Today is March 9th and all the clocks have been set one hour ahead. The day feels a bit different to me starting in this way. The rules tell me it is one hour, but my body and habits continue to believe in another. It will simply take a little time before the new type of day feels right to me again.
I’m sharing this because I am now blogging over at Jacket2 for their Commentaries section. My Commentaries series is called TIME TEXT BODY NOISE, and I’ll be writing about how we experience and imagine time when we read, hear, and see poetry happen. Though this is unstated on the site, I will predominantly conduct this exploration through Asian American poetics, though a few other poets will be in the mix, too. I’m tired of Asian American work being seen predominantly for its Asian Americanness.
I’ll be pointing to work by folks like Tan Lin, Myung Mi Kim, Janice Lee, Jose Garcia Villa, Divya Victor, and Hoa Nguyen.
Central questions about dailiness, the body’s experience of time, different modes of reading, listening practices, and the page as a field of time will be considered.
I was looking at this picture of the Cygnus cluster earlier this week. Whenever I look at satellite images of deep space that have been re-rendered to highlight their anatomy, I’m struck by how much data is carried in light. This image has been processed in order to make infrared information visible to us. From light, we can determine the composition of these celestial bodies, their rotation and movement, their age…we can even predict their futures.
When I think of radiation as light, when I think of heat as light, when I think of vibration as light, I am moved by the notion that all things in the universe transmit. Communicate. Cast informational streams from themselves. What does the heat generated from my body say? What am I broadcasting at every quivering instant?
And the light that reaches me and interacts with my body, my perceptions, my ideas… what information is being so blindly delivered into me?
Our bodies require light.
I seek the opening of an understanding.
What is being said and said again with me. What am I now saying, too. If my skin were composed of eyes, what would it see. If my body were a gigantic listening drum, what would I perceive.
When I was working on what later turned into my second book, Underground National, I was watching several documentaries about North Korea. I watched these documentaries with a grain of salt, of course, but the images were arