little seeds to grind dead & alive & ripe
Spirits taught me to write
Countless spirits writing this
Red juice I threw the book down
Poetry you’re a ripening disease
Grind write the dead
A popular mode stories have taken, in both poetry and other narratives, is the anecdote: a stable “I” communicates something that “happened,” in this time and world, or perhaps in a speculative adjacent world, to this “I.” This communication often happens, supposedly, horizontally—where the proposed “I” of the work is in an equally shared or estranged relationship with the reader (poems where a shared nostalgia, exception, surprise, occurs), but can also happen vertically across power, culture, or presumed social groups. When articulated vertically, say from a position of power to one below, the relationship will inevitably hyper-realize certain narratives to the exclusion of others. We have here the discussions of representation, diversity, self-empowerment. One may, through hard work or circumstance, find herself speaking vice versa, from a position of marginalization to an audience that profits off that marginalization. From the perspective of the marginalized, this can take many forms, ranging from exploitation (the demand for an account, tokenization, exploitation of labor) to justice or empowerment. We have here questions of self-determination, (white, cis, et al) anxiety, redistribution of resources. Yet when the making of profit is supreme goal (and it rarely isn’t), this can position the readership, or is marketed to position the readership, into a position of objectivity, understanding, determination. Once they have sufficiently read, felt bad, felt inspired, consumed, they are awarded a broader world view, empathy, liberality. This is a reduction. Likely, we all to varying degrees occupy multiple stations of readership, both through power and exclusion, and navigate our way accordingly. Hopefully, when entering that position of “liberal reader” we listen, learn, yes, but redistribute often, speak up when we are able, and act when opportunities present themselves to be acted upon. But what of when we occupy the position of the one looking up, feeling the words, already not ours, transform our audience into that body of liberal readership? We can let it happen, certainly. This often is all that’s available, better than most alternatives, and often brings payment, the promise of payment, or circulation. After all, we all need to eat. We could, equally and alternately, at the level of writing form resistances, or forms of barring or keeping at bay, the reader—leaving them just at the door of the text. While repetition often establishes emphases, expectation, and carries within it, now, the implication of lyricism, it can also be used to decontextualize, pushing the reader into a critical space of imagining their involvement within the poem. These poems defy unintelligibility though, rather they create an opacity that demands interrogation, questioning who is or becomes legible through the poem. The following work features multiple uses of such repetitions: embodying the recurring boredoms of marginalization, recontextualizing words or phrases, upsetting implied patterns, forcing, again and again, grammatical structure as an imposition onto its subjects, or merely echoing a sound, passing as it has through a landscape, with its deformities and valleys and ruins, distorted and opaque, back to the speaker, who discovers there a voice, new, and not quite her own. I learned this technique from the authors included here, and while I don't intend to project kinship or lineage, two poems from my collection feeld are included alongside them. I hope my work uses these techniques to similar effect.