How Did We Get Here in the First Place?

(802) 327-9465

I have spent a lot of time thinking deep about what happened that led to the 13 Parking Lots Incident.

What happened that led me to feel I needed to write it out of me and write those things, which in retrospect were probably more damaging than healing, except for the parts about turning pain into art. I could do that without wagging my finger. Not okay. That just sets up divisions and intolerance. I don’t want that. So I will edit the finger-wagging out of something that should have been constructive and not destructive. That’s called self-reflection and growth.

I have this tentative name for my new project: “How did we get here in the first place?” By that, I mean the totality of the continuum that has made us who we are. Personal history. Family history. Regional history. Ethnic and gender history. Sexual history. Political, war, systemic codes of behavior history. Economic history. All of it. It’s made us a mess. If we can mend those gaps, we can become less messy.

I failed in my response to the 13 Parking Lots. I didn’t fail in the processing through art and writing. I failed by not being compassionate and not coming out of my sense of personal injury to try to understand the person who caused it and why.

In the heat of the moment, when something happens so jolting that my entire neurology and physiology short-circuit, the darkness can seem so big. Try as I might, it pushes me down, and I forget how to step one toe outside on solid ground to save myself. In fact, saving myself seems all I can do.

The dark in these moments is not a static dark. It’s a swirling dark that can’t be pinned down. Tornado dark. Caved in road dark. Windowless closet with no door handle or light bulb dark. Back bedroom with melting monsters dark. Hiding under the stairs in the game closet dark. Back seat of cop car dark. Hand cuff dark. Tiny cell with no window or toilet dark. Deer heads, rifles, and poker cards dark. Heavy feet and truck door dark. Bad taste and aftertaste dark. Bulging faces bleeding black into each other dark. Booze tongue cigar dark. Pillowcase over my head dark. Gun barrel on lips dark. Boot on chest head hitting porcelain dark. Knife to throat dark. Back seat banging on the car door dark. Pissing pants in fear dark. Dead brother stare dark.

The dark keeps coming. It’s an avalanche of dark. It’s so big. It rattles inside head and heart like razor blades and loose gravel. Its serrated blanket smothers all psychic and physical cosmology in suffocating merging histories. They dissolve into each other and into me. I (we) can’t come up for air.

909-291-5873But what would happen if I did? If we did? Come up for air. Breathe. Open our eyes. Look. Feel something other than ourselves/myself?

What would happen if I didn’t give into the dark? What would happen if I stepped outside of myself and didn’t let the undertow take me? What if the person who is hurting me is actually himself hurting so badly that he doesn’t realize what he is doing? In fact, he is hurting me to hurt himself and doesn’t know what he is doing. Not at all.

It goes on for years. We never talk about it.  The hurt keeps growing inside both of us. Until we reach the end of the line, the end of our rope.

We hang ourselves and our hearts in a dark parking lot when he tells me to do the math. Numbers unravel, tumble, and shatter on tarmac. Everything shatters into unsolvable equations. We are both crippled birds. Wings cut, flapping, waiting for the next truck to run us over. When we are the trucks.

He uses the math and deploys numbers like grenades not knowing that he’s trying to blow everything up and put it back together at the same time. Not knowing the answer is killing him inside. He’s using numbers and equations the way I cut up pictures and mash them together. He’s trying to make sense out of what it feels like to look at photos of me or read stories from me about my past. It touches something dark inside him. It’s a thing he has never looked at, so he looks at it through me. I am the dark thing inside him in this moment in the parking lot.

What if this man is a profoundly loving and sensitive person who has injuries that don’t have names? What if the Parking Lot is an instance of something inside him screaming to be let out and acknowledged, or something that has caused him to unjustly drown himself in self-loathing so deep that it comes out as arrogant and hurtful because the shame is too much?

What if the man is a tender spirit in a world that clipped his wings when he was just a child, and he’s has been trying to get off the ground ever since. Over half a century of dragging his clipped wings through history in a world where there are no definitions for what he has become because of the brute forces that stomp all over the fragile spirits.

The fact is, and I know this, he is carrying ten million tons of ugly that should not belong to him. Because there is no vocabulary for it, the injured person inside him cries out and assigns numbers and slurs to my injuries because at least they have a name.

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What if the math and numbers are pieces of his broken body and heart falling out of his mouth onto the parking lot because they have never had anywhere to go? I understand now why this person hates mirrors. If he looks in the mirror he will see a person – the boy, the man, the angel, the devil – the world put inside him. The person who has no name in our world.

