Saturday, March 21, 2015

Skype, the wisdom of the poopeating dog, Neesie and I prepare for AZ

Squishy me on Denise Leto's Skype screen https://onecontinuousword.wordpress.com Me in her glasses and iPhone. Sans the tiny brindle Freudian chihuahua who attended my last Skype commune with Neese. Soon, Foxy Brown and I will be sharing a Marriott room with Neese in Tucson at the SomaTechnics conference. My somatic counselor, also a yoga teacher for crack-addicted sex workers and woman in prison in FL, is almost done with the paperwork that will entitle me to travel with my acarological focal chi-hu-a as an emotional support animal. Many thanks to Leeny Sack, performance art professor at Naropa who encouraged me to embrace this relationship. I wish for the life of me that I could recall the name of her ESA dog. Or that I could find her bodyworker friends which she scribbled in my notebook, ladies who had ended up on this same FL deserted island.

Denise I hope to be deeply satisfied by our still fledglings my efforts (hers more advanced than mine) at performance art at the Tucson panel. We also hope to dance at the sex worker after party. And that there is a hot tub at the Marriott. And that the streetcar to downtown Tucson is wheelchair accessible, and that maybe My little fox will curb her scarily gy for the sake of academia. Or not. I mean, open embodiment, right?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Rt 3315 flordacana poem


They gather to applaud the sunset. "I'm here from Columbus, Ohio to escape the snow – – yeah, I'm working in insurance claims...there was a drone up there late at night."  He points to the streaks of violet above the Gulf.

The dog throws up a piece of chili cheese dog right before hot pink flarees on the horizon-- just missing the Canadians sipping Millers on our shared sea wall. 

Phosphorescent. A  glow-in-the-dark jellyfish in hot still waters. 

The Space Coast is another thing entirely, but still, there are drones. Up there. 

"Hey hon, order me one of those limaritas."

Just before the green flash, everyone stands and a tiny old woman in a miniskirt rings the maritime bell.







Saturday, February 28, 2015

On Bhanu's blog yesterday

I am on the Friday interview series on Bhanu Kapil's blog. Talking more freely, about my life In this Desert Island in Florida, and sex work art, then I ever have. BK, like a good bodyworker, holding the space for me. (To embrace the dirt shit sex base of my typos as art language.) http://jackkerouacispunjabi.blogspot.com/2015/02/friday-interview-series-amber-dipietra.html?m=1
I am a little embarrassed to post this now, as her most recent post tells about the death of a Bangledeshi blogger, meat cleaver end to death on the way home. His girlfriend only had her finger chopped off, but she lost him. I am ending another love. Hopefully, I won't be punished, on my way home from this dive bar. Going out alone at 2am as a tiny, disabled woman. Is there ever a question of deserving? Is that to be too dramatic? Just be wise to the street and working class? I hate everything about this question. But I love all of you and ever sheltered poor someone right here on n this wet Bukowski island.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

loss, sexuality, movement, and trauma through the lens of performance art, dance, disability, ​poetry, and sex work.

Our panel in Tuscon, April 17--so excited!




Opening Trauma into Transformation: The Politics and Poetics of Embodied Knowledge in Physical Difference and Disability

This panel explores loss, sexuality, movement, and trauma through the lens of performance art, dance, disability, ​poetry, and sex work. As intertwined artists, the bright light we stand in is that of transformation through embodied inquiry. Elements of the panel invite audience participation/sensory immersion. 



Amber DiPietra:


“The Disabled Sex(ological Body) Worker: a Poetics of invisible, Intimate Performance”


Amber Dipietra, as a body and personality, has moved on an arc from socially-isolated child with a disability, to poet, to disability advocate, to escort, to intimacy coach. She recently moved from San Francisco to St. Petersburg, FL where she has started a a local chapter of the Sex Workers Outreach Project, swoptampabay,org.. Find her at adipietra.blogspot.com and thebodypeotik.com



Violet Juno:


"Portals to Transformation: Body, Art, Architecture and Sound"


Violet Juno is a transdisciplinary performance artist who has performed and exhibited at 70 venues in 36 cities since 1990. She combines text, sound, visual tableaus, kinetic sculpture, movement and a unique form of three-dimensional mapping to create multisensory experiences for her audience. Her work addresses issues involving disability/embodiment, trauma/transformation, and the poetic tension between language and languagelessness. More info at www.violet.juno.com



Margit Galanter:


"Vivid Spaces: Movement as a Re-source"


Margit Galanter is a movement educator, arts investigator, and dance poet living in Oakland, CA. Her fascination with the potency of movement -- the multiplicity of tones, its cultural efficacy, the composing -- has drawn her to embodied inquiry for decades. She has presented, performed, and taught her work throughout the US, and has a thriving practice in the Bay Area called Physical Intelligence Life Arts, where she finds the greatest understanding through the mysteries that emerge from the speculative nature of conversation, creative collaboration, and shared practice. PI Practice: www.physicalintellgence.org * Arts: www.margitg.wordpress.com


