[Transcript] Nora Cooper – I Won’t Write Your Obituary

I Won’t Write Your Obituary
by Nora Cooper

You ask if you could call to say goodbye
if you’re ever gonna kill yourself.

but I won’t write your obituary.
I’ll commission it from some dead-end journalist
who’ll say things like ‘at peace’, ‘better place’, ‘fought the good fight’,
maybe reference the loving embrace of capital-G god at least four times,
maybe quote Charles ‘fuckin’ Bukowski, and I won’t stop them
because I won’t write your obituary.

But if you call me, I will write you a new sky, one you can taste,
I will write you a DIY cloudmaker, so on days
when you can’t do anything, you can still make clouds,
in whatever shape you want them.

I will write you letters, messages in bottles and cages and orange peels
in the distance between here and the moon and forests and rivers and bird songs
I will write you songs,
I can’t write music, but I’ll find Rihanna
and I’ll get her to write you music,
if it’ll make you want to dance a little longer,

I will write you a body whose veins are electricity,
because outlets are easier to find than good shrinks,
but we will find you a good shrink,
I will write you 1-800-273-8255,
that’s the suicide hotline.

We can call it together and, yeah
you can call me, but I won’t tell you it’s okay;
that I forgive you.
I won’t say goodbye, or I love you.
One last time.

You won’t leave on good terms with me.
Because I would not forgive you.
I won’t read you your last rights,
absolve you of sin, watch you sail away on a flaming Viking ship,
my hand glued to my forehead,

I will not hold your hand steady around a gun,
and after I won’t come by to pick up the package of body parts
you would have left specifically for me,

I’ll get a call like, “Ma’am, what would you have us to do with them?”
and I’ll say, “Burn them, feed them to stray cats,
throw them at school children,
hurl them at the sea.”

I don’t care, I don’t want them,
I don’t want your heart.
It’s not yours anymore,
it’s just a heart now.

And I already have one.

I don’t want your lungs,
just deflated birthday party balloons
that can’t breathe anymore.

I don’t want a jar of your teeth as a memento.
I don’t want your ripped off skin,
a blanket to wrap myself in when I need to feel
like you’re still here.

You won’t be there.
There’s no blood there,
there’s no life there,
there’s no you there.
I want you, and I will write you – so many fucking dead friends poems before,
that people will confuse my tongue with your tombstones
and try to plant daisies in my throat
before I ever write you and obituary,
while you’re still fucking here.

So the answer to your question is,
“Yes, if you’re ever really gonna kill yourself.
Yes, please, call me.”


[Transcript] Clementine von Radics – Patron Saint of Manic Depressives

for the way we work our broken fingers through the dirt
 'til we convince the good to grow there

Patron Saint of Manic Depressives
by Clementine von Radics

for Vincent van Gogh, Patron Saint of Psychotic Manic Depressives
often, I think of Vincent and the meat that once was his ear
how he gave it to a pretty girl that was not certain of his name
and then spent the night alone
trying not to bleed to death
and ever since my own diagnosis
some part of me is always alive
and inside that moment, and I picture
scared girl
the bleeding painter
the jagged flesh between them
and sometimes I am the girl
sometimes I am the dripping blood
but most often, I am the one offering up some unwanted mess of myself
and calling it a gift
on the worst days,
to be manic depressives is to stand on ground
that can’t promise to stay beneath you
it is to be both violence and victim
both the knife and flesh that welcomes it in and so often in these poems
in a lovers bed
in my mothers kitchen table
I offer up the truth of this illness
and watch the people I love, pull themselves away from me
I am chaos
I am a barely hidden bar fight
and I know exactly how many people believe
that makes me impossible to love
there are days I believe it too
I am in love with a good man
he sleeps beside me every night and every time he says he loves me
my first thought is: why?
can’t you see all the nicer people with fewer problems
my second thought is that: who else is gonna love me when he decides to stop
it is so easy to lose myself in the mess of this
to say I love you and mean only I’m sorry
but I try and think about Vincent van Gogh,
how his first teacher said only a mad man could paint like that
only in madness could you hold so much joy and grief in the same paintbrush
and in that thought, every drop of paints and blood joins in the same river
like every sunflower bursts like a star from Vincent’s wild heart
you know
art historians say his mania is the reason he saw the starry night skies swirl like that
his illness became his genius
which became his revelation
and thank the stars for that miracle
for the way we work our broken fingers through the dirt
’til we convince the good to grow there
I have spent countless nights grieving my own brain
but tonight, I sing of its brilliance
in the way that only I can
and thanks the stars for that
for this new joy
for this good blood
for the beauty I find in the river it takes to carry me there
and I swear
I will not apologize for what allows me to see the sky
not tonight
not ever again