I see now that this loving, tender spirit was born out of time in a place where he never had a chance. His own injuries are so deep they cracked him in half, broke his body and smashed it to bits. He’s still caught in the undertow. And he looks at me – the words I write / a photo from my teenage years – and something about me pokes, prods, and stabs at something he didn’t even know he had inside him. And that thing inside comes spilling out of the man’s mouth saying things that I know this man would not say.

What if I didn’t let that other voice inside him win and destroy everything? I understand now that when those things come out of him, I am witnessing a person whose life has been so fractured that he has divided himself in two parts, and probably more. He has buried the ugly injury deep inside himself. It has no form. It spreads through his mind and body in an ominous mass.

When it surfaces, it casts the man’s ocean blue eyes in a thick layer of tar. The “thing” only knows how to come out as infectious bacteria. It wants to spread its disease and make everything sick. It broods, brews, and bides its time until something unzips a tiny opening and lets it out. I am that opening. I understand that this is not my fault or his. It’s all the things that got us here in the first place, that led to the parking lot where our world was undone by numbers with no logic.

The man hemorrhages the thing and spits it to the surface in words coated with ugly fucks and dirty shame. Words the man with the sky in his eyes would never say. Words not in his vocabulary. The thing inside him latches onto these words because there are no equally filthy and shaming words to define what it feels. What the man has spent his lifetime trying not to “really” feel. I see this now. How the shapeless thing with no name attaches itself to the vocabulary of my history because history has not allowed a place for or given a voice to the man’s thing.

The man’s thing is not in the dictionary. It has no lexicon. My history makes it feel even more erased. It latches on, takes solidity and form by assigning shame and blame to my injuries. It does this to try to give credence its broken body and missing tongue. Give shape to something that has no name or tidy slot to slip it into. It is not the material of movies or heroism.

What if I understood this and did not let my injuries drown everything? What if I rise to the surface instead of sinking to the depths? What if I stop doing my own counting by stacking up the smack the words the man with the sky in his eyes does not realize he is saying when black tar makes him blind? What if I reach out before it’s too late and say: PLEASE STOP – IT’S GOING TO BE OKAY – I’M HERE – GRAB MY HAND – LET’S PULL YOU OUT OF THERE – HOLD ONTO ME! And he does. And we both make it out before the avalanche can smother us.

Blame is easy. Why did it take me this long to realize that answering blame with blame is no answer at all?

It’s so easy to put things in terms of good and evil, right and wrong, angel and devil. But aren’t we all both?

The whole purpose of the project that I’m working on is to dissolve those kinds of barriers and divisions.

But we cannot dissolve anything unless we look the truth in the face and speak it. Even if it’s ugly. Even if it stinks of shame. Shame is a construct. Let’s dissolve ugly shame with the barriers. Bring that shame shit down.

Let us give our ears and hearts to each other so we can all speak our truth, our pain, our joy without fear of being shamed, hurt, humiliated, or dehumanized. Speaking the truth together, we can become compassionate together, help each other, rebuild each other.

I am certainly no saint, and probably more devil than angel. I do my share of bad and wrong every week, every day. But I’m also trying to do right.

I want to right my wrong of writing judgmental statements against a person so deeply injured that he sometimes becomes the very thing he loathes in the world and tries to destroy the one person who loves him and understands his injuries. But I haven’t understood them enough. Until now.

In so many ways, I’m trying to not be so focused on “saving myself.” But when the “thing” that uses my life as a weapon surfaces with its destructive wave and stench of throat choking slut slime, I immediately have fallen into “save myself” mode instead of seeing that the person I know I love could never say these things, but that they are coming from injuries over a half-century old that were never given a voice or name, so instead they gave themselves a voice through my history and used it in a way that could not help but being heard.

LISTEN TO ME it says with math that makes no sense.

I know that the person who hurt me is one of the most gentle and kind people I have ever known. I have watched this man care for injured animals with such compassion, and I have understood that in doing this he is caring for himself and creating the world he wished he lived in. I feel a deep eternal connection to him, yet when this thing inside him surfaces, I flee, fight, freeze and accuse instead of using my compassion to try to understand and help if I can. I know better!

We are both injured and hobbled. Yet, my injuries cut the wings off his. Somehow when he looks at how I give voice to my injuries, the acute pain of his internal silencing causes him to flail and hurt.

Witnessing me speak my history and hearing me tell my truth makes the silencing he has endured his whole life unbearable. He becomes a crumpled bird pounding its wings in his chest.

Imagine living in this gendered world and being a man in love with a woman who had been whored as a child. And you yourself have injuries that have never been given a name or solid form. Injuries for which there is no simple name like “whore” to define them. Imagine you are a man who has been mutated by cruelty and who must be silenced living in this culture of men. You systematically become broken and fractured, dividing yourself into many selves, keep the pieces shuffling, yet still are never able to give form to what hurts so much.

This man feels like the whore who must be silenced, yet feeling like a whore is demeaning and ugly so he demeans the child whore to dodge the dirty shame he has no name for and has buried so long that he does not even know he has it.

He could not see that the things he was saying to me he was saying to himself. Nor could I. But in a moment of clarity, I woke up and I saw the man caught in the clenches of this thing that will not let him go. I want to help him set it free, once and for all. I want him to be free of it, me to be free of it, the world to be free of it. Get rid of that thing.

Why have we let this culture take us to this point? Why did I bury my heart with fury and outrage, year after year, even while I know in my heart how fragile and vulnerable this person is?

I was so caught up in “reacting” that I blinded myself. I assigned guilt and blame. I retaliated. I was not compassionate. I didn’t give this person a chance. I was too busy letting myself sink into my own hurt.

I never tried keeping one foot on the ground. Instead I would just let myself sink. What would have happened if instead of sinking I anchored myself, reached out my arms, and held onto him when he was falling into that dark hole?

For years, I thought silence was the answer. But with each silence, the tension grew, the gaps got bigger, the ugly got uglier. It festered and brewed, feeding off silence.

For years, I took the blame while blaming him. Blame stunk up everything with resentment and anger. Blame sliced our hearts in pieces with its unforgiving edge.

How did we get here in the first place? I know in my heart this person is capable of great acts of tender compassion. I could never reconcile that with the man who reduced me to numbers and left me in the parking lot at night a week ago. Now I am going to try. Because it is the compassionate thing to do. I understand that the part of him that said those things to him has been so isolated that the man himself does not understand the hurt he is causing. If he were to watch and listen to what is happening at those time, I know it would make his heart cry. It would make him feel sick. It has to hurt him to hurt me.

Can this not be the place where we try to liberate ourselves from our pain so that it does not continue to hurt ourselves and others?

I was born dodging bullets. I have fallen into the gender trap putting the blame on a person who is profoundly hurt rather than the culture that made us this way. I have unfairly played the gender card that tells us: “Men do this. Women do that.” I’m done with divisions and binaries. Can we not do that?

Let’s not judge. Let’s fix. Each other.

I woke up today in a new light. It’s time to step outside of myself, outside all these narratives that I have written, that the man who injured me from his injuries has written, that our culture has written. I have looked deep inside the broken bird. The bird whose flapping and flailing temporarily clipped my wings. I understand the bird is trapped in the man’s chest. It has spent decades desperately beating its broken wings trying to get out.

Can I help set it free instead of dodging in pain in accusation?

What if we got to that place in the parking lot because it’s the place that contains the potential to finally set us both free. What if this is the thirteenth way of looking at a parking lot? An the thirteenth way is the one where we drive off with our hearts free from the weight of carrying around the unsayable?

Maybe if we see the “thing” inside him together, look it in its face, give it a name and solidity, pay witness, he can get rid of it, and I can get rid of the noose of my past. What if we all stopped and did this one someone who hurts us? Isn’t it worth trying? I have to believe that we all have the capability of setting ourselves free with we do it together as a “we.”

I woke up today and decided I am at a turning point. I need to stop “reacting” and start “acting.” It is in that action and compassion that we can become better people.

I regret being caught in the whirlwind of my own emotions. I know the person who hurt me has been so profoundly hurt himself. I can talk about my hurt. I can write about it, make art about it. It’s ugly and filled with shame, but at least it has a name. I am able to put a label on it.

What about people whose pain and injuries have no name or have been shamed into invisibility even more than the whore? Think about it.

I had already been thinking these things when I saw Billy last night. He has been through so much, yet his spirit is as big as the ocean. He gets that people are a mixed up bag of stuff. They are capable of causing tremendous pain, creating tremendous beauty, and showing tremendous love. It ain’t easy to be human or be with humans. So let’s cut each other some slack while also respecting our limits.

People can do and say horrible things. I have said and done horrible things. That doesn’t mean we should define ourselves or each other by those things. What about the beauty, love, and magic?

