it's good to fork things up!


 
Scale  Matters! matters

  everything here is 

    4orkological!

forkological dependence

beads of time, beads of tine passing through teeth

  

a configuration of time somewhere,
not everywhere

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the online 

Institute of 4orkological Studies

forkergirl has fun with Mardi Gras beads of multiverse.

Welcome to her forked theory of everything

            —limited edition   COME ON IN

specializing in Limited Fork Theory

these sites are similar, related, tines of each other; not all information is shared
and information is configured differently —in both Limited Fork neighborhoods:

there's lots to fork around with!


including now (22 September 2010) a video for ONE WORD book (forthcoming from Sarabande) featuring forked text written by Thylias Moss from her sixpack essay in One Word 

got to love forkology!  forkology rocks!

check out 
the discarded t-shirt limited fork project

watch the video promo below



    particle popping 
in force enforced!


proudly serving 
mid-hudson taffy here

 forked home of the institute of forkological studies

 

To visit a flash-based website, go here: 4orked.com

 

Hello to my Toledo Friends!  Let us bifurcate together and dine on wonderful ideas; we will bifurcate above and below ground, rather like trees, anchored with roots that cling and spread in soil while our branches spread even between dimensions, temporarily connecting them -–I don’t think that any connection is or can be permanent; that is one reason that we must eat again and again (ideally stopping when we feel full, even though the feeling of fullness is temporary).  

         We will hunger again.  Everyday.  Probably several times a day.

Please think, if you don’t mind, for a moment of ceiba trees, or of any tree you have liked –-forgive me, please, for assuming that there is a tree you’ve liked.  If you dislike trees, this may not be a post for you, but I leave here a small interest in trees, a small interest that may become something else. 

Each tine of a limited fork also functions as a root and/or a branch and may curve, circle, disappear for a while, temporarily connecting things, possibly even snagging something tasty, something possibly nourishing, something that can be ingested –-maybe without harm(ing us), but what is ingested will change during this process, and we may change, so the temporary connections is also a means of exchange: we give something and we receive something;  we may not realize immediately that we are different, but we are. 

 




forkergirl

Sent more poems from the collection to Vassar College where I did something considered remarkable, gave the Elizabeth Bishop Lecture a few years ago, and I built a website for this visit, “The MidHudson Taffy Company” 

When I returned home, I converted the entire lecture into sound sculpture which may be heard here 

and here.

I was delighted by every aspect of that happening, that event.  Piughkeepsie will never be the same.

Two album covers for the sound sculpture

and my Thing even has a quote pin this website; I put it there, before Mr. Holman and I became involved.  I used to tease him about visiting the  the Taffy website, and his quote is on this page of the Taffy website 

My son was there and everything, so good for him to see his mama in this  context:

ANSTED AND THYLIAS READING IN CHCAGO

and this is the quote I put there not realizing that he, Mr. Bob Holman, and I would become  involved.  He had a good time laughing at me, with good reason:

“At last! A dictionary for people who are words!  From the eight pages that define “A” (the fifth most commonly used word in English) (“A never looks back”) to the concluding two pages of “Wrong” (“Two wrongs only make a wrong wronger.”), what we have here is a smorgasbord of sentience, a collision of serendipity and scholarship. This is a book at play in the fields of meaning, a sixpack (Thylias Moss) ofquipus (Arthur Sze), a dehiscence (Forrest Gander) of florere (Vincent Katz), I (Cynthia Gaver) hope (John Rodriguez) as (we like it) (Brenda Hillman). We like it! When More’s Utopia is realized, One Word will be the vocabulary list for the SATs. (Except: there will be no SATs!)”

Bob Holman

when I was begging him to visit this site,, he just looked at me, laughed and said,

“Mz. Moss, I know that site very well, and sometimes, I eat it with a fork!”

me and my Thingdom
Me and my ThingdomI I

I love this man with all my heart! 