[Transcript] Boyfriend Interview – from CUPSI 2014

Tagged favorite for absurdity, delicacy, heartbreak, sweetness, and delivery.

Boyfriend Interview – Haley Mosley (Transcript)
taken and edited from Hellen Wilson comment in Youtube

Interview for a boyfriend!
Your middle name?
How long has it been since you wore a diaper?
How old were you when you first noticed you had feet?
How tall one lying down?
A glowing thing or a burning dark,
Quick, pick one!
How many needles will fit between my eyelids?
How big was your first?
Your last?
The last light switch; do I flick it?
Can you handle candles?
What’s it like to wear no skirt?
How many bras have you sniffed?
Define addiction.
Define a lover’s hip.
How many languages are enough?
How can you free yourself without getting committed?
And what’s it like inside yourself?
And I see your feet are like freaky small
And that your hair smells like fly shit
But feels like fishes eyes
And that you have three nostrils.
And the third one is for jizz.
Your eyelashes are made of spider legs
And they move on your own when they got angry
Or turned on.
Can you believe me when I say,
Your shit steams beautiful?
Did I stutter?
Did I stutter?
Did I?
How many lines ago was that?
Can you count the juices in the fridge, honey?
and know that I’ll always want more?
What do you see through eyes so brown?
Can you see that mine are glass?
Can you tell that they’re not windows?
Can you quantify exactly more or less all that you want from my eyes to be?
You have less eye brows.
And one, two, too many tails
And your tendons are made of Twizzlers
And you only drink Windex orange blue orange juice
And your hands are made of pancakes with lifelines
And your bellybutton has an eyeball in it
But we’re not supposed to ask whose.
And your earlobes have lips and sometimes they
Whisper sweet nothings to the pigeons on the park benches while
You stroke your fingertips against various things,
Like pigeons,
Like me.
Like me?
Well, I broke up with my boyfriend and then spent the night,
And my mom’s roommate convinced that we just need more hangers
And I start all my sentences with: oh, well, look
And I ran through my apartment, counted all my pairs of tights
And I noticed not a single tear looked a thing like him
And I heard that song that he reminds me of
And it was the birds screaming the earth back awake
So I drank a whole bottle of V8 and went to sleep
And I broke up with that boyfriend and then spent the night
And my roommates convinced I can
Just go back tomorrow
and I dropped my sister’s black vintage gloves in the mud.
I dropped my easiest class and told everyone:
I’m a pyro
And I’m still not quite done with that last guy
I spent the night with
And I’ll never be as high with anyone else
As I was with dell and I never called him dell
When I was with him
I never understood people when they said they could remember a touch
Until I felt his thick palms four days after he left
And when he said he wasn’t coming I ate a strawberry
And tasted nothing
And I haven’t eaten fruit since
And I haven’t made sense since 10 days before he left
Now I’m way past losing track of who left last
And now I wear lipstick
With a disclaimer:
When I dropped him, I shattered.
Translation, no men has pleased me since.
But I’d like to watch you try.
So, your last name?
Do you have any pets?
Can you be with a woman,
you’ll never be able to please?