It doesn’t mean it will work, but it’s worth a try. We all also need to know where to draw the line, but if we didn’t first try to dissolve the line, then what good are we?

I reached my limit in that parking lot. There is no denying that. But I also understand now that for years I didn’t “see” what I could have done to help two people, not just me, not just one, but “we” / “us”.

Instead of making the horribly hurtful into the end of the world, wouldn’t it be better to try to understand where it’s coming from, attempt to make it better, and in so doing heal ourselves and make the world a little newer?

I want to firmly believe this. I know I turned a corner. I know I am working on this historical recovery project for a reason. This one. Dissolve barriers. Give voice to the silenced. Be compassionate.

I cannot let myself drown in my own pain. That is selfish and retaliatory. I guess I had to live this long to figure that out. If someone hurts me, I would like to stop and try to think about why and then think if I can help. Next chapter of life.

Certainly my past and my history are hard for people to swallow. Instead of letting it be a liability, I would like to allow it it to be an asset, to be something that can help lead the way to compassion, tolerance, growth, and peace.

I’m going to try.

 

 

THIRTEEN WAYS OF MASHING UP LIFE

8635687998She Was Gone With the Blackbirds
Cheap Ass Ballpoint Pen & Watercolor on Paper

 

For the past few days I have taken something terrible and worked it and reworked it into to something external to me. I chopped, diced, spliced — mashed-up art, poetry, photographs, words, Aretha Franklin, ballpoint pen, Wallace Stevens — moving and shifting parts to recreate and rebuild the pieces that were broken with a sudden fierce blow. I’m done now. What I learned is this is the same process I am using with the people I work with. Pulling the pieces together. Eventually each will have their own little book, and all the little books will come together. This is part of my “little book”. The 13 Ways of Looking at a Parking Lot Book.

First I made an art. But that wasn’t enough. Then I had to mash it up into multiple versions. Then I realized I was making at least 13 versions, so I wrote a poem inspired by and structured like 614-420-8981Then I added Aretha because she’s so important to me. And photos from my childhood. And parking lots. Now I’ve done what I needed to get done.

I moved the “thing” out of me and into art. I even figured out how to create a little visual storybook of the poem, my art, and photo collages and turn it into a slide show.

CHECK IT OUT! It works:

And here is a vast collection (does not even represent all) of the mash-ups I made in this healing process. The only thing I didn’t do is make a video with my bad cover of The Beatles’ “Across the Universe.” Maybe later.

And let’s not forget the Role of the Queen of Soul:

And, of course, my poem inspired by Wallace Stevens:

THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT A PARKING LOT

Kim Nicolini

I
Among twenty glowing lamps
The only moving things
Were the eyes of a girl out of time.

II
She was of three minds
Like an intersection
In which three men are waiting in cars.

III
Mosquitoes whirled in monsoon wind.
Her mouth gaped, part of the parking lot pantomime.

IV
A girl and a woman
Are one.
A girl and a woman and a parking lot
Are one.

V
She never knew what he preferred,
Her tongue this with weight and inflections
Flapped beautiful guttural innuendoes,
Her body singing
Convulsing just after.

VI
Taillights streaked and dissolved
Red on barbaric glass.
Shadows of the addicted and broken
Crossed her, to and fro.
Her face an oil slick shadow
Animal sick with indecipherable cause.

VII
O man counting the girl’s worth in numbers,
Why do you imagine she is an ulcer?
Do you not see her young legs
Walk streets of cities on feet born of history
The feet of women about you?

VIII
She knows poetry more than fucking
And breathes lucid, inescapable rhythms;
You don’t listen or hear
That the parking lot is involved
In what she knows.

IX
When the man fled out of sight,
The parking lot edge marked
One or her many circles of hell.

X
At the sight of his car peeling
Through dim sulfur night
Even the halos of street lamps
Would cry out sharply.

XI
He crippled her legs
With a math tattoo.
His misfiring numbers pierced her.
Fear of his falling led him
To call her. She took wing
And was gone with the blackbirds.

XII
Traffic on First Avenue is moving.
The girl dissolves into white lines and asphalt.

XIII
Night covered day in black tarmac.
Parking lot was empty.
Flash flood was coming.
The people ran
Didn’t look back at her limbs.