“AS”: Stevie Wonder on youtube here:

I will Love him Always! the lyrics:

Genius lyrics, Stevie Wonder, “As”:

your [Verse 1]

As around the sun the earth knows she’s revolving 

And the rosebuds know to bloom in early  May

Just as hate knows love’s the cure

You can rest your mind assured 

That I’ll be loving you always.
As now can’t reveal the mystery of tomorrow
But in passing will grow older every day

Just as all is born is new
Do know what I say is true
That I’ll be loving you always

[Refrain]

Until    the rainbow burns the starts out in the sky (Always)

Until the ocean covers every mountain high (Always)

Until the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea (Always)

Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream

[Verse 2]
Did you know that true love asks for nothing
Her acceptance is the way we pay
Did you know that life has given love a guarantee
To last through forever and another day

Just as time knew to move on since the beginning

And the seasons know exactly who to change 
Just as kindness knows no shame
Know through all your joy and pain
That I’ll be loving you always

Until the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea (Always)

Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream-Um (Always)

Until the day is night and night becomes the day (Always)

Until the trees and seas just up and fly away (Always)

Until the day that 8 times 8 times 8 is 4

Until the day that is the day that are no more

Until the day he earth starts turning right to left (Always )

Until the earth just for the sun denies itself

Until dear Mother Nature says her work is through

Until the day that you are me and I am you

Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky

Until the ocean covers every mountain high

Until the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea

Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream

Until the day is night and night becomes the day

Until the trees and seas just up and fly away

Until the day that 8 times 8 times 8 is 4

Until the day that is the day that are no more

Until the day the earth starts turning right to left

Until the earth just for the sun denies itself

Until dear Mother Nature says her work is through

Until the day that you are me and I am you

URL: https://genius.com/Stevie-wonder-as-lyrics

Still in Love Sent more poems from the collection to Vassar College where I did something considered remarkable, gave the Elizabeth Bishop Lecture a few years ago, and I built a website for this visit, …
Posted 6 days ago
Posted 1 week ago

Introducing Shawsheen Memorial Broom Society

Introducing Shawsheen Memorial Broom Society

Introducing my latest collection of Poetry! “Shawsheen Memorial Broom Society” with cover and Intro by Selwyn Rodda .

These poems  were written with my collaborators,, my Son, Ansted MossANSTED WITH BRUSSEL SPROUTS

my Thing, Mr. Bob Holman (mostly in text messages to him IMG_0018and my Stuffed animal Laytial

Laytial

View On WordPress

Posted 2 weeks ago

Read the Shawsheen Memorial Broom Society poem here

Here is the text of that poem:

–in response to the poem: “If you See something, Say Something”, a collaboration with my Thing, Mr. Bob Holman 

                                         

“If You See Something, Say Something” (in Shawsheen)

Banana”

white shadow

crescent moon

Wax (ing)

Wax banana

Wax grapes, apples

in bowls

On my mother’s dining room table

lunch

kitchen sink

I see this also

my father washing dishes

scalding water

his skin

down the drain

plates clean, heavenly,

full of banana water spots

we eat the shadows.

two of which

are my father’s

diseased lungs

yet I float on clouds

into such a clean, pure kingdom

that nothing else matters

just a banana which I eat the moment I arrive.

Buddha

in suds.

 

 

IMG_8137The source poem, brilliant I think, and not just because my Thing wrote it.

on the flight back to Detroit from Manhattan for the Strand BookstorePushcart Prize reading, a pushcart Prize I won for the poem, “Blue Coming” that was published in Abstract magazine TV.com here. an there you can hear me read the poem a collaboration with my Thing.  in response to his poem, “What You Can’t Know is That poetry is Connected to the Body Again” me and my Thingdom

We are two poets, by the way.

Pushcart Prize Strand Bookstore reading

Strand Pushcart Prize ReadingIMG_8137If You See Something in Shawsheen, Say SomethingConceptual banana poem-017.jpgConceptual banana poem-013.jpgConceptual banana poem-018.jpgConceptual banana poem-014.jpgConceptual banana poem-016.jpg.jpgConceptual banana poem-008.jpg.jpgConceptual banana poem-007.jpg.jpgIMG_0873 (1).jpgConceptual banana poem-019.jpg.jpgConceptual banana poem-009.jpg.jpgConceptual banana poem-010.jpg.jpgConceptual banana poem-005.jpg.jpgIMG_0874.jpgConceptual banana poem-015.jpg.jpgConceptual banana poem-011.jpg.jpgIMG_0873.jpgConceptual banana poem-006.jpg.jpgConceptual banana poem-012.jpg.jpg

WHILE ON THE flight back to Detroit from Manhattan where there as a sudden snowstorm, I was served a banana and made several conceptual banana poems thinking of the poem by my thing, “If You see Something say Something  a photo of his poem, and then the art I made with a banana pee, .some of it visible above

IMG_8137

I did see something And I did say something with a banana peel, and commitment to A poam that I like; indeed I was collaborating with his poem, tight on the Delta Jet, in plain view,  everyone on the plane could see me as I toyed with the peel,  

and if you like to know what I think about collaboration, read this essay: “

Fuckin’Muse: A Journey into Collaboration by Thylias Moss”

 Here is the cover fo the new book, still in search of a publisher, cover art and the into both by Selwyn Rodda  (my 14th book by the way)

cover of “Shawsheen Memorial Broom Society” AND  THE ARTIST Selwyn Rodda, WHO ALSO WRITE THE INTRO.”