[Transcript] A Street Called Straight by Omar Offendum (Acapella)

A Street Called Straight by Omar Offendum (Syrian American hip hop artist)

I took a stroll down the street called straight
met a medicine man
about a third of the way
predecessor to the pusher-man
with something to say
about an apple a day
keeping the sickness away

I valued his advice at face
at first
’till he enlightened me
to how precisely nature worked
giving us citrus fruits
in winter time for Vitamin C
just met each other but
I’m already invited for tea

as fate would have it,
he and I turned out to be related
a small world’s even smaller when you’re Arab …ain’t it?
made it a point to soak in all his information
about regenerative meditation
and preventive medication
like a modern Ibn Sina
with a pretty calm demeanor
and a remedy for everything
that plagued the Arab nations
yet when asked of how to cope
with our impossible fate
he just said follow the middle path
to a Street Called Straight

I took a stroll down the street called straight
met a spiritual teacher
about two thirds of the way
predecessor to the preacher-man
with something to say
about a prayer a day
keeping the Satan’s at bay

he spoke of angels on our shoulders
and the angles of our solar
systematic self-destruction
metaphysical corruption
with a danger to our polar
ice caps

’till it’s out of our control
and in the hands of our beholder
we philosophized for over
20 minutes like that
taught me lessons
any questions he would
give em right back
said the answers were within us

and I didn’t like that

but I realized later
why he did it like that
I had so much more to learn
the clock was ticking …couldn’t stall
committed his words to my memory

his wisdom was enthralling
yet when asking him
what was the most important to recall
he just said follow the middle path
Straight Street and that is all

I took a stroll down the street called straight
met a carpenter hard at work
at the end of the way
predecessor to the architect
with something to say
about not doing tomorrow
what should be finished today
he manipulated wood and metal
’till it followed function
building all through Via Recta
and Cardo Maximus junction
something told me he was wise beyond his years

I had a feeling
from the way that he’d exposed the beams
and ornamented ceilings
with an ambidextrous half
nonchalantly jest and laugh

saying that my western education
made it hard to grasp
his connection to the past
deep-rooted in his craft
but was more than willing
to share with me
the tools he knew I lacked

and for that I would be grateful
learning how to build the monumental
for the playful
and the humble for the faithful

yet when asked of how we’d stack
against our impossible odds
he just said follow the middle path
Straight Street to the Gods

Acts 9:10-12

Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias;
and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.”
And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”
And the Lord said to him,
“Get up and go to the Street Called Straight,
and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul,
for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man
named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him,
so that he might regain his sight.”

[Transcript] Kim and Salome: ‘Silent Theft of Power’

A very cool way of looking beyond Kim Kardashian pop-culture glossy-magazine facade. Clementine von Radics trace the parallel between Kim and the biblical narrative associated to Salome’s Dancing of the Seven Veils. The tale tells how Salome, encouraged by her mother Herodias to make King Herod kill John the Baptist. Because John the Baptist criticized Herodias marriage to King Herod.

Would Kim’s tale be told centuries later in scrolls and paintings?

Kim Kardashian Redux by Clementine von Radics

Salome dances her dance of the seven veils.

The men all eye her like wolves on a hunt. “This beautiful thing.”
Finally undressing for them, finally they can see her exactly as they want to.

The first veil drops.

In 2007, Kim Kardashian’s ex-boyfriend released their sex tape against her will. Kim Kardashian, rather than hide in shame, uses the publicity to promote her own career.

Salome dances like a dream half remembered. Salome moves like a siren song and everyone aches for the hot sugar of her hip bones.

The second veil drops.

In 2014, Kim Kardashian walks down the aisle and the whole world watches. If only all of us were successful in our revenge. If only all of us stood in the backs of those who betrayed us in our Louboutin heels. Serving the world we created for ourselves.

The third veil drops.

Kim Kardashian knows exactly what you think of her. She presses her cloth tighter against her skin.
Her smile is a promise, she never intends to keep.
Salome shows her body, but never her eyes.

The forth veil drops.

The four things most recently tweeted about Kim Kardashian were:

@kimkardashian suck my dick
@kimkardashian can I meet Kanye?
@kimkardashian I love you, fuck me
@kimkardashian I love you, please love me

Women are told to keep their mouth shut.
Women are told to keep their legs shut.
Some women are kept quiet for so long they become experts in the silent theft of power.

