Note(s) to Self

Prompt Against Anxiety #13 | from poet and multidisciplinary artist Stacy Blint, author of Infinity Heart (Adjunct Press, 2019) and 13 Golden Hooks (Saint Earl Press). Her current projects include Disappearing Books and documentation of The Art Bunker, a site-specific work.

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Last Painting, Stacy Blint, 2020. Mixed-media on canvas, 48" x 60".

Note One: We are not any one thing.

Looking back on what I’ve written over the last 90 days I found myself surprised by the quality of presence in the work that somehow inhabited the dissonance with kindness, generosity, tenacity, and determination. Understandably my energy level, attention, and writing practice had changed considerably during this time, and I was curious to understand this new process. (Two of the resulting poems are included below.) What, if anything, has changed in your process in the last 90 days?

Note Two: What if all time were yours?

These last 90 days in addition to all that transpired I have found myself pulled by some very swift currents at work and in domestic life. I often found myself feeling that I didn’t have enough time or space to process things. I don’t remember writing most of these poems. They were composed at various hours of the day and night, often a line or two at a time, in the form texts I sent to myself or notes I jotted down on scraps of paper. What is your relation to time?

Note Three: Take stock of your materials.  

As a visual artist, I work frequently in the medium of collage. One aspect of the collage process is something I call gleaning—the gathering of materials from multiple sources, gradually, over time. What materials are available to you?

Note Four: What did you dream? 

My dreams are often cinematic, instructive, spiritual. They are also fleeting. I have trained myself to wake. Take a few notes or write a few lines and return to sleep. 

Note Five: Record daily life.

did you go? What did you do? Who do you see? What did you hear? How did you feel? 

Note Six: What’s on your grocery list?

Or your To-Do list? Your calendar? Your reminders?

Note Seven: Invite the poems.

Invite the poems into your being, your space. Make room for them. Feed them.

Note Eight: Steal time.

I find that my writing practice happens ‘in-between’ all of the living I do. Find or make whatever time you can to write (make art, music, film, photographs, pies, etc.).

Note Nine: Accept donations. 

Sometimes someone says something so wonderful, irksome, inflammatory, etc. that it needs to live in a poem. 

Note Ten: Eschew context and embrace juxtaposition.

Grab phrases, lines, inspiration wherever you find them. Mix them with vigor.

Note Eleven: Don’t forget to check in with your senses as they are available to you, especially the sixth one. 

What do you see, hear, smell, touch, taste, intuit?

Note Twelve: Take note. 

Text yourself (or make a note) anytime anything tugs at your sleeve. Don’t think about it. Just make a note and move on. Continue this process for a week. 

Note Thirteen: Assemble. Breathe. Shape. Heal. Sculpt. Delight. 

At the end of the week gather your notes. Cut and paste or transcribe them as-is into one document. Breathe with the words as they are. Shape them as you would like. Use what you create to heal. Sculpt the page. Allow yourself to delight in this.


RE-SIDING

Dish soap
Buns
Eggs

Things that keep me up at night

He says it’s difficult to manage the P&L
that the government will make the workers whole 

That they can keep their benefits while furloughed

That many of them are glad they can stay home

In the next breath he speaks of Walmart employees
singing a Bill Withers song 
in an ad

So I don’t get it though
why are you famous
I just see 
evidence of other people’s fame
all around 

Wheat thins 
Chocolate syrup

First you put your head on my shoulder
the weight of it feels so nice

Then you put your head on my lap
looking up at me 
smiling with your eyes 

It was a large group lecture 

You reach up
put your finger to my lips 
gently 
as if offering me an olive

Before this hiking to some virtual beach to swim in an electric ocean 

A 3am text from my daughter
the dog in the house next door won’t stop barking

I listen while I pee

No barking

I don’t wash my hands

Thinking how natural it is to resist 
even a microscopic oppressor

Birdsong I will try to to return to you


 THE URGENCY

whole dream spent 
on the tip of my tongue

an attempt to parse the name 
of the movie
we’re all living in

chopper noise overhead as I close my eyes 

to think of other humans
flying above me
flying above all of us
with guns

our homes a barely registered topography

difficult to say anything
but their names
light the way

 

Prompts Against Anxiety is sponsored by Milwaukee Public Library, an anchor institution that helps patrons read, learn, and connect—to our resources and our community. Now more than ever, stay connected, stay home, and stay safe. 
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More from this series

TALK TO THE POETSPrompt #17—Stacy Szymaszek

Make-Do Origin Stories & Concrete FuturesPrompt #16—Ching-In Chen

The Family PhotographPrompt #15—Rosa Alcalá

Note(s) to SelfPrompt #13—Stacy Blint

Embracing ConfusionPrompt #12—Bryon Cherry

Writing/Playing the ArchivePrompt #11—Jay Besemer

CAPTURED & FREEDPrompt #10—Dasha Kelly Hamilton

Poetic Exit StrategiesPrompt #9—Ana Božičević

Proyecto ConbífPrompt #8—Erick "CK" Ledesma

TRILOGYPrompt #6—CA Conrad

Utopian CompromisePrompt #7—Paul Druecke

A Series of RoomsPrompt #5—Laura Solomon

Two Variations on N+7Prompt #4—Jenny Gropp

T H E A P A R T / TOGETHERPOEMPrompt #3—Margaret Rozga

An Exercise in WindowsPrompt #2—Marla Sanvick

Erasuring AnxietyPrompt #1—Peter Burzynski

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