You will see my collaborators listed:

 

My son, Mr. Ansted Moss:

ANSTED WITH BRUSSEL SPROUTS

Me and then me with My Thing, Mr. Bob Holman, most of these poems with written in Text messages to him. I am wearing my Thing’s  HAT IN THE PHOTO ON THE LEFT

and my stuffed animal, Laytial.  Lyrical was a gift from my son when a cranial aneurysm ruptured in July 2011.  Although 97% of people who experience this, die, I lived to love and try to be happy.  I will be 65 in February 2019, my Thing (Mr. Bob Holman) wi8ill be 71 in March 2019.  Ib think we look okay, and that I look fine beside him, and that we look wonderful together in the Thingdom.

 

Laytial

Pushcart Prize book

 

 

 

 

Conceptual banana poams Read the Shawsheen Memorial Broom Society poem here Here is the text of that poem: –in response to the poem: “If you See something, Say Something”, a collaboration with my Thing, Mr.
Posted 2 weeks ago
<p><strong><a href="http://shawsheenmemorialbroomsociety.wordpress.com/2018/11/24/the-journey-begins/">The Journey Begins</a></strong></p>

<p>Thanks for joining me! Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton</p>

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me! Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Posted 2 weeks ago

Introducing my New Collection of poetry: "Shawsheen Memorial Broom Society"

Introducing my New Collection of poetry: “Shawsheen Memorial Broom Society”

The cover of my new Collection and the intro were designed and written by Selwyn Rodda.

Selwyn Rodda

I am Thylias Moss, here wearing that Hat of  my Thing, Mr. Bob Holman

Mr in Bob's hat (1)
My son, Mr. Ansted Moss
ANSTED WITH BRUSSEL SPROUTS
Me and My Thing, Mr. Bob Holman

IMG_0018

Thylias Moss and Mr. Bob Holman

and my stuffed animal Laytial 

Laytial

Soon.

Sii

FOR PUBLISHER Selwn Rodda SHAWSHEEN cover art TEXT 01

View On WordPress

Posted 2 weeks ago

Come the Day by Nolan Meditz

Come the Day by Nolan Meditz

Simply beautiful —and tragic, for the sun that has always known you from when you were only stardust yourself has no more recognition of you, and even Universe for you, once only womb becomes vast womb of non-existence where the whole shebang began, etc. unending cycle

View On WordPress

Posted 3 weeks ago

I am very pleased to announce that I am winning a 2019 Pushcart Prize fo the poem “Blue Coming” a collaboration with my Thing, his poem, “What You Can’t Know  is that Poetry is Connected to the Body Again”

 

The  prize winning poem: “Blue Coming”

(published in ABSTRACT MAGAZINE TV.COM)

BLUE COMING

(in response to “Poetry Is Connected to the Body Again” by Mr. Bob Holman)

           Thylias Moss

Poetry is connected to the body,

part of my fingertips, just as blue as anything 

that ever was or will be blue–

–blue that dye aspires to, true blue

denied to any sapphire, Logan sapphire included,  even

 if she wears some

on those blue fingers,  blue spreads, consumes her

as if she hatched from an Araucana egg:

SHE IS BLUE, fingers, bluest hands ever, Tunisian blue. Djerban 

blue hands, shoulders, breasts, every 

nook and cranny blue, big bad wolf says: how blue you are!

The better to blue you….

She, so blue today, visits

 Offices of the National Enquirer to report

on this surging of blue epidemic, blue

bottle fly bluer than any sound buzzing,  fly buzzing

as blue as it can, making the Blues,  making 

The Blues mean something very different –such music from 

beating of wings, some of what has spread blue 

throughout her bluing body, 

blue buzz

even layers of atmosphere: blue buzz: name

 of a new Crayola crayon and marker, manufactured 

from her fingertips

Blue Buzz Blood group

She bleeds an orgasmic paint set.  She bleeds 

a blue layer

 her lover’s face becoming 

blue she’s dreaming of again, blue as his face

That defines blue for

her blue orgasm, so much blue everywhere

world become 

blue for her –story of this massive bluing 

–true story on the cover

of papers –turning blue once in her atmosphere

Blue static

Blue stuttering

Blue hands

Blue –Code Blue– 

coming together, what a mighty tincture,

–not exactly at the same time, but coming, connected 

to coming

Her fingertips writing a 

Blue coming.