The fifth veil drops.

Kim Kardashian made 12 million dollars last year.
Last night, uncountable men in their miserable jobs told their miserable friends how Kim was nothing but the dumb whore.
But Kim Kardashian will never even learn their names.

The sixth veil drops.

The seventh veil drops.

And Salome sat beside King Herod and he swore unto her,
“Whatsoever thou salt ask of me, I will give, unto the half of my kingdom.”

And Salome smiles, says,
“Bring me the head of John the Baptist, punish those who will hurt me.”

[Transcript] Usman Hameedi – Poem Postmarked for the Middle East

Capture the conflict (probably, in the allegory) of love between a man and a woman, and religions.

Poem Postmarked for the Middle East
by Usman Hameedi

 We were two states solution complex
She, Star of David necklace
Me, kaffiyeh around neck
But some things were simple,
When I glance from across the room,
Faith smiled.
Radiance of Mecca.
Adonai and Allah asked our people for Friday prayer,
so I attended Sabbath services.
and Faith was the only Jewish woman at Jummah.

Forbidden commandments, while Abraham children fought bloody.
We parted Red Sea, exodus to smooth lands of milk and honey.
Our bodies intertwined like messages in Torah and Quran.
Beneath the starry splattered paint masterpiece of God.
I held her. Answered prayers thankful.
Our moaning jaunt out the war cries.
Harsh Hebrew and Arabic.
Our orgasms were our resistance.

When you’re lover is the target.
Political terms have their face.
Bullets aimed at their skull
In conflict, dialogue is survival, it is necessity despite its difficulty
Yes, we poach the elephant in the room
Words like sharp ivory tusks.

This conversations were jagged rocks thrown at tanks.
Learning is an ugly experience.
Faith pissed me the fuck off.
I tried her patience, still
We knew an angry fist is just wilted fingers.
Flowers falling in drought.
Our hands were open invitations.
Kisses solid rockets.

Muted those that told us our holy books cannot coexist.
I am terrorist. and Faith is occupier.
with Peace Treaties on our tongues
We exhale new scriptures in to the wall of mosques and synagogues.
Hoping to purge asbestos animosity.

We knew it was temporary.
I forgot the expiration date.
Before leaving, she said,
“Habibi, please share our story.”
Dead sea trickled from her emerald eyes…
And I mourn, sat shivered, for months..

Hym shly nvshmt shly… (My sea, my breathing)

I wanted to reconstruct my collar bone into Jerusalem, so you can breathe prayer onto the western walls of my chest…
Even from Israel, I hear Assalamualaikum spoken in your accent
carried on wind whisper
I respond, press my hands into the Atlantic, Shalom.
My rippling affection crossing continents.

WIll I ever see you again?
If I do, I will be an atheist, rediscovering his former religion.
Barukh ata Adonai
I’ll hold you, like prayer beads.
Humbled by the beauty of Faith.

Transcript by me, please comment corrections if there is any mistake.

[Transcript] Sam Cook – God in Code // Gerakan Ilusif

Saya menemukan sebuah video poetry slam, lagi. Kali ini tertanggal cukup baru, yaitu Agustus 2013. Pembawa puisinya bernama Sam Cook, dan dia membicarakan tentang bagaimana negaranya, Amerika, telah menyunting tiga penyair ternama: Yesus (He is indeed a poet), Rumi (penyair Persia, seorang Sufi), dan Tupac (seorang rapper kulit hitam), menghilangkan inti dari latar belakang dan cerita mereka, sedemikian rupa, untuk menjalankan sebuah agenda, atau ilusi semata. Walau Sam Cook membawakan pesan ini dengan sudut pandangnya sebagai seorang laki-laki kulit putih di Amerika yang muak dengan ilusi tersebut, saya rasa pesan yang dia bicarakan itu universal.

