Solid Quarter

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

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

Megan Burns' Poeticsofbone&city project on Tumblr

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Day 13: Interior Scroll

"I first wrote about 'vulvic space' in 1960 as a result of an art history assignment on symbolism. I chose to do research on the 'Transmigration of the Serpent,' never suspecting that the transmutation of serpent symbolism in the wall paintings, carvings, inscriptions of ancient cultures- this traditionally 'phallic' symbolism would lead me to a concept of vulvic space and this in turn to the disappearance and mis-attribution of Goddess artifacts and imagery, to a total inversion and re-interpretation of myth and symbol."







"I saw the vagina as a translucent chamber of which the serpent was an outward model: enlivened by its passage from the visible to the invisible, a spiraled coil ringed with the shape of desire and generative mysteries, attributes of both female and male sexual powers. This source of 'interior knowledge' would be symbolized as the primary index unifying spirit and flesh in Goddess worship."






"The message I read for Interior Scroll is from the feminist texts in 'Kitch's Last Meal.' The image occurred as a drawing; this image seemed to have to do with the power and possession of naming- the movement of interior thought to external signification, and the reference to an uncoiling serpent, to actual information (like a ticker tape, rainbow, torah in the ark, chalice, choir loft, plumb line, bell tower, the umbilicus and tongue)."




"Interior Scroll was preformed twice. Each 'reading' required a ritual preparation for the action, a gradual inhabitation of the space, increasing concentration"






-Carolee Schneemann on the making of and performance of Interior Scroll, from More Than Meat Joy


Day 12: American Horror Story





"That time allows us/ to see what we were blind to/ and to become blind to what we've seen."
- Kate Greenstreet, case sensitive




"One out of 8 Hollywood movies depicts a rape theme"
-"Violence Against Women: A Report on Life in Our Times" MS 1.2 (1990)





American Horror Story



what is it about a woman's body that is so rapeable, that the telling is apparent so it whips, once upon in the house of holy, in red tented diabolicals where ran this fluid, what a calling, she can be a nevering, she can be thrushed, (hush), the lickiest lulla-bye, dreams are full of unspeakable desires, can you have a story without the bending of her, without the undressing, without the insertion, without the subtle cues that speak, speak what is power, what love in the face of: the end result of cultural misogyny is socialized murder. but let's recall that fiction excuses male violence when it's caused by evil forces. twin peaks this plot line so the infestation is excusable. in this one, she gets a baby, in this one, she gets fame, in this one, she gets revenge and to be born again. see, rape is a way for a woman to get ahead:: this horror show. this our american horror story in any century, in any city. the script stays the same. Foucault claims that social mores kept people in line historically. line by line, this abuse stays golden, media pool, this news refracts. you get to see how it looks. the raping. you get to pause it, you get to rewind it, you get to fast forward it, but you can't have the tale excised of. you have to participate if you want in. you have to participate if you want in. and everyone wants in. who doesn't love a good scare?









Day 11: Failure

"This failure is the vision" -RBD, draft 63


an asylum practice: listen carefully
irruption: throat clicks in the hollow
hours of tedium, corrupt den of broken
boned to theme unwillingly
split again, strangeward
the newly dead attempt to speak
covering of two by two
shattered heart gone about speech
but there it was something
& poetry everything but
a cartography, bark and strips
portable receivers in the catching
the way a driveway is a roadling
that leads or the residue
of any line is where
the finger slips


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day 10: Invisible Women

"I feel the lure of the invisible"
-H.D.



Do you remember your first case
of penis envy? How does it feel to have so many
moist feelings "down there"? Why do we call something
by its definition of possibility: it's not as though
a vacuum is my personal destiny.
Disaster is sometimes a splitting: you get to fly
by night pretty or poor, possibly you felt the urge
to bear down: there's a catalogue of what will pass
perfectly it sits// does it sit
perfectly// she's like a fun house
all funny mirrors
he turns round & round
what can you puzzle
what's the feeling of a feeling
dartgun what you believe
let it be inked
let it be a darkening
this scrolling where a lettering
kept us separated-- do you know
what those first moments of love
signify-- had I had another more violent
come hither, come along
once upon a time there was a story
& I couldn't help but being a girl-hero
in the telling





