You leave home after the first divorce and work aboard a steamer with a hundred Korean men. Then the documentary urge devastates your ability to be subjective, and soon you’re making notes about their suffering. You return stateside. You realize you never learned to speak their language. You film on a soundstage with a hundred Chinese playing your shipmates. The film is a tremendous success and you are lauded for your capacity for truth. In Aspen, you meet a stunning Israeli woman with a mysterious scar on her neck. You had never considered any land holy but now find yourself fascinated by the Palestinians. Who does not sympathize with a people perpetually on the outside? You return to film their plight on a set in Vancouver, casting Canadian extras as the Jews. Your new wife burns your new bed, all that beautiful oak, all those beautiful springs and coils. You do not realize that you never learned to speak her language, or that the red oak came from South America, where someone else was suffering. You might have empathized if only you’d known. You might have told their story.
Someone once told me that animals are people under spells, and if you fall in love with them the spell will be lifted. I recently fell in love with a black trumpeter swan. I watched her ruffle her neck feathers for hours, watched her peck bugs from her breast. I was sure she would make a beautiful bride, but she was always a black trumpeter swan. I once brushed a horse’s hair for 3 straight years until it crumpled into death. The truth is there is no such thing as spells. The world is always as it is, and always as it seems. And love is just our own kind voice that we whisper into our own blood.
If you were one of the 1000 people that attended (audience or presenter) LAB•FEST this past Saturday (9/7) at The Last Bookstore, we’d love to read you write or paint/draw about or inspired by the event and the opening of DT•LAB.
Submit work for consideration to: firstname.lastname@example.org
DO IT! I DID IT! MY FRIENDS DID IT! EVERYBODY IS DOING IT! YOU CAN DO IT, TOO!
I don’t want to say goodbye to you anymore. I heard the first wave was an accident. It happened in the Cave of the Hands in Santa Cruz. The four of them were drinking and someone killed a wild boar and someone else said, “Hey look, I put my hand in it. Saying goodbye is like that. You put your hand in it and then you take your hand back.
"…I would not have worked so hard and so long at my poetry if it were primarily the production of well-made objects, just as I would not have sacrificed so much for love if love were mostly about pleasure. What matters to me even more than the shapeliness and the dance of language is what the poem discovers deeper down than gracefulness and pleasures in figures of speech. I respond most to what is found out about the heart and spirit, what we can hear through the language. Best of all, of course, is when the language and other means of poetry combine with the meaning to make us experience what we understand."
There was a salad. Chicken Caesar. The dressing was too sour, but it was 12 a.m. in New York City and I knew I’d die if I ate more pizza.
My lover didn’t care about the eating. As I chewed, he became excited with a memory, told me how, earlier, he’d seen a bloody torso beneath a bus:
Oh, yeah, I saw a body torn in half today! I’m serious! It was pinned beneath the tires. I’ve never seen that much blood in all my life. It ran a thick stream down 1st Avenue. All the tires in the traffic spun red.
I stopped eating. He’d waited an hour to tell me this. Who else could wait an hour but him?
I don’t know.
I made him tell me again hoping the ending would change, my eyes pleading for a punch line. No. This was not a joke. My lover saw a person, or, the top half of a person in the street and he can’t un-see it.
The lettuce began to wilt in all the blood, the chicken sobbed thin as a ghost. I apologized to it and dropped my fork.
That night my lover’s breath reeked of car exhaust and the tread of his fingers grew course. As he steered them around my nipple, down my ribcage, between my legs, I saw a child in the backseat of a family car
her small face stretched to wax horror, watching two fat pigeons play an angry game of tug-of-war with a scrap of bread shaped just like a nose.
Having appreciated artists like Kanye West, Katy Perry, Kimbra, Nas, Gary Jules/Michael Andrews, Adam Lambert & Dizzee Rascal covering & sampling our songs over the past years, we agreed that some reciprocal cross-generational love was in order. We decided to give Arcade Fire a twist of TFF. Enjoy.