Kalimat terakhir yang keluar dari mulut Cook, berbunyi: it is so easy, to make someone speak once they are dead. Ya, mudah sekali membuat orang yang sudah mati, untuk berbicara kepada orang-orang. Contohnya saja, masyarakat Indonesia akhir-akhir ini dibuai dengan jargon “Piye le, luwih penak jamanku tho?” a la Pak Soeharto. It is so easy to make someone speak once they are dead.

Puisi ini dengan keras mengatakan bahwa Amerika melupakan siapa itu Yesus, menyembahnya sebagai Tuhan orang kulit putih, dan mengatasnamakan Yesus untuk melakukan opresi. Mungkin benar, mungkin tidak, saya sendiri tidak tahu. Puisi ini juga menceritakan bagaimana masyarakat masa kini membangkitkan Tupac dalam budaya populer, namun melupakan asal muasalnya. Puisi ini menceritakan tentang hak istimewa kelompok mayoritas, yang tidak menyadari tentang institutionalized racism di Amerika. Sam Cook menceritakan tentang whitewashing.

Tapi pesan yang dibawa kurang lebih menurut saya, selalu ada gelombang yang akan berusaha menyumpal kita, masyarakat, dengan sebuah ilusi, sebuah agenda, yang membawa ide-ide di luar konteks asal ide-ide tersebut. The ignorance of simply not questioning, will make us blindly a part of that large illusive movement. Di Indonesia, masyarakat mudah sekali digiring isu, terlebih lagi dengan isu SARA, gender, serta isu-isu yang mendorong konflik dan meminta kita untuk kritis.

Well, I tried my best to transcript the whole poem from the video here (cmiiw):

The poet Rumi wrote about God in Code.
One tale is that the Sufi religion was illegal during his lifetime,
and so by concealing his reverence for God in the imagery of alcohol,
by in fact hiding the divine in vice,
Rumi was able to continue his sacred tradition unhindered.

The poet Tupac wrote about God in revolution,
hidden in the violence and oppression of this society.
One tale is that his very race was illegal during his lifetime,
and so by concealing his reverence for his own people,
Tupac was able to continue his sacred tradition unhindered.

The poet Christ did not conceal God in his writing.
He was killed for his beliefs,
and then raised from the death in the stories of his followers.

The poet Tupac was killed and then raised from the death by non-believers
In the desert of southern California on an ancient indigenous burial ground,
turned polo field, turned music festival, where brown people once buried their dead,
and white kids like me now get high.
What privilege to dance on graves whose names you do not know.

In 2012, at the Coachella Music Festival, with more than 85,000 people gathered to watch
The poet Tupac was resurrected as the hologram,
they transformed his flesh to light and forced him to pray,
and to pray they show the masses, his god would not come

In this country, the poet Christ is primarily worshipped by those who wish Him white,
who choose not to think of Him as a man oppressed for his race,
who choose not to think of Christ as a product of human politics,
instead they pray to His body, nailed to the cross He was killed on,
call His murder a miracle and then oppress in His name.

The American translations of Rumi are among the world’s most popular poetry.
Their translator speaks no Persian, no Arabic language whatsoever,
and his translation neatly sized up any reference to oppression.
These are illusion crafted for white folks, for me,
to help me keep my breakfast down while I read the newspaper,
to help me swallow bullshit like post-racial America

The illusion says, race is solved in whispers.
Don’t worry, everyone is slowly turning white.

And so, the hologram will never tell us
that the poet Tupac came from a family of black revolutionaries.
The hologram will never tell us,
the poet Tupac died violently as a result of his own violence and that of a violent system.
The hologram says nothing about institutionalized racism, nothing about racism at all.

And even now, in this poem, I know whose stories I tell.
I am aware of what privilege it is, to speak on someone else’s oppression
To speak on three texts by dark skin poets,
with all the same pages, cut out all the same words,
redacted: opression, revolution, race
just, absent

…a black poet, a sufi prayer, a jewish preacher, all turned into white prophets.

It is an old trick.
it is so easy, to make someone speak once they are dead.