enough we can get inside. The contraction of the uterus when it bleeds, the contraction of the vagina as it cums, the beat of the heart and the poem:  a space waiting to be filled universes inside us... count me in words not yet delineated to square off the medium of what now communicates between... count off till I'm allowed to let go. 

Sex isn't at all like making art, is it? 


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Do we all get a Dick?

Dear Chris:

I have a Dick too. His name is even four letters long and starts with a D.

I met him on Fetlife and we slept together a few time, went on a few dates and then he decided we should just be friends. I was infatuated already though, thought I was in love with him. I started writing this book about infatuation. I left poems on his porch. We stayed friends. It turns out he hates women. We have these long tedious debates about feminism. He often says… “all women…” and when I point out that I don’t do that and I am a woman, he’ll say, “you’re an exception.” So maybe, I am not a woman because I don’t perform all of the acts that women perform that allow him to both hate them but also sexualize them in a way that he can’t with me because I act like what, … a man?

Of course, I would fall in love with a man who hates women. I’ve been programmed my whole life to save that broken bird.

I kept writing my book and thinking about attachments and obsession and strangers. I met my Dick by trying to be less attached to the man I was having an affair with, and I fell in love with my Dick while the man I was living with moved out and left me. And I thought now I just have to write this book and understand the way I attach to people and by people, I mean men. So, I started fucking a lot of strangers and watching how, in some cases, I felt no attachment after the fact and in some, I felt an enormous misplaced attachment. I realized my Dick was the perfect muse. I was writing this book to him, to seduce him, which is to say, to seduce myself; art being first and foremost a facet of narcissism: To solidify what I feel in language as poetry has done for centuries/repetition a  masturbatory act, love only really occurring in the confines of the idea. Lacan is right (write?)  when he says sex is always narcissistic.  It’s a thin line between the desire to please for your own pleasure and that moment when it is crossed, and you believe someone is taking advantage of you for their own pleasure; it means they are receiving more pleasure than you and that’s not what you signed up for, doesn’t it? The narcissism of using an "other" body in which to enact our desires, our pleasures up to the point where we perceive the reciprocity is off, then the balance of two narcissistic acts becomes unstable. I’m not talking about abuse, but the more subtle moment. You know, the moment when you keep blowing a guy because it takes him forever to get there, and sometimes you love that and sometimes you just want to throat punch him. Or the moment you know that it’s taking you a long time but you just don’t care because patriarchy….  or insert whatever gender roles you want in the examples and as many bodies as you want, because the metaphor remains consistent. Even exclusive of orgasmic conclusion, any physical or even media based sexual act is the desire to be seen and to be wanted by the other -outside of a sexual economy-   the desire to fulfill our desires enacted on a body not our own, conceptualized in a body not our own, various in a body not as familiar as our own. 

It’s selfish, even when we sugar coat it with the Disney premise of romantic love, even when we believe all we want is to please our partners, deep down we know the line is there, we know the minute it’s been crossed and because the line exists, ultimately, we have created a boundary around what sex is for, what is our end goal.

Sex in all of its permutations remains of the body and of pleasure when not abusive—which is not sex, but violence manifesting against our bodies in a sexualized way—and therefore subject to the illusion of our senses, the distortion by which we can write many kinds of fictions all over it. And we grow tired of all our desires… which is why we created romantic love as Lacan also points out. Desire only takes us so far…. but it’s everything in the writing. It’s a fire, isn’t it… unrequited desire. What I wouldn’t say to make you want me?

I am the I of the body and the I of the mind and the I of the Story; the story of I.

Chris, I have this fantasy. I have this fantasy on one end where the muse is replaced by the Dick. That we all get our Dicks and write like our minds are on fire. We put Dick in the role of the muse: passive, ethereal, angelic phallus in the house. And the other end that I tread even closer towards is the menstrual hut. I want to get back into the bleeding of it. I want to know a world written only from the vacuum of what occurs in the menstrual hut. I want discourse only of what is in the menstrual hut. I want art only made in the menstrual hut. I want language only created in the menstrual hut. I want to know what that world looks like… I want to have never known that there was a Dick we were measuring up against. Can we imagine that kind of universe… my book became about programming. How we are all programmed in our responses, in our attachments, in every thing we know about love. And if that is true, then we can break our coding/ we can hack into our own known variables and we can code anew… I think we can get back into the menstrual hut. I think we can learn to create out of the menstrual hut effectively erasing the fictions of history that program how we use our senses to make art.
I think our lives depend on it. I think it's something we remember, can remember, it's located in our DNA. This world inside our consciousness that erases any DICK that comes before the womb. It's our hysterical future.