Denise Leto:


“Postcard Divinations, Embodied Loss, and the Poetics of Origin: A Grief Geography”

Denise Leto is a poet, editor, and explorer of multigenre and collaborative forms of media and performance. She wrote the libretto for the performance piece, Your Body is Not a Shark, which examined the poetics of embodied difference and disability through music, text, and dance. Recently, she was awarded a Fellowship from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference in Sicily and was the recipient of the Orlando Poetry Prize. onecontinuousword@wordpress.com

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

in Flordacana land, manatee record is broken

as 300 hundred sea cows take shelter in three sisters, a 1 acre warm spring.

In far off news, in Taiwan, my mind keeps arching backward, to a balcony. To understand just how my friend fell. He died a few days ago. My co-worker and fellow disability advocate, who lived with multiple disabilities and had just saved up to move across the world to live with his girlfriend and study computer science. My mind keeps arcing back to the moment of the mis-step or the giving-way, or even, the thoughts in his head as he fell. As if, in knowing, I might be able to erase or ease or hold on. To catch him in soft, still water.


Thank you for that day sliding sideways in Golden Gate Park, Derek.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

vaquera outtakes: love and herpes

On our way out to pizza, I was able to say something cute and something funny about the new purse my mom had given me. A purse that looked like all the small, sleek, dark brown purses. And I was able to say it lightly, with a tone of forgiveness for all the ways mom and I were intertwined and how that lead to the decisions that got me and him here.

I could feel my tone be really winning, and it was genuine, though still very fresh, tenuous.  We laughed with nervous relief. The strain of a plucked wire. He plucked me off the porch, swung me around in a hug before he set me down on the driveway. I said, with wry caution, as we got in the car, "Don't get too excited Though I am the one who has the issues with excitement. This is clearly chemical. It may not last..." 

It had only been 10 days since I'd started anti-depressants. 

He was quiet, then said,

"Well, you know that joke about love and herpes..." then paused, considering. I was surprised since it was usually me that knew jokes and facts about anything sexually sketchy.

"What?"

"My biology teacher in high school--who was really socially awkward--used to say it."

In describing the teacher, he could have been talking about himself, but he never, or rarely, judged himself by making reference to any character traits in others.. Itself, a trait I found unfathomable and somewhat admirable.

"Yeah...?" I prompted, in what I hoped was a naturally rhythmic way. 

He spoke very slowly. It was this that left me feeling lonely in my racing head. Or gliding on the brink of shared discovery. Depending on the day.

"The difference between love and herpes is that herpes is forever," he finally supplied.

By now, we were driving, winding our way out of the suburban cul-de-sac. His joke and a drop in the stomach, though I was well aware of what I'd said just before it--in essence, Don't count
on this lasting, me persisting as this me...for you, for an us.

"So, I hope I have your herpes." He added, matter-of-fact.

"Oh, OK." Now, I was back, talking in a voice, which was one of my real, intimate, but light voices. "We'll, you definitely have that, because I have herpes."

We were on the highway now. Flashing by chain establishments. Walmart, CVS, Home Depot. I hated these buildings, monolithic processors of commodity...and I, left to my own devices, could mot reach any of them. Nor did I want what they had. What i wanted was a good escort community.  Then,  I hastened to add, in case he had forgotten,

"Just the cold sore kind--I've had since I was a little kid."

"Me too." He steered his aged Toyota in a gentle,  but adept way, between two raging SUVs.

"Mmm--hmm," a long-awaited, haughty confirmation in my voice. "That makes sense, that bump just beneath the inside of your lip I felt, which I was afraid was something worse." I remembered trying to tactfully ask him about it and him refusing to name it--which I later learned had nothing to do with danger or evasiveness or the existence of something untrustworthy. Though, in fact, his refusal to name was the big thing I would never trust--my tactic being to keep pointing to all my wild cards, out in the open.

"No," he said "You couldn't possibly remember a bump because you never kissed me with your tongue when we were first getting to know each other."

This was disturbing, but plausible. Some version of me had an excellent memory, but I did realize there was lots I didn't remember about the months before I met him and after. Also, it was sad to think (no matter what we would decide about our relationship in the coming months) that there was a time when I had held back from really kissing him.

"Well...at that time, I was getting my personal and professional wires crossed. If I didn't kiss you at first, it was because I was stalling to see if I needed to get paid or not."

He slapped my thigh as we pulled into the parking spec. "That's my girl!" 

This was the kind of tone we could hope to last if the medicine worked and, or, if I decided not to go back to the city.