Pussy & Poetry: Day 9: Found Lacking



"It's okay to want to leave.
You don't have to explain it to anyone." --Gina Myers

"Every living being...is expected to contain all others" --Claude Cahun

"I fall into their net of dust" --Megan Kaminski



"In war, we have the leisure to remember anything" --Leslie Scalapino

"her story is political, not magical" --Andrea Dworkin

"desire is always a desire of a desire" --Tracey McTague




"and we're entitled to have everything now" --Bernadette Mayer

"It's easy to use someone's body" --Farrah Field 



"I let myself fall apart" --Lee Ann Brown

"The geography of feminine pleasure is not worth listening to" --Luce Irigaray


"you have to be careful who you tell
because you tell and tell
you never stop telling" --Kathyrn Pringle

"It takes eternal war to hold the border tight" --Rachel Levitsky



"I have gone wandering but I always hear a call." --Alice Notley

"One does not always stay intact" --Judith Butler

"Hope lies in the possibility of a resistance that's based on being able to face our reality as it is."
 --bell hooks




Sometimes it's hard to hear over the noise.
 For all the women who keep speaking in the face of absurdity. 



Day 8: Ejaculate











Female Ejaculation: A Tempering

Faith is a double edged sword.
All your life people will tell you to believe
in things you can't put your finger on
like love, and you will never
doubt the half of it. Remember
that male ejaculation is a myth.
In the beginning was the word
and no one mouthed off. Every river
runs its bounds, a masterpiece
knows its being watched. This time
set it and then you do.  My,
oh my, what long lists of betrayal
they reserve for you. This man will
say it is so and this woman will say it
is not. But when you gush
over the smallest gestures, there's
a name for that, it's etched lower
on the turnstile, like a carnival
she's a middle ring act
acting up: the entire internet
will disagree as to her cohesiveness.
This one is split level and messy;
this one shakes waterfalls.
Every cue says wait till you feel
like you have to go and then
go, anyone who won't swallow
each piece of you doesn't
really deserve more time
and heart. A study dismisses
or in one fell swoop all the pretties
mimic other bodies, male bodies
made to perform, their marker
a mark of trade: here we come along
secretly in the tented margins
where the heading runs. She can splay
genderwise the beauty of a nothing,
a sparkled gemstone in the crutch;
you get more than you bargain for.







I don't really understand this ecard: are they swimming in female ejaculate or are they going to look for it underwater? Or are they just having one of those conversation you have when you're about to go scuba diving? 



Friday, November 08, 2013

NAPUSWRIMO: Taboo



Why we can't say 
"Vagina"


I remember when you couldn't talk about abortion and say the word "Vagina."
I remember when Oprah told us what she called her Vagina.
I remember when Women's Day suggested that in order to get a raise you should 
freshen your Vagina.
I remember all the times the word vagina was used when someone really meant vulva.
I remember learning every other word for the word vagina.
I remember teaching each one of my children the word vagina.
I remember when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut and a prostitute because 
she was using her vagina to have sex and wanted to protect it.
I remember when Republican Mike Callton said that the word "Vagina" was so offensive he wouldn't say it in front of women. 
I remember when Naomi Wolf wrote Vagina: A New Biography but I can't remember if anyone read it.
I remember when we had to have an exhibition of vaginas to teach women about vaginas. 
I remember a time before labiaplasty was a popular procedure. 
I remember thinking someone is actually making money selling women Vagina tightening pills. 
And it's probably a man.
I remember looking at thousands of images of Vaginas on Tumbl, more than half depicted rape, abuse, or violence against them. 
I remember being so angry when I was a teenager because I could be raped, and there was nothing I could do about it. 
I remember watching a movie called "Vagina Dentata" where a woman's vagina bit off penises. 
It was hilarious. 