        In response to a poem by Bob Holman

Strand Pushcart Prize Reading

Th new poems all come from  my new and unpublished collection, “Shawsheen Memorial Broom Societycover artwork and winter written by Selwyn Rodda

Cover:

FOR PUBLISHER Selwn Rodda SHAWSHEEN cover art TEXT 01
Intro:

Every indicator says 

there is occasion for poetry 

everywhere we breathe.

Thylias Moss pours forth poetry from the very pores of her skin, without pause. From within, so without. Take it from the poet herself: 

I awake in a downpour 

But I can’t shake the feeling that it ever lets up, night or day. Perpetual downpour. In every work of hers I know, poetry is an art of exuberance and daring brought to bear on what really matters, never merely one of detachment or witty, arch commentary, of alighting on a bon mot, a choice phrase, the piquant image, the novel structure – although given her formidable intellect and poetic chops, there’s a river’s bounty of such in this book, and every other. And in this collection, assisted by a power of recall as sharp as 4K, each word and image is an attempt to bring into sharper relief the form of her beloved – and her poetry, blithely impatient with all limits, formal and aesthetic, warps, flexes and weaves in tracing the lineaments of memory and desire. Lines clench, relax, unfurl, luxuriate and linger at the behest of the emotional heft and urgency of utterance, although this is the polar opposite of prosodic mush, the “high ground” of poetry yielding to the floodwaters of sentiment. A complete mastery of the poetic toolkit, of tone and voice, and a panoptic, though never stultifying, control of the material is always in evidence. Image spawns image as thematic material, evolving and revolving in the rapids of her quicksilver mind. And though many poems here are forged in a crucible of hot love, smelted metal tangoing to its ecstatic highs and its terrible troughs, even the hottest are tempered with a smithies’ mastery of material too hot to handle. And of course, as with any poetry tempered to last, each poem here is exactly what it needs to be, like the others in being unlike them. The more inventive the poet, the more generalities miss the mark.

Refusing to yield to meltdown or despair, this is a sustained work of love and art of almost fierce intensity – impossible to untangle the twain. Sustained passages are positively dithyrambic (or shall we say “Mossian”?) in their punch-drunk precision, pitched at an almost incantatory rhetoric that summons and sustains a visionary yet almost palpable presence of love, the shimmer and shimmying of the thing we dare not do without. 

No love poetry of bland, reassuring endearments this, but an amorous saga as somatically savory, as tangy and salty (as “umami”, if I may), as it is sweet. Thylias Moss relishes the sensible world with an intoxicating avidity. Its endless riches inflame her imagination, and she gives back as good as she gets (and lucky us who travel with her: what sights, sounds, smells, tastes!), a veritable welter of pungent and astringent verbal associations, rife with spice, with pop culture pizazz – her “Thing” reminding her of the priest’s first scene in “The Exorcist”, sonic screwdrivers, pop lyrics – and cosmic splendor and strife, things and forces shaped at will. And we are engulfed as we read the balm of her blistering words. Blistering for her, and us, for poetry of and about love, specially erotic, must acknowledge its eclipses, partial or whole, its devastations along with its consummations, its fraught liberation and its willing bondage, 

I walk constantly with these birds

Roped to my heart.  

and this love is made difficult by distance and goodness knows what else (the details, the story of this love, is in the book, laid out with a poet’s and a storyteller’s eye, no point in detaining you with it here)

highest highs

of my life

(also the lowest lows)

Furthermore, Thylias Moss, being a poet of the real – that unstable, multi-tiered fiction where raw feelings matter most, and where they color our entire observable universe – can plunge us giddily into different emotional dimensions, from the cosmic splendor of:

bright path of your steps, of course I remember

How you walk, that day you walked to me, fireball out

Of a personal sky,

to this: 

flame tree outside this window 

Matchstick in the dark 

A poet of startlingly real feeling, and so of necessity one of great bravery, for love hurls curveballs as well:

Block nothing, worth the pain because from it, such splendid love

Is born

 

And 

Time to place value on this dark surface    

                                                           door 

to unfathomable depth

Yet the poles of joy and pain will recur, as happens with a poetry predicated on truth, memory and love : 

that note of how very much 

I Love you,  and then my 

father’s casket was closed. 