We walked, hand-in-hand, across the strip mall parking lot, toward the pizzeria, which was painted a kind of neon sherbet color. It was not quite 5pm. I was not quite 40, but headed to the early bird special. He preferred it because of his acid reflux. Across many yards of glimmering blacktop,  the cab of a semi rested In the shade. 

"Oh la, " I sighed, "Remember when we met a year ago...and you were homeless and I was a prostitute?"

He squeezed my hand and said, softly, "That's my girl.”

Sunday, January 25, 2015

outtakes from vaquera because the book about vaquera won't matter, as matter-in-action, unless the process lives in the "open* somewhere else. like here.

Progressively, I move off the page as I admit that reading--with one, low vision eye, is not an effective use of psychic, creative and processing energy. It certainly is not the kind of dance of phenomena the eye, the brain, the literary image in cadence can make, if less constrained, across a page.

Sometimes, I fear I am a lazy/nervous thought-circler. My partner sometimes claims I am a naysayer. Poet friend Sabrina claims the physical needs of a more limited body have taught me economy. Her answer is a balm, and a way forward. Though it is clear that through too much economy, I fail to make choices--intuitive, embodied moves, through the chaos that could be nothing or everything. A mass of content and energy.

I mean, in terms of editing--shaving away from a mass of collected earth and flesh--that could be a manuscript. A poem-book, or kind of story. Editing, choosing what to keep and not to keep, and how to cut the contour, so it can appear, as a durational form, here in the world, as book.

It is starting to matter so much less to me--writing, I mean--if it ever did. I just wanted to approach a subliminal singing and traveling.  Except writing is still a medium through which to enhance a witnessing/noticing practice around moving and connecting, physically. The editing feels pointless, a thing not mean to be contained as text. But then subsequently, I begin to disappear as a writer, as nothing gets edited, done, sent away, published. And that could be Ok, because my real work is that of a sex(ological body) worker/poet/performance artist. That is an imperfect sequence of descriptors to describe one situational body artist arcing through time, a word for which, I do not have a thing. Just me, is the thing.

Documentary poetics, then, and more direct memoir are a way to point at the body (sex (art (work. but it becomes a mass of sorting and sequencing, and trying to channel different tones and degree of fact into form so that something can be told if it cannot be witnessed or experienced somatically.  And again, I can't make it into some thing, not at least until more cultural shifts occur. Much of what i am making/documenting/discovering goes on over here, quietly and consistently as the body poetik--and outside the sessions with the clients, appears only occasionally at performance of those sessions to audiences. (Yay for last October in Boulder/Naropa and yay, trepidatiously, to the Soamtechnics conference in Tucson this spring!)

But I can make them apparent here too, it occurs to me, as a number of discrete outtakes from many undercover works and their corollary writings. Bhanu has taught me that the blog is almost better than the book. No, it is is. it is document, in the more alive, unfixed sense.

I used to be afraid that if I blogged, there would be nothing left to really write, since all the wiring is about an art of lived experience, a looking through a lens of sex and disability, of chronic pain and sex, of curvature and light and supple flow, of intimacy and it's bridge with poetry and the body in motion. And the very practical economy of who can come together, with who, in the most intimate way, and for what most personal efficacy and why. Sex and power and the juice that flows the world.

I think the only way to cut away now, to make any choice, to feel that I am making the motions of making the sex body art work that I do visible, is to actually blog. To blog as editing process. Because it is all process work. The writing is only an arm of the overall arc, the conversation my palm has with the spine.

So, right, yeah. I am trying to write a series of long poetic sections into a manuscript about sex work, deformity, bones, cowgirls, fear and safety in the sacrum. To help me edit it, to leverage choices around what to cut and how to sort and sequence, I'll alleviate some of the pressure from the body of notes, by a kind of restorative yoga. A lifting and pulling away in which the cut parts are put in traction, here, on the blog, as outtakes from the thing that will be  isolate in it's own, discrete body (as we all are and have to unlearn and learn in degrees), a finished manuscript, the vaquera manuscript.

And, I'll begin...now. Or tomorrow.

As for Open"

