Savage PageantPlaylist by Jessica Q. Stark
Savage Pageant recounts the history of the defunct zoo, Jungleland, which housed Hollywood's show animals up until its closure in 1969. In it, Stark explores the concept of US American spectacle and its historic ties to celebrity culture, the maternal body, racist taxonomies, the mistreatment of animals, and ecological violence. With a hybrid, documentary poetics, Savage Pageant reveals how we attempt to narrate and control geographical space and how ghosts (remainders, the sketch, unfinished stories) collapse the tidy corners of our collective, accumulative histories.
for the panther, escaped
1.productive activity, especially for the sake of economic gain.
2.the body of persons engaged in such activity, especially those work- ing for wages.
3.this body of persons considered as a class (distinguished from manage- ment and capital).
Last week I felt your hiccups for three days straight. This week,
unknown. A collection of impulses— this savage page. I pay to sit
with a circle of strangers to feel more prepared and one woman
cries. I feel my eyes roll and I curl into another language.
I am obsessed with hiding my own nakedness. The body on display:
a public domain of choices made— a needle, a drink of sugar, the sun
going down when I rise. Is it madness to have you? Elephants breaking
the main water line. There are things I’d like to tell you before
you are born: like don’t ever sit in circles with strangers, like
you don’t always have to be in motion to survive, like the human
heart is capable of making the head feel very small. And the
last tissue I’ll give you, before giving you away to the clock
and the stars, is a simple one: already you are part of the air
and this end will not summarize forever. Stay static, for a time,
and hold onto the slippery pull of hearsay, rumor—these legends.
Even if they are stones, they are made of sand. And even if you can’t
jump ship, you might not need to find your way home.
Hatch a plan; break a windshield.
Find the culprit:
a change in climate, bad water,
more bad water, traffic.
An imaginary sniper
while dogs sleep.
crafts making better
news than the misread
the usual percentage
of broken glass.
A ghost is a felt
in the overflow of human
information and category—
reserve a space
for the crack. Look
perfect symmetry for
some bright triangle
in misty air.
If you don’t think
of the car
or the dogs, or the
water, you might
miss not knowing.
There is no one out
in the street.
Now look again.
Conversion disorder is a mental condition in which a person has blindness, paralysis, or other nervous system (neurologic) symptoms that cannot be explained by medical evaluation. Conversion disorder symptoms may occur because of a psychological conflict.
social panics fainting spells to twitching shaking
a trance state: call it mass hysteria
(of course) it starts with little girls near puberty or in
poor working conditions stifling
laughter in the back of a schoolroom spinning
tales about breaking windows- treaty breaking
code-clocks of land script deed an outing of
the circumstance an out from the lump in the throat that
produces a sensation of choking if you can think
yourself better you can also make yourself sick
with love call it mania for a collective
breakdown a stress response against a line of history
that speeds fast like red metal towards dense fog
And now we are carving mythology out
of unremembered time. The recurrent dream about Jungleland isn’t about
tigers or Mabel or a roster of poorly behaving men. We know memory,
like a trapped lion, must snack on dry sandwiches to survive.
It would be nice to leave it alone, the small lion to its tidy sandwich,
but here is the affliction
from stories better left unsaid:
the spectacle in the archive of harm,
the body left untouched for four hours,
of Flint and the shootings that no longer receive another name.
We call a hundred mouths laughing an epidemic.
We call a thousand killing bodies a circumstance.
We are so far away
from it all, aren’t we?
The plastic jungle and the crass crate.
Yet here we sit like the mannequins of young schoolgirls
imagining something out of thin air
our tongues curling around no-nation—
no sudden movements to call our own.