September 3, 2009

Poesia Aqui

This morning I woke with the strange sensation of Barcelona. The taste of cod fritters from Taller de Tapas circling my memory. And a pregnant woman moving from Santa Fe to here, only I didn't know where here was. But Jared was there, and he was making tiny chapbooks of forgotten poets: women writers who need historical recovery. The covers were burnt red and the binding Japanese. There were black-and-white photos inside the pages, alongside the words. "Undetermined gender," said the woman when asked what the baby was. A film, also not in color, played in the background: Maya Deren's Meshes of the Afternoon, at least small glimpses of it. Only in the dream, Ito's music was absent. My home was in disrepair. CP and I were moving again. Books in boxes. And the walls of our home were suddenly not walls. We lived in a kind of pergola. The shades: brick and umber. A woman walked up to me and said, "You are a writing teacher, but I am a writer." I remember puzzle pieces beneath my feet. On a stage in the distance: a mic, a poet. The words escape me. Then, 5:14 AM on the nightstand.

This morning I am reading Foucault. I am thinking about the word author, and I am circling around the idea of authority. Why are students resisting it? I handed over my syllabus in a complete Freirean gesture the other day, and while the students came back with many excellent suggested readings to add, I noticed that there seemed to be an internal struggle about what to cut. "I don't want to miss out on anything you've brought." There I sat, uncomfortable with the focus on me. The constructed nature of knowledge suggests gaps, does it not? A lack of fixed point. A shift from this moment to the next in how we create meaning. I am reminded of the Burkean parlor:
"Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally's assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress" (Kenneth Burke).

Perhaps a kind of author/ity death.

Or in the words of Didi and Gogo: "Nothing to be done."