"Bodies are enfleshed, but not enclosed: they are open, radically so—biologically, environmentally, socially, politically, and affectively. To be open means having the capacity for connection and curiosity, and willing to be receptive to otherness and difference. Openness is an engagement with processes of becoming, to be in anticipation of future states without predetermined ends. To be in the open is to be exposed and vulnerable under conditions of necessity and possibility, of risk and danger. Open is ontological, an ethical stance, an imperative: it demands of us to open borders, detention centers, and prisons, to open our eyes and our hearts, our senses and our awareness. Invitations are openings, as this one is: Let us come together and open ourselves to the embodied experience of our messy entanglements, fraught alliances and fuzzy boundaries with each other and with the Earth. And let us do it in Tucson. Open Embodiments is an international conference marking the relocation of the Somatechnics Research Network to the University of Arizona’s new Center for Critical Studies of the Body. Founded in 2005 by Nikki Sullivan and colleagues in the Department of Critical and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University in Sydney, the Somatechnics Research Network is an international, transdisciplinary group of more than 500 researchers interested in the “always already” technologized nature of embodiment—that is, in the sense in which embodiments cannot be distinguished from the means and methods of their making, that they are contingent, emergent, actualized, and materialized relations between some parts of a milieu and others. Somatechnics conjoins an open-ended curiosity about embodiment in our contemporary techno-nature-culture contexts with an ethics of embodied difference derived from feminist, queer, transgender, disability, and critical race methodologies, and with a political commitment to dismantling and refiguring those social technologies that maldistribute the means of life and survival according to modes of embodiment, including anthropocentric hierarchies of value. Over four days, conference participants will have the opportunity to connect their scholarly, artistic, creative, and activist engagement with embodiment’s openness to the geophysical/geospatial location of Tucson, Arizona, in the U.S./Mexico borderlands: to the surreal beauty and hazards of the Sonoran Desert, to the many vital local cultures of resistance to the militarized violence of the border and to the state’s ugly and damaging race/gender/sexuality politics, as well as to the University of Arizona’s historic commitment to interdisciplinary research and scholarship in the physical and life sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts. The conference will take place in numerous venues in Tucson’s revitalized historic downtown as well as the nearby University of Arizona campus. In addition to breakout sessions for delivering academic papers and keynote presentations from internationally renowned thinkers and culture-makers, Open Embodiments will include film screenings, performances, workshops, and other public events."

--from the Somatechnics conference site.


What opens us and spurs us on.







Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Aileen Wournos and the Jesus/Mary/Joseph triad of sex worker artists arrive in my home

Sex Worker Outreach Project, Tampa Bay Area Chapter brings the Jesus, Mary and Joseph of sex worker artists to my little old beach-urban rental here in FL.

It was just a week after the new year. A girl's voice on my work line, on a Sunday morning.

"Hi, I'm Juniper Fleming and I was amazed to find there was a SWOP chapter in Tampa. I am a sex worker artist and I drove down in my station wagon from New York with my partner and my kid because the city is freezing now and I just graduated from art school and I am trying to do documentary art about the life, death, monsterization and erasure of Aileen Wournos in Ocala. Which is like...a place I have no words for. Can i ask you about it? Well, i know Florida is a big place but I was so happy to get your number from the chapter website that really I just wondered if maybe my partner and my kid could drive over and hang out with you."

It was some kind of belated Christmas miracle for me. re-affirming the value of being a place holder, of holding the space for a tipping point. In this Florida place that has almost disappeared me. Here, in a very unlikely Southern state jutting out into the Gulf of Mexico. I made a website, sort of social justice meets/social experiment meets a career title to define my art. I made the SWOP website and I was found by beautiful, dreadlocked Juniper and her partner, a trans young Norwegian man and their kid Lilo. Here is Lilo, communing with my damaged shelter rescue chihoo-a--Lilo being a kind of Assisi figure.



Here's a quote from Juniper on Tits and Sass. She is speaking of about her project (not the Wournos one), which consists of remaking iconic Western art works, creating photographic reproductions in which she replaces the main figures in the paintings with sex workers.

"Honestly, my favorites are the ones I haven’t made yet. I love seeing a painting and imagining collaborating with one of my friends to reclaim it. It kind of makes all of history ours. Like we have declared the right to move freely throughout archetypes, time, and space. We are anything we project ourselves into.?

We sat on my couch and ate hummus and berries and Lilo painted and Johan wore his leopard print capris and told me about their inverted turtle back in Staten Island. They met when she was showing work in Berlin and staying at a hippie commune. 

These are real people, these are unbelievable people. Here is there bunny named Emma Goldman, that travels cross country with them. She is fearlessly eating grass in the humid feral FL night, in the alley beside my rental.



As for Aileen, I could not give Juniper any useful coherent language about how Ocala is 9you can disappear into the ground there), how the FL interior is, how trucker is, how it is, in the 80's for abused lesbians. I feel it and I know more so than someone who was not raised here. There;s a survivor guilt aspect too. Like I came from where she came from and I owe it to her to help Juniper make art from her story. But my path has been to go into the disappearing place which is FL and re-appear, sex/art/work/therapy. For aileen, she got disappeared 6 times over, six death sentences. I don;t know why anyone of us gets to be that one and not the other. And Juniper and I can/have to live in a world where it makes sense to look into the darkness of sexist treatment of serial killers. Court transcript being almost flattering toward Bundy, in comparison to those that still exist for Aileen. Where it is necessary to face down the darkness on all sides. The dehumanized and the dehumanizer, across gender, the cost of mixing the purchase of intimacy with street survival.

I am very blessed to have had Juniper bring Aileen's sprit into my apartment.






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