The sung “note” in this poem, quite apart from honoring a remarkable biographical incident, serves to mark both the genuine originality of the poet herself – reaching new heights in this book – and how every genuine affair of the heart seems unsurpassable, yet echoes our primal first experience of love. And with the closing of the casket, she acknowledges how new love can offer a degree of closure of past loss, a healing long sought. Yet being the final line, it also affirms how closure is never erasure.

So a gathering of poems of love and pain, loss and gain, heaven and hell. And no matter how frightful or grim, few great poets (or their readers) can resist the unreconstituted images gifted from the deep.

black eyes of the sea

where the depths empty what can be seen

onto the surface 

So from the astonishing SHAWSHEEN DEVONIAN CONVERSION, one of the most memorable poems in a book full of such things:

  • wounded trees on their bended knees slashed 

with their own branches bloody from praying

An imaginative and rhetorical sing-song savagery to thrill the shade of Dante (throughout this passage internal rhyme rises wickedly, delightfully, to infernal rhyme); a gleefully diabolical theatre of memory worthy of Bruno Shultz and an intensity fully worthy of the great black preacher cum storyteller tradition of which she is the poetic heir apparent (she has all the fire without the brimstone and the smokescreen), and a thrilling paean to her father, keeper of sensual hot-pepper mysteries that her shame-riddled mother couldn’t scrub away. These people, real, shadowy, tragic, legendary, libidinal and comical by turn, adored or mocked, not only embody some of the history of black America, its divisions, its tragedy, its triumphs despite everything and its genius, but engender the poet’s self, with her magnificent refusal to countenance oppression, political and personal 

Mama knows best, kicking and screaming my way

Out of her petrifying belly

– culminating with her choosing and being chosen by love above all, and the love of a man, collaborator and muse, whose stupendous presence animates and gives rise to much of the invention in this volume.

It’s true: I have never read love poems remotely like these. And I rather fancy you haven’t either (need convincing? Try “Shawsheen Standard Equipment Fuses”, “Shawsheen Dream Baby Nemo” and the magnificent “Required Walking in Shawsheen” – and a quick shout out to her brilliantly unexpected titles). So I’m going to assert that this book stands the possibilities of contemporary love poetry on its head, or flings them into starlight-drenched space – does this seem hedged? Only due to my not knowing the field extensively – there are far too many banal and frankly bad love poems to wade through. Yet given the epic yet vividly intimate scope of this collection, such claims seem entirely reasonable, although I simply balk at attempting to convey the sassy, sexy, spirited, sly, wholly openhearted and wholly enraptured tone Thylias achieves: its energized ebullience and effervescence! To say nothing of her sense of drama, her superb delivery and her wry comic gift: 

You told me, “of course I feel amused; of course I feel privileged” —as you should, for I am still trying to amuse you; I am still privileging you  

every way I can! 

—as for your shenanigans, you just haven’t outgrown them yet; why 

do you think I keep writing bad Poetry to you?

And this (not about her “Thing”):

and it is said that all black men have rhythm, well, he had none, not even rhythm method of birth control his infertility made unnecessary.

What I can’t begin to convey, for even her own book strains to encompass her, is for me her largest achievement: herself. As she moves through these poems of love, revelation and longing like the deep current of Shawsheen, as she relates her past and present, as she toys with and triumphs over words, time and contingency, it becomes apparent that her self, as character and as confluence of energies, is one of contemporary literature’s great creations (“presences” or “spirits” are perhaps closer to what I mean). I  do not mean to suggest that her projected self is merely a fiction (nor to denigrate the achieved truth of hard-won fictions). Not at all. Her integrity, authenticity, curiosity, intelligence and imaginative fecundity are the ground from which her voice swells. They permeate this book, and from them issue all the glories poetry has at its disposal: rhythm, rhyme, lyricism, irony, satire, sarcasm, personification, a dazzling eruption of metaphors, memorable lines and the other these-days-not-so usual suspects.

