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.
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
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
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
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
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
our homes a barely registered topography
difficult to say anything
but their names
light the way
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
Writing Advice for Your Younger SelfPrompt #14—E.J. Koh
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
We acknowledge that in Milwaukee we live and work on traditional Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, and Menominee homelands along the southwest shores of Michigami, part of North America’s largest system of freshwater lakes, where the Milwaukee, Menominee, and Kinnickinnic rivers meet and the people of Wisconsin’s sovereign Anishinaabe, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Oneida, and Mohican nations remain present.
We further acknowledge the grave evil colonialism introduced to these lands through genocide as well as slavery, and also via racist and xenophobic beliefs, laws, and practices that continue to inflict harm upon Black, Brown, and Indigenous lives. We honor those who have lived—and do live, now—at these intersections of identity and experience, and are committed to the active dismantling of white supremacy.
720 E. Locust Street
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Phone: 414 263 5001
Hours: Tues–Fri | 11-8pm
Sat & Sun | 12–5 pm | Closed Mon
Contactless pick-up: Wed–Fri | 2–6 pm, Sat | 2–5 pm
Building Accessibility: Despite the age of our physical location, and attendant limitations to access, Woodland Pattern is committed to making its programs and facilities available for as many as possible. Please call for more information.
Events Accessibility: Woodland Pattern is in the process of obtaining captioning services for its online events and can provide ASL interpretation for live events. Please contact us with accommodation requests and questions.
© Woodland Pattern 2020