Projector Verse 4Fung + Johanson + Horlick
a KSW series @
UNIT/PITT Projects, 236 East Pender St., housing the KSW library

1:00-2:30, Sunday July 20

Poets / writers presenting poems / antipoems / language.
Spoken; visually projected.
Each will read one short text, followed with open discussion.

Amy Fung projects Hilton Als
Reg Johanson
projects Annharte
Leah Horlick
projects Sharon Olds

Hilton Als
From White Girls

In all those years in the house I used to wonder: If a man touched me in the way that I imagined SL touched white women, would I die? A friend told me once that his first brush with intimacy during the height of the dying epoch was with an older man who would rub my friend’s facial cheek with his own while saying, I like you. No kissing. I like you. No close hearts. I like you. No grabbing. I like you. No shared saliva. I like you. That was the way it was not just for my friend, but for so many people, including myself: love not fully expressed physically wasn’t true love; they wouldn’t die if you didn’t touch them. Before, I touched SL through white girls. And I got him back, always, because I offered what they could not: love that was free of their quest for “liberation,” and thus egoless. Or so it seemed. After a few months away in that world of women, SL would come back to our play, and the cast of characters in our village, the backdrop of sea spray. But by 2006, neither of us verbalized what we felt: my I, and his you, and the ever-widening gulf in our twinship. Look at that empty door frame, look at that unhappy hyacinth. But I cannot look at the days SL spends away as those days. That is, I cannot see them for what they are, and what I am now: unjoined, without pattern, some meaning, a series of questions, untwinned. I cannot look at myself as myself and not see him, or the feeling of him, not SL, but the first we, and feel our unjoining because of death, but he couldn’t help it and SL can, he couldn’t help his jawline become sharper above the checkered shirt that was disappearing him, I didn’t want to look, I couldn’t help it.

“Succinct Savage Subtext”

Sublime sin is subversive sloth.
Search for superlative transgression
is a waste of superb time and silly putty.
Contra dictation in speech spelled out.
Spirituality suckered back slow slug
style into shame stride so secret sacred.
Size of head dress indicates sad sly
sell out stance or Chief Lie in His Face
or Pants colanders sick soul slime space.
Sensational sensing of scarred syllables.
Submit soon to sacrifice backslider sulk
yet loathe subtle wraparound remains
hardly suggest starburst satisfactions.

How many feathers in a warbonnet
tickle fancy vile verbal utter splutter?
Forked tongue forensics show off
self-serving crock talk diplomacy.
Stay mum and numb first nations.
Stoic whisper campaigns sneak up.
Say it again. Shut up if you speak out.
Ask relevant questions to our flat ass
association but fine tune the fiddle
for after the big pow wow is over
we get advice to cry after apology
given for government genocide
sponsored residential schools.
Media scans ho hum responses
across the country waiting to put
a smile on subversive stone faces.

What ancestor carved a pictograph
in this eye to fight this syndrome?
Drone on until ancient song takeover.
Read between the lines for signs.
Massage that tomahawk gently
to further the fling of truth now
it brings out savage after glow.
Cheek pushes scowl past censor.
Undertones too high decibel.
Defiant war cries must re-echo
memories not that easy to forgive.
Shake the loose warbonnet loose.

Sharon Olds
“I Go Back to May 1937”

I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,
I see my father strolling out
under the ochre sandstone arch, the
red tiles glinting like bent
plates of blood behind his head, I
see my mother with a few light books at her hip
standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks,
the wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its
sword-tips aglow in the May air,
they are about to graduate, they are about to get married,
they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are
innocent, they would never hurt anybody.
I want to go up to them and say Stop,
don’t do it—she’s the wrong woman,
he’s the wrong man, you are going to do things
you cannot imagine you would ever do,
you are going to do bad things to children,
you are going to suffer in ways you have not heard of,
you are going to want to die. I want to go
up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it,
her hungry pretty face turning to me,
her pitiful beautiful untouched body,
his arrogant handsome face turning to me,
his pitiful beautiful untouched body,
but I don’t do it. I want to live. I
take them up like the male and female
paper dolls and bang them together
at the hips, like chips of flint, as if to
strike sparks from them, I say
Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it.

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