And nothing is too inert, too mundane, too inane, to escape being swept up by her transmogrifying eye (plastic flamingos with their “liquid raptures”), her astonishing ability to locate the luster of love, with its sensual, alchemical and metaphorical possibilities, where it might be thought to least likely lurk. To find original ways to frame, embellish and convey the 3 words that love loves to hear and say, to make of love’s declaration something new, startling, convincing, this is something that might defeat even a supremely resourceful poet. Yet she does this as if it were no big thing – that is the miracle she performs, with a bevy of others. What the Metaphysical poets did with garlands of metaphors and outrageously suggestive arguments to deliciously inflame sexual desire and the promise of its fulfillment, she does with love (erotic and deep): as a source of poetic reinvention, as praise, as pleasure, sustaining its intensity despite everything that would defeat it (herself included). To sing love’s praise, and the lover’s praise, is to tend and fan the flame, stoke the fire. These poems are not just about love, they are themselves engines of love!

Poetry is of course a form of will; the word-intoxicated will to the love of truth and the truth of love (given life’s brevity, why read a poet who would subscribe to any lesser calling?), and then the even harder task of living with the consequences. One thing great poetry does is teach us that living well, like reading well, is difficult but absolutely rewarding. And with this dangerous knowledge in place, the question of meaning inevitably raises its phrenologically vexing head. We know that wealth, power and material excess do not fill the void (they make it larger, so the drive to have more increases), and also how frequently the disempowered and the lovelorn turn to extreme forms of religion or authoritarianism to fill the same. It is a huge part of Thylias’s wisdom to turn instead to her own life. Not in naval-gazing solicitude, or the look-ma-no-guilt tones of fuck-and-tell-all insta-poetry, but with a mythopoetic vitalism that generates meaning by the gathering and connecting of dots, points, vectors and sectors (like her brother-in-word Walt). Love, that bridging, quickening, healing and annealing force, thrums and flows through her life, her past (wrongs against her are fully divulged, and righteous anger felt, but never rancor. She is far too capacious to succumb to such poison) and her projected future. It is the force that drives the melding of tributaries into the self beyond ourselves.

How not to avoid turning the searching intelligence and candor of these poems on oneself? How not to at least attempt to rise to their implicit challenge? They have sent their shafts of light, delight and their depth chargers into me, a painter who usually settles for the mute mysteries of image, finding out corners of my soul too often unexamined. What do I mean when I tell someone I love them? What does it mean to say my love is durable, this time for real? Do I dare disturb my complacency, my self-absorption, and risk real love? – This applies to art as well, for once set in motion, such questions do not stop, but ripple outwards and spiral inwards. And in unqualified, awestruck answer, I admit I want to love (and make art) with the intensity, bravery, chutzpah, smarts and openness of the poems in this extraordinary book. 

Love may be the lodestar, but these are also profoundly poems of formative experience: deep, aching, memory-and-shadow-thronged, questioning and questing. Poems of childhood and its losses and lessons, that lessen yet still have the power to control us, sustain us, hurt us, salve us. And poems of her father, a paragon of love and wonder, tutelary spirit – yet how she can flick a switch and plunge us into recollected pain or longing the years can barely diminish – “a mountain over his heart just stays there” and “thunder pulls my heart into my father’s eyes”. 

Yet all is not lost. See how she can regain paradise, how banality, pain and the shadow of death are no barriers but the necessary, because real, conditions – 

we eat the shadows.

two of which

are my father’s

diseased lungs

yet I float on clouds

into such a clean, pure kingdom

that nothing else matters

just a banana which I eat the moment I arrive.

This “just” is no insouciance, just as “nothing else matters” isn’t solipsism, nor defensive posturing, but a moment of needful, everyday transcendence. In the same poem her father’s scalded skin runs “down the drain”, domestic premonition of mortality, and then the banana’s peeled skin becomes a strangely and sublimely linked opportunity of the internalized possibility of love and inner bliss, her father’s gift to her, and the wisdom of getting under the skin of things, to the pith and pulp, the artful consummation of (imaginary) transubstantiation, of the mundane origins of sublimity – anything “just” at hand: the sun-conjured banana obliterates the shadows. Also, “Diseased lungs” to “clouds”. Ethereal transubstantiation. Vaporization of pain. Yes, Thylias Moss is a poet: Ovidian, Orphic (Hippocratic!) and the rest. The given world and words are not only never taken for granted, they may also be taken for a wild ride: inverted, converted, subverted, cavorted with, poles may be vaulted and flipped, and what can’t be bent into and out of shape, what dread or dross not made divine? The poet makes it so. 

