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A Look At The Office EPP

January 2, 2017

ORIGINAL WORKING TITLE: A DAY OF PURGING THE OFFICE OF EPP OF IMPURITIES

Why?  Oh, to scream fake bloody palimpsest.

Treating the New Year as such, a departure from the past requires excavating the past, or in my case, just not procrastinating any longer in the making functional this office.   Even having cut my paid work hours down to a 2016 average of 25-30 hours, I somehow refused to let our office became little more than storage for empty containers, envelopes, notebooks, folders most all my books, personal literary/art archives that await an imaginary executor of estate, magazines, musical equipment,  hopelessly entangled incomplete and possibly outdated bicycle and electronic parts missing their counterparts.  No longer.  I have to defeatedly admit, I’m still more comfortable doing the exciting work on a whim on the couch, at the dining room table, on the bus to and from work –which is in an office at the dining room of a friends house– or at one of the glass offices in the Lawrence Public Library, in which the peripheral movement of practical strangers energizes me.

While not a crisis, my relationship with individually claimed private space is a problem shared by many, and it’s worth considering, the penchant for enjoying solitude.  A hallmark of dilettantism?   I gladly accept that this continuous flirtation of taking seriously the possibility of making such a personal, somehow populist, but very unique idea into a professional thing.   Anyway, that’s enough self-indulgent diarist stuff.  Now it’s space to show you pics of the office, interspersed with updates in between on what creations to expect from  2017.

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Recently, Jamie and I went to a “white elephant” (known by some as “Chinese”) gift exchange for a Krampus Party.  Jamie and I each presented  improvised mail art creations vomited out within the hour before showing up.  We took notice that ours were among the last gives to be picked.  Perhaps it was because the packages were both flatter than the other gifts.  In any case it was a small blow to us and our endeavoring to attract aspiring honorary pubes.  Our host and friend Skylar Adamson mentioned out loud the possibility that the guests at the party may be uncomfortable opening a package with the word, “puberty” on it.  (It’s also worth noting that the person who picked out my gift, a copy of Reinventing The Third Wheel, is a female whom about 5 or 6 years ago, I literally rubbed the wrong way (I was being over affectionate (committing borderline sexual harassment?) petting her head.  All this reminds me…

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…is just that.  If it’s not a powerful organizing principle,  We, here cannot pretend that puberty is not an overarching influence.  And at the very least it is a powerful metaphor which can be extended to address many other things.  By the end of 2017, you will be able to read excerpts of, working title, “Thin Skin”, a book length poem  I decided to use my own painful experiences of growing up with delayed puberty and work in juxtaposed readings and other forms of witness to the experiences of being black in the United States of America.

The period between the 6-shot murder of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson and the early June of 2015 slamming of a teenage black girl by a policeman outside a pool party, with all of the other police shootings of unarmed black men in between, combined with a hostile white reaction –can I get a “whitelash” from all you fellow finger pointers– to the emerging Black Lives Matter movement; the realization that a majority of white people in this country, including most of my family members (those who lean liberal included) still deny the existence of institutional racism made it impossible for me not to think about racism everyday.  This is very similar to my constant consciousness of the US occupation of Iraq in the last decade, alienated from the majority’s indifference. The difference this time, is that the victims of this currently talked-about injustice are visible on this soil, make themselves visible through various forms of protest.  Therefore we can produce practical outcomes by demonstrating solidarity with them.

I am not saying that my painful experiences of living with hypogonadism in a toxic masculine culture is the same, as difficult or morally equivalent to that of growing up black in racist America.  To be sure, there are analogous phenomena to it, such as the invisibility in crowds one experiences as The Other (black, gay, disabled, etc).  It is embarrassing to have to write such a disclaimer.  Not because of detailing my personal experiences, and not as much for the non literary folks that will read this as those “IN” the poetry and literary communities, many of them having had a “bleeding heart” shit storm during that said period when a certain privileged “avant-garde”, and relatively famous poet, Kenneth Goldsmith (Kenny G)  very incondsiderately appropriated the autopsy report of Michael Brown as a poem.  The discourse in the blogosphere, in private houses, classrooms and cafes went on and on, sometimes with highly constructive results.  We acquired the meaning of “white privilege” in many other households.  It’s still a phrase that too many people all across the spectrum of racial sensitivity don’t understand.  But folks in certain cliques, channels, communities do talk intelligently about it.  It’s helpful to remember even what privilege means in the pejorative: that you don’t worry about it because it’s not your problem.  And it is exactly that witnessing, of other peoples’ suffering that is off limits to you, that makes the act of bearing witness problematic.  I’m not even sure where this will take “Thin Skin”, if there will be a decent unity at all to the poem.  But the sources cited in the note, in the pic above, will make it impossible for me not to ground it in the racial and the racial yawp that “goes along” with it.  Hopefully it will redeem the following, this over here, the kernel of the idea, my self-conscious white ally preliminary to be read in the raw here.

The research going into “Thin Skin” dovetails with an even more immediate priority, working on a biography (co-written autobiography) of a veteran local civil rights and environmental activist I’ve been fortunate to get to know, Richard Mabion.  Looking forward to reporting more about that, and hopefully have an excerpt of the book, or perhaps a good snail mail correspondence with the man.

Next, give some long looks to see the collage creations by my partner, Jamie Hofling

Then down below here is my desk.  I am revisiting Antonin Artaud’s essays on theater.  I discovered Artaud through his poems from the early-mid 1920s in a 20th Century French Poetry anthology (edited by Paul Auster), then my readings about the Surrealist Movement in general, and was seduced entirely by his radical ideas–his worldview too.  It somehow led me to a long preoccupation with the phenomenology of perceiving authenticity, which he never dealt with directly, and that I failed to successfully write anything about.

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This convergence, in Artaud’s work, of rejecting the established order of things, society (whatever shorthand you prefer) and then acting upon it in his writings on the theater, but only as if out of a purely metaphysical interest, held for me some serious learning opportunities as a writer.  Later this year I’ll post a goodie on Artaud, the theater, where I think his utter philosophical dead end view on language and the mind unwittingly influenced some of the greatest practitioners of the theater, interesting connections between his writing and some of the best television I’ve watched in 2016, dealing with the big questions of what it literally means to be human.

Hmm, let’s see…yes I stand by that.  It may be fair for someone to say, “isn’t it impossible to question what it ‘literally means’ to be human, unless you’re beyond human…transhuman?”   But then I could –could– say, while tracing a shapely rune with my skinny finger in the air in front of your nimby and wise face, and say, “‘literally mean’ is a tautology for literary effect”.

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You read that right, attentive viewer, “when chips are implanted in our brains getting through life will require less work than ever before!”  Always drafts, always a pile of the big and sometimes messy unfinished. This month Enduring Puberty Press will post its first art review, of my dear old friend Yuri Zupancic, who’s had a long exhibit at the Lawrence Art Center of some of his best paintings, sculptures and video installations.

Or it may just be a found poem of compiled notes written about his work, and recordings of the art talk he gave last month.  It was largely about our interaction with technology, #postdigital #transhuman.

Perhaps the most exciting publication of the year, will be the Enduring Puberty Press Annual Literary Review, which may amount to some 75 pages of fiction, poetry, visual art, essays, news articles, and intimate if not steamy letters submitted by prospective honorary pubes across the continent.  We are still accepting submissions, so click here.   Our editorial staff consists of Daniel Ward, Kalen Richardson, Nancy Hubble and Tasha Hass whose bios we will have out shortly.  My office is shining, crying and begging to create some hearth among literary comrades (who like me also have day jobs).  Maybe you can see it in the image below.

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My fourth chapbook of poems was to be titled Dawdled Aubade, completed in early 2017, but that will be my fifth.  I’m grateful to have been asked to submit my 4th “work”, a radically revised –as in half the poems in it have been replaced– version of Rapport Privilege to Spartan Press, based in Kansas City.  New art work, by Gregory Thomas, will grace the cover It will be out in February, as part of a 12 month series of poets of the Kaw Valley area.  My privilege of being a poem maker who has lived in the area all my life, having made enough appearances at readings for the last twenty years, sometimes featuring interesting utterances probably had something to do with it, which is just my way of saying that, I’m honored to be published in a series that includes some serious beautiful crafters of the written word Denise Low-Wessel, and Dennis Etzel Jr., just to name a couple of some of the best poem makers in the the local area of my poetry “community”.

Speaking of “‘community'”, the following is an example of a lofty idea in search of one.  One that intersects sports fans, people with disabilities, their advocates, and comix fans:

Seth's BUHHL Prototypes

We have procrastinated finishing the production and distribution of the first edition of Bottoms’ Trading Cards Presents: Baseball’s Unlikeliest Handi-Heroes, cards beautifully painted by Seth Ramsey.  I have sadly been unfaithful to Baseball in 2016.  It was if I used the Royals not repeating their success as an excuse to sit on it and wait.  Hopefully copies of these amazing cards with their written player profiles, will be ready before the MLB playoffs next fall.

 

Finally there is still the crassly modest efforts of commerce.  Would putting up an online donation thingy help you support EPP, I wonder?  Wouldn’t you like a homemade envelope to go with that chap book of my poems.

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Still available to order as hard copy or PDF, Reinventing The Third Wheel, Rapport Privilege and EPP Publication No. 1 Distraction Contra Diaspora

Finally, also, to keep coming: the never-ending onslaught of letters to and from friends, peers, favorite contemporary writers and family members all with whom my relationships in my head often say more than the relationships we have “in-person”.

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Please feel free to reach out to Enduring Puberty Press, write a letter, send a parcel, submit a work (see submissions page), join the editorial staff of enthusiastic readers, ask to have your projects or “community” be written about as a news story, or pitch brilliant but likely unpopular ideas (even humanly practical ones!) to the following:

1108 Oregon Street, Lawrence, KS. 66044

or, if you’re a prema-jack, email us at blamecreed@gmail.com

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