re-starts & apocalypses
A year ago this month, I started this newsletter with the wink that there was no post on Sundays. I sent the last one last December titled, of course, Post-script. Now, on a Monday—post booster and flu vaccines, but for sure not post-pandemic—I’m returning to the form. I hope to do these monthly with a short pre(amble), a reflection on the many things that could go after “post,” and a quick roundup of thing’s I’ve been seeing or, sometimes, what I’ve been up to.
I recently participated in a twelve-hour performance at the East River Amphitheater called Enduring Apocalypse, featuring 50 artists and collectives. Here is a fabulous 1-min recap by Justin Singley.
[ID: A queer bearded brown person stands at the microphone holding their phone and wearing a dress with large pink dots and a yellow bandana matching their yellow fanny pack.] (Photo: Noel Maghathe)
I read a new/remix poem called end (of) english. It’s a soupy ramble about language and—exactly on theme for this newsletter—about what happens after.
Here are some bits:
it didn’t begin with us, of course
but might we end it?
english is no fun unless you make it
unless you unmake it
mock its rules and rulers
english has caused enough problems
let’s cause some for english
america is a death cult
obsessed with endings
always forgets where it starts
always forgets where it restarts
This is as far as my English goes.
and isn’t that edge
the edge of the world
english is a swarm of bees
and this time at summer camp
you got stung
and ever since then
all you do is flinch
finality is uninteresting but can’t help being satisfying
it didn’t begin with us but might we end it?
because again with the crowds
that surrounding is comfort sometimes
and sometimes the people around you
don’t take themselves seriously
are bending unstoic and languaging in almosts
always beginning in winks wet ink and smudges
crumpled paper and edges and edges and edges
I’ve been thinking a lot about endurance, not just in the context of this marathon performance, but in our communal experience of a pandemic that has spanned much longer than many of our imaginations, and patience. Endurance also conjures physical training techniques where one practices to be able to run or lift or play for longer or for further without tire or injury. I have no such experience, but perhaps the closest are some recent thoughts about how it’s often challenging to sustain attention reading or writing before getting distracted by the world (or, um, Tik Toks) around me. Lately, I’ve been oscillating between rambling free-form poems like end (of) english that maybe one day will be book-length and these tight little 10-line poems with clean endings.
I realize I have these contrasting feelings about this. On one hand, I see the ways some conceptions of endurance are simply ableism or relatedly capitalist bullying towards more and more. I see this doing-the-same-thing-for-a-long-time as counter to my beliefs around change and fluidity being inextricable from reality. On the other hand, since oppressive systems endure (or at least until they do), so must our counters to them—let us practice resistance and rest so that it can have endurance, and also remain after.
(P.S. Co-creator Jenna Hamed is fundraising for some unexpected costs that have come up, Venmo them @jhamed if you can!)
I’m fundrasing for my dear Avery so that they can not just survive, but thrive as they navigate their disability case and prepare to return to school. In the first two weeks, we’re close to halfway to our goal. Please share and give what you can! If you’d like to get more involved in fundraising, including by doing a super-easy $100 bingo card on your social media.
Last weekend, I read as part of the No, Dear Issue 27 launch at Branch Ofc. I’m so humbled my poem caramel is created by heating white sugar slowly to 340 degrees or, breaking down the molecules creates a deep golden brown and deep flavor is part of the issue!
Lastly, I must shout-out the brilliant Kevin Gotkin’s new Substack Crip News, which is also been inspiring in re-starting this newsletter.