“As for politics?” I hear myself murmur. In substantial part, earlier collections addressed/resisted racism, white cultural hegemony or the horrors of slavery, always with a fully immersive imaginative power, never relenting in an equally, and absolutely justifiable, anger (whiplash irony and tar-black humour too, though she has never been in any sense a reductive poet – beholden to no single cause and no one, indeed, not even to her “Thing”). And appallingly, the trauma of white abuse and its devastating penetration into its victims lives is still unacceptably with us:

That need to cover up what she had naturally.

               Stigma

of being that darkest girl out of a dozen children, all 

6 girls born first, my mother the darkest, nappiest

kinkiest hair

Oh the stigma of being the ugly child

the one furthest from European 

standards –as if no black women are European– 

silky and blowing in the wind, just the gentlest touch, 

not even the wind

from a mouth able to start that movement:

strands dance 

that is their strength: movement 

reaction to any other movement;  they pick it up

and run with it, bend with it, groove with it….

The poetic insistence on resistance, reinvention, self-determination and self-interpretation, is wonderfully unchanged, yet the focus of many of these new poems is radically different, even more personal and revealing in their frankness and fearlessness: the celebration (and calibration) of love and being in love: love as healing, love as an offering and fulfillment of the self, love as a transformative power, love as a temporal paradise (thoughts of expulsion a shadowy presence), love as a weeping wonder-wound that will not heal, love despite all the blandishments to be superficial and selfish, to spurn the meaning and satisfaction love gives, so that our emptiness may instead be filled, foiled and fed with tinfoil trinkets of no worth. Love as the one real thing. No fake love here, folks, and you can keep your fake news too. How’s that for politics? And being a diehard romantic myself, the so very fine conviction with which Thylias loves her “Thing” feels to me, in a culture where instant gratification is promoted as the highest good, the ultimate attainment, the last word in human progress, distinctly radical. Not a program for revolution, no, but something that’s not for sale, not disposable, built to last (also like a bridge, to span distance and defy gravity). The politics of poetry has always been its heady  (threatening to some) proximity to the unimpeachable verities: no more magnificent testimony to that than the love suffusing the book you hold in your hands.

I image it’s apparent how inadequate I feel it would be to respond to these poems with a certain critical detachment. Possible? Of course, but even given the pleasure and profit of spot-the-allusion, astute prosodic and semantic analysis and then the “sober” passing of Judgment, certain poems demand to be read a certain way –

We are measuring our distance from the poem by measuring the poem

– certainly ones like these do, ones that cast spells and thunderbolts. More accurately, such poems read me, lodge in me and find me out. Such poems are galvanic, seismic, volcanic, meteoric and their technical daring is never merely clever, a twinkle-eyed tweaking of rhyme or meter, but an exemplary counterpoint to deadening and evasive habits of mind, of hooded thoughts and throttled feelings. And any pearls of wisdom they may yield come embedded in the whole damn, living, quivering, oozing, fantastic bivalve. They go down whole: tissue, web and sinew of living matter. Anyway, I thought I could get through without saying what should be clear to anyone familiar with the scene, but dang I want to anyway: Thylias Moss is a past master whose time hasn’t come. Attempting to place her in the history of American poetry, just where she lies on the great Whitman-Dickinson divide – (she straddles both, or effortlessly executes a grand jeté from inclusive expansiveness to cryptic compression and back again: accordion prosodic pyrotechnics –  although expansion and flow, like the great Shawsheen river itself, overwhelmingly govern the ungovernable forces at play here) – or what her contribution to Black and mixed race culture is (surely nothing less than essential), to poetry and culture in general, is liable to leave you by the wayside  – she has already danced around the corner or disappeared in a cloud of her own knowing. Yes, delight is instruction. And not to indulge in these poems, to not assent to them –

still wading when 

you have invitations to plunge

 – would be to miss their wisdom

a leap into centerlessness

at the same time a rising in it

– and their myriad pleasures, their carnally cosmic passion and transformative vitality. Also the tonic of their occasionally bracing sardonic wit, their remarkable tonal range, their inexhaustible inventiveness and exuberance and their insistence on a life lived at a visionary pitch, where emotions are not dulled by opt-in opiates. Because poems like these are for readers who yearn for more than self-congratulation and mild, urbane pleasure – poems artfully construed to yield their secrets with all the humdrum satisfaction of solving a crossword puzzle, the politesse of the “well-made poem”. These are poems on fire, whose white heat illuminates the almost daily assailed truth that love is not optional, and they present that truth with an uncompromising strength and honesty that is as moving as it is inspiring. In that way, perhaps above all others, this is a necessary book.