YOU CAN’T DEFINE A PERSON ON JUST ONE THING

“People really don’t have to give you anything, so appreciate what people give you.” – Aretha Franklin

YOU CAN’T DEFINE A PERSON BY JUST ONE THING
Aretha Franklin

Many of us are very sad to have lost Aretha Franklin. Sure, she’s been around a long time, but for many of us (me included — I bought my first Aretha 45 rpm when I was 6 years old), Aretha has been a steadfast pillar in our lives. We have leaned on her during hard times, danced to her during good times, celebrated love, cried through our break-ups, mourned our losses, grooved to our triumphs — our souls joined to the Queen of soul and through her to the very depths of our lives.

Working with different people on my historical recovery project this past week, one thing I noticed — Aretha was important to every single person I talked to. My go-to-quote for the week from me: “I am not ready to live in a world without Aretha. The world is not ready to live in a world without Aretha. If anyone could live forever, it should be Aretha.”

6714827584I am collecting quotes about her as part of a collective art/ historical recovery project. Quotes will be combined as a collective response and be included in an evolving multi-media work that will represent many histories and perspectives. If you would like your name listed in the final collective work, it will be.

404-305-5118If you would like to contribute quotes or stories about Aretha, please do. You can riff on the quotes using THIS (FILLABLE!) PDF or request info via email,

No minimum. No maximum. Move fast. Write off the cuff. You are absolutely not allowed to spend a lot of time; make this hard; go back and edit; torment yourself over it. It’s meant to be fun and fast and from the gut. And do not worry about goofy formatting, spelling, grammar, or any such time-consuming nonsense.

Also feel free to free-form riff and contribute your stories about Aretha, why she’s important to you, favorite lyrics or songs, or anything else.

Please send your responses and/or questions to 936-522-7892.

AGAIN, HERE ARE THE QUOTES FOR RIFFING.

sandweed

915-872-3284Just family things happening. It makes me sad. My brother is bipolar, so he’s in prison.
#2 pencil and cheap ass ballpoint pen on paper
11×14

I lift my camera the moment she lifts her finger, points to the sky, looks me straight in the eye, and tells me what’s really going on. She’s been pointing her finger at god so long, her hand has aged a thousand years trying to hold the weight of her heart.

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DANCING THE ARCANE GROOVE
Don’t Let It Rain on Your Parade

ar·cane/ ärˈkān
adjective
understood by few; mysterious or secret

He talks of dancing and his smile
comes to life. No doldrums here
in his arcane place. Years fall

from his face. He’s answering a call
from another time. He’s got the calls
down tight. All the steps right.
Wearing his Westerns he moves
with an arcane groove

smooth sparkle of a smile
and a glint of magic. He’s not
another person but the one
he really is. He follows
a sequence of steps. Turns
back years, turning back time

to the place of nice people.
Guys and gals spinning.
Perky skirts twirling.
78s whirling.

Happy place of no bummers
and arcane language. Place
where nice people groove
to archaic dance moves
where people don’t know the word
groove but they’re doing it anyway.

His eyes glint like disco balls
but no Bee Gees where he’s gone.
They’re making the calls.
Gals swirling the skirts.
He’s keeping up.
This is some spunky fun.

He’s telling the stories
of the moves that he makes.
Each step takes him
to a distant arcane place.

Old man’s making the calls
But he’s keeping up.
He won’t sit it out.
Won’t break down the squares.

Tapping his legs as he tells
his many stories. He’s gotta get there
fast. Goes back in a flash.

He’s got the Wrong Way
Promenade right. Weaving the Ring
with some Slam Effect Swing.

He’s using arcane language
describing an arcane place.
Arcane ritual with a barn dance call.
Arcane rites with fiddles and strings.
Arcane planet spinning
78rpm. Thrum and hum
of the needle skipping lanes
of grooves in vinyl.

He’s dancing to beats.
Mr. Moonlight calling the steps.
It’s sugar time for swirly girls
red boots and button downs.

He circles to the left,
circles to the right.
Stops with a sudden
dimming of the lights.

He comes back strumming
his guitar. We talk of news
and how we don’t read it.
It’s a bummer. And who needs
that? When you can
Backtrack and Box the Gnat.

No bummers in the place
where he’s keeping pace
and holding down the square
keeping arcane time. His smile
turns corners doing a Half
Sashay. A slight misstep
and his light starts to fade.

His eyes dim and flash.
Can’t make up their mind.
Caught between worlds.
I toss him a line.
Say, “A smile is just a frown
turned upside down.”

His lights start blinking.
He’s got this move
does a double-pass through
and falls right in step
with the arcane groove.

I leave him there with a smile
and a wave. Say, “Don’t let it rain
on your parade” Records
start spinning. Gals swirl
and whirl. Time machine
churning. “Never,” he says.