More soon,


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Who Doesn't Love Dick

Dear Chris:
 what happens when we begin to think about consciousness…
 the way art is made. what is desire. the name for our product. our vehicle. the design for our liking.
 I’ve been reading women artists for decades… what does that make me. I’ve sat under the influence of women writers for decades….
 what kind of monster box are we in.  (there's nothing to see here)
 still in the boomerang of deflection, even as we speak to each other, we are still speaking against others… but now, let’s chat. Just you and me, Chris, about what it means to use words. and images. to say anything.

Season 1 Episode 1:


Nine percent of films directed by women means 91 percent directed by men.

This is my office

in the beginning, there was the womb.

the closet off of the bedroom, the womb space… it’s tight, cramped, cramping

we see it.

the phallus in the guise of a peeled banana in the reflection while the two women talk in the doorway of Chris’ office… the phallus ever present...  we, always trapped in its reflection.

Hidden Mickeys in a Disney Film.

Enter Hysteria:

At 3 minutes and 52 seconds in,  we get the first hysterical episode. The monster is so loud she alerts the neighbors, she evades reason, she throws her body about, arms flailing, she messes up her hair. The scene cut into stills to capture the female body in its messiness, its natural habitat.

-as horrified you see yourself invented-

Look at her. She de-monstrates.

Introducing Toby: beautiful ingénue

(with underarm hair)  Toby exposes her underarm hair while undercutting Sylvere’s technique of impressing women with his travels. She tops him. He can’t help but wince when he sees a soft tuft of reddish hair beneath her arm, a hairy pussy laughing at him… too much beauty provokes anxiety, or the bewildering moment when Freud states: a surprise to learn from analysis that girls hold their mother responsible for their lack of a penis….

We sweat out all the wilderness left in us 

Toby is everything Chris is not. We are asked to compare. We are asked to contrast. We are always asked to hold one woman against another, aren’t we?

What spectacle licks our faces in theater dark?

Penis-Envy as Aesthetic

"The pleasure gained from touching, caressing, parting the lips and vulva simply does not exist for Freud." 

In this scene, Dick will play the role of Dr. Charcot and Chris will play the role of Augustine in the great hospital of mad women: Salpêtrière.

Dr Charcot: Augustine, you don’t want to be well. If you wanted to be well, you would be. It’s just a question of desire. A question of want and you don’t have it.

Augustine: (redacted)

“The gaze has always been involved.

Now the little girl, the woman, supposedly has nothing you can see. She exposes, exhibits the possibility of a nothing to see. Or at any rate she shows nothing that is penis-shaped or could substitute for a penis.” 

Dr. Charcot leans over to Freud (here played by Sylvere) Is she any good?

Sally Potter, Jane Campion, Chantal Akerman

Is she any good? Is she any good? Is she any good?

Woman on film bends over, the lead positions himself behind her. This is how it works, he tells her. I want you and so I know you want me, even if you do not know it.

Sally Potter on why she doesn’t call Orlando a feminist film: "I have come to the conclusion that I can't use that term in my work. Not because of a disavowal of the underlying principles that gave birth to that word – the commitment to liberation, dignity, equality. But it has become a trigger word that stops people's thinking. You literally see people's eyes glaze over with exhaustion when the word flashes into the conversation." Frilot, Shari (Summer 1993). "Sally Potter". BOMB (44): 30–35.

I made a movie about my life. The opening shot a polluted river, the closing shot my daughter’s eye

“Campion was a month away from having won the Palme d'Or. She was two weeks away from giving birth to her first child, a son whose presence was already inescapable in the Sydney apartment she shares with her husband, Colin Englert, a television producer and director. The baby's crib was set up in Englert's small office, and Campion lifted her billowy white shirt once to stare at her swollen belly. "Is he kicking?" her visitor asked. "Mmmmm," she answered, lost for a moment in that curious bubble that encloses the pregnant.” Mary Cantwell (Sept. 1993)
 “Jane Campion’s Lunatic Women” New York Times

Jasper, Jane’s son, lived 10 days with medical support, and then she brought him home to die.