While we have the presence of mind to say “this is not the worst”, the possibility remains, through the alchemy and agency of imagination and love, to make of our life what we all, avowedly or not, want: a thing of wonder and joy. And a strong, unrepentant, unbowed imagination –

will not go down without fighting, will not drown without fighting, and that is the actual beauty:

fighting

– is the right stuff, the very stuff needed to transform ourselves and with it, perhaps, the world. For these qualities are, like poetry and love, to live and die for. And Thylias Moss, without a skerrick of pedantry or ideology, through rare conviction and delight, delivers an object lesson in (forget “positive”) ecstatic thinking and feeling, of choosing paradise – be it “just” a banana, a lover and their text messages, a river, a son, a son’s car, Laytial the stuffed mammoth, the whole wide world and beyond, no matter, all matter – over resignation, banality and the mountains “that just stay there”. And so I invite you to “take the plunge”, for these poems have the power to move and lift hearts as well as mountains.

IMG_0645

Again I read from  this book at the Strand bookstore 828 Broadway, New York, New York, on 16 November 7:00 pm

From my new Collection, Shawsheen Memorial Broom Sociery.

A little info about how the title was chosen:

WHY SHAWSHEEN?

Shawsheen is where “ocean” acquired meaning, ceased being just a word, but now also had power. Atlantic before me, Shawsheen is convergence, where this tributary of mighty Merrimack, this Great Spring brought Tewksbury, Billerica, and Andover together: trinity.  This is where I learned to love  Atlantic Ocean, a flow that connected me to the rest of the world   Shawsheen Transport of what Shawsheen instantly became.  Water even gurgled sometimes.  I was where I belong.

Reflections of  clouds danced on the surface —just for me  it seemed, but really for anyone.  Seemed to me that stars made earthly visits to this planet by sharing the luminous power with the river.  I stood by Shawsheen and learned my connections.   I like the stars sharing, I  loved their visitation.  I like the promises of “more” more than anything.  Stars sparkled as they fell, and the splashes so cool around my feet; such buoyant ankles

WHY MEMORIAL?

Some things we should never forget, Shawsheen is one of them.

Why Broom?

That power to clean up, to move things, even dust, fine particles of matter. Stardust, that power if you will, fugitive dust in particular.  Particles descending and decorating my Shawsheen, landing on the surface, bobbing there like the most colorful cups of glitter, and the brooms sweep this away, handles like baseball bats sometimes, and this dust rises into air, respiration cycle, enters my lungs and emerges unsinkable, bejeweled Shawsheen so happy to lick my ankles, and when the broom pushes particles they rise and rise, so beautiful and vast, these cosmic particles replace stars, Shawsheen bubbling with this goodness that particles, these cosmic buses, happily share

Why Society?

Group effort.  Belongs to all participants even bystanders afraid for whatever reason to believe that Shawsheen really is for them also; afraid of getting their feet wet.  But it’s true: Shawsheen is for all of you.

copyright © by Thylias Moss. Published by arrangement with the author.  All rights reserved.

More than anything, I am pleased to have written the Shawsheen poems mostly in text messages to my Thing.  Every day I would write a poem to him, often combining his words and my own He is my ideal collaborator in so much.  I would not be standing beside anyone else. Not in this life.  

and these links might help you understand:

A Journey into Collaboration

Abstractmagazinetv.com  feature 

and here is where I read “Blue Coming” Pushcart Prize-winning poem 

me and my Thingdom
Me and my Thingdom

 Come to the Strand and hear and these poems! 16 November 7:00n pm. 8282 Broadway, New York, New York 10003

Strand Reading and New Book of Poetry! I am very pleased to announce that I am winning a 2019 Pushcart Prize fo the poem “Blue Coming” a collaboration with my Thing, 
Posted 4 weeks ago

NO FEE Submission call + editor interview - The Maynard, DEADLINE: Always open

NO FEE Submission call + editor interview – The Maynard, DEADLINE: Always open

via NO FEE Submission call + editor interview – The Maynard, DEADLINE: Always open

View On WordPress

Posted 4 weeks ago

Never the twain shall meet

Never the twain shall meet

Worth thinking about, a meal of perspective

View On WordPress

Posted 10 weeks ago