Except for when it does.

But with a Backbend Balance
he can clear the sky. He can
bend the line
keeping time out of time.
in the arcane place
with a smile on his face.


I guess I just wasn’t made for these times. (Brian Wilson)

Swimming the River on the Other Side of Speedway

Inside the Cathedral of Destruction. Clifton, AZ. (photo Kim Nicolini)

PREAMBLE TO A POEM

I drive the 1st corridor every day to and from work. It is incredibly dire — poverty, lost souls, people who wandered to the desert and got burnt in so many ways . . . just steps away from the university but few people on campus see the people on the other side of Speedway.

These videos represent an unexpected mini-history joining two towns I’ve photographed extensively (Clifton and Safford) through the eyes and life of David who grew up in Safford, Clifton, and Morenci.

David is one of the many people who swim the river of invisible people flowing up and down 1st Ave between Prince and Grant in Tucson. He “lives” at the Woods Library and at the Prince & 1st laundromat among other places.

SPOKEN POEM, GUITAR, PHOTOS, MASH-UP

Here is a link to the poem SWIMMING WITH FISHES: david swims the floods down in Clifton

660-626-4419

Inside the Cathedral of Destruction. Clifton, AZ

 

Photos of abandoned buildings in Clifton in videos were taken by me.  Other photos are manipulated public access press photos.

(772) 332-8616

I am officially writing grants for Facing Work / Facing Histories this weekend and over the next . . . well, probably past retirement. I have a call out for collaborators. Note: Being a collaborator on a grant means that you get a budget item on the grant to pay for your contributions. I am going to write grants continuously to get support for this project. I have every intention of making this my life work and “our” life work. If you’re interested, here is the poster. I’ve also included the side of the flyer asking for contributions of “archival” materials (scanned — everyone keeps originals). Please contact me anyway you can help or want to collaborate.

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SWIMMING WITH FISHES

203-386-7395SWIMMING WITH FISHES
david swimming floods back in clifton

he’s swimming upstream
she’s swimming with fishes
wearing concrete boots
and a dress made of silk.

armpits sweat watercolor
rivers when she parks
at the bus stop the drunks
told her to go. she spots

the man wearing hot pink
headphones a wildcat
t-shirt red shoes
covered with dirt. he cracks

a soft smile can’t believe
what he’s seeing. the woman
who’s reeling and stumbling
alone. her car parked half sideways
at the snake shop. she thinks

his headphones are life
rafts or safety as if there’s
a safe way for trying

to die. don’t ask her why.
she believes in hot pink
when they set off
start cruising
down dark streets
near midnight chasing

men on small bikes. they
always just miss them
the men round the corner. they

circle the laundromat and boarded
apartments. Dead pools and payday
check cashing store. it’s riddled
with bullets from last week’s
shooting. she’s shot to shit

stopped caring
at all. it’s nearing
midnight. she throws
out the rules. dollar store’s
closed now. popsicles stick

to her legs where they dripped
just missing her mouth.

they’re looking to score. they’ve
got scores to even. but
the more they add up. the less
that they have. he says

the night’s like swimming
up river in the flood down
in clifton when he was a kid.

they talk of swimming
and drowning and sinking

circling streets without
streetlamps and nothing
that glows.
nowhere to go.

he’s pedaling hard in the flood
down in clifton when he loses
everything the fifth time
in a week. she says she’s

sorry but can’t do a thing.
doesn’t answer the phone
when it rings. she’s forgotten
the score. the flood’s back

in clifton back in the 80s
when living was swimming
in drugs and long hair.
at 5 in the morning he calls
again fading

his voice is lost
in bad signals and light.
she says it’s not right to call
people so early. what time
is it anyway? she says time to go.

he’s swimming upstream
in the flood back in clifton
when the cops try to take him

from circle k and he runs
all the way home
to safford arizona
where wild mustangs

roam and the mountain
waits to eat him all up.
it’s time to give up.
she’s waking up.

3522632942

(832) 809-2718Dear Tucson Peeps,

FACING WORK will be opening at the Arizona History Museum October 3. I also will be exhibiting new work based on:
Tucson communities/people erased from/on the fringes of history;
Tucson musicians who use music to process trauma (personal, historical, political, environmental);
Tucson service workers.

If you are you or someone you know would like to contribute a story, please pass this info along. I’ll be writing and making art like a maniac for the next few weeks. (Thank the gods.) Contact is facingourstories@gmail.com or message me via FB. Thank you!

714-274-6791