That the quiet in a house swims as film in its emulsion, image rising

“I won’t say  I’m a feminist film-maker…I’m not making women’s films. I’m making Chantal Akerman’s films” (London, 1979) –C. Akerman

Within the doctrine of unclean hands, her shame is made clear as a metallic ringing in the ear.

“Here again the little girl will have to act like the little boy, feel the same urge to see, look in the same way, and her resentment at not having a penis must follow and corroborate the horrified astonishment the little boy feels when faced with the strangeness of the nonidentical, the nonidentifiable.”

  Dick swallowed by womb

"in other words, is it possible that the phobia aroused in man, and notably in Freud, by the uncanny strangeness of the "nothing to be seen" cannot tolerate her not having this 'envy'?" 

There's nothing to see here.

…and what else is a line of verse but a casting and recasting of the inside of the body?


Let us not neglect the fact that the historical analysis of women's sexuality hinges on the gaze of the man and the hysteric's desire to please the man at any cost, to be seen; for why come to analysis at all if one cannot the seduce the viewer into seeing what they most desire to see. 

SUBJECT TO DESIRE : "A problem to be solved by putting the Phallus at the beginning, and at the end."


dear: Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick
images: I Love Dick (Jill Soloway and Sarah Gubbins) Amazon Video
italics: Rag by Julie Carr (Omnidawn, 2014)
highlighted text: "The Blind Spot of an Old Dream of Symmetry" Speculum of the Other Woman by Luce Irigaray (trans. by Gillian Gill) Cornell Univ, 1985 (orig pub 1974)

Friday, October 07, 2016

DAy 7: See the Turtle


The park disappeared. The world went dark. She was a black woman, still young and undoubtedly beautiful, sitting on a park bench beside a fountain and a metal turtle with a wet and gleaming shell. She might have been meditating on this warm late-spring afternoon in the year of 1999.

And, had she not stopped to listen to the man playing the guitar, who knows how much of what followed might have been different?

She falls forward into the darkness and the soft beeping of machinery and the last voice she hears is that of Walter Cronkite, telling her Diem and Nhu are dead, astronaut Alan Shephard is dead, Lyndon Johnson is dead, Rock Hudson is dead, Roland of Gilead is dead, Eddie of New York is dead, Jake of New York is dead, the world is dead, the worlds, the Tower is falling, a trillion universes are merging, and all is Discordia, all is ruin, all is ended.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Day 6: UnFound

Stanza 3:

gods, ghosts, visitations
                   but fuck
        Susannah Dean
              all at once the world seemed very thin to her

a turtle shell gleaming
                   tipping further and further
         her idea of how things worked had changed
               swinging sign said WALK again 

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Day 5: Let's Go

Stanza 2: 3-5

this is delicate work
the door: greedy, stubborn, self involved
Does thee understand?
bone residue: powdery
spoke briefly: finish the circle
unguarded, old man mouths
magnets of narrow crystal
magic thick, spark to idle talk
or into darkness, any door ever passed
an end more desperate, a second look when
they did let go, I think, grow dark and dangerous
hands parted, clearing the path, twirled twice
once you were a wandering man
before the floor sloped god's name 

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Day 4: Dark Glass

Stanza 2

Susannah mostly slept, still impossibly distant, raw
no word of apology could be enough
river's breath, an unkept promise, hard to believe
raised voices screaming, do you know why he does that
changing his tone, dead cornstalks, she reached out
and touched red, side by side, adjacent worlds
scrim of terror, I'm no sound perhaps
this edge split off, a funerary heap of snowy masks, a pale ambush
and speaking of wolves, had she been afraid
nothing like fire, winds came stale
and streaked with dust, her wheel out of true
dead, like diamonds, is forever
and what's going to happen when we get there
you're a fool and I'm another
open the box, no lock, easy to grave
silent the voices, finish the job