Thursday, November 07, 2013

Day 6: A Ladyfest Collab for Pussy & Poetry

Last night I hosted the first poetry reading in a series of events for New Orleans' Ladyfest, which is in its 7th year. For the last two years, poets Jenna Mae and Laura Mattingly have organized the poetry portion of the four day event, which includes music, art, parades and spoken word created and performed by women or people who identify as women. They organize two poetry events during the Fest, and I was honored to host the first reading which included about a dozen poets and two musicians. As my constraint this month is Pussy & Poetry, I decided to write the poem for Day 6 at the event using the language that was being released into the ethers by all the LadyPoets.

Thanks to the poets who read last night: B.A. Crumm, Amanda Emily, Utahna Faith, Juanita Jackson, Shannon Holmes, Kesha Star Young, Jimi, Lee Grue, Carrie Chappell, Delia Tomino Nakayama, Katarina Boudreaux and musicians: Sheryl Diane and Gardenia Moon



At the close of the reading, I read the poem, which is below:


Day 6:

a canto of broken lips
fickle chooses margins/ you skeleton
fire tongues loose once distant but shafts
a tingling: sex is a stone, sex is a dewy shoe
each morning you wake settled/ orgasms
like night swallowing day: hold a beat
switched to a rocking back & forth silence
moves thick as war at the neck, at the border
at the brim: a terror song below a hush
sky wide/ wet under every color, wet under
any weather, the most perfect art you'll ever
get your hands into: this too, swept away
any shame: this could be a distraction
a narrow field of divination
this could be one way: a fucking
or a conduit for what you knew
most gleaming is a beauty/ any gaze
is a way of being seen, you don't
get to choose how
each leaving gets a space
you learn to mouth the words
it's slippery this life, it slips
from one hole to whole
other frequency



This is apparently a Vagina-Lady. 

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Day 5: 30 Days of Pussy & Poetry


From Deborah Poe's ,,clitoris,, ,,vulva,, ,,penis,,:


\\
SYLLABICATION: clit·o·ris

There should be a book like cunt called clit. And it’s all about orgasm, isn’t it. And know that bling is this. Revision: “An NO2 high- to the 9nth degree.” Such as, Vienna variants and inclines. A decline to recline. There is a Gustav Klimt painting.  The kiss of the clitoris. It would be so beautiful save the deformed bodies, not long enough, not long enough. This clitoris longs enough for you. This clitoris is a packsaddle that leans and bends. This clitoris is a suffixed form, a small erectile organ sloped towards you.

Cover by: Sarah Elizabeth Kirby


Deborah Poe's chapbook revolves around the syllabics, definition and etymology of these three words: clitoris, penis, and vulva. The "penis" becomes grouped with the "clitoris" and the "vulva" in this poem. When we arrive there, Poe tells us: "To talk about a neighboring penis that whips its pussy into shape. Because a vulva deserves, mind you. And a landlord should listen who has never seen a head on car crash. A landlord is a penis. The penis stands revised. The penis stands erect. "  The penis in this chapbook is revised and reprised, and yet here we are again with the same technical terms for it in its "erectness,"  in its lording over the land as it were. 

In the poem "Serial Vulva," Poe writes: "At night, there is a blanket, a covering of you. Whether or not you know it, I take a ride with you. What is this ride? Is it like a roller coaster or more, a ferris wheel. It depends on the moment. It depends on the social mores."

Poe breaks down each word into the syllabics reminding us that it is on the tongue, on the way words leave our mouths that we begin to form our understanding. From there, we seek the historical meaning as no word exists in a vacuum; it is our need to define that helps us place a word into context. From there we scroll through all of the allusions and associations that each particular word has for us. Each word in the human language resonates particular for each person. Here Poe takes three words that are simply part of our anatomy, but which also in our culture carry a heavy weight. In some ways, a weight much heavier than what can be located in the simple definition. There in the poem, Poe begins to unravel how we associate and dissociate from a word. We always come to the poem with our expectations, and Poe swerves from where we might imagine we would go in each case. There is a deliberate rupture, an off balance caused by sudden swings into consciousness. It mimics the trickiness of trying to say anything about a loaded word like "vulva" or "penis." Where does one begin or end. 

Poe captures us: "And again, the vulvas all laugh. They are like the wind that laughs at a farmhouse refusing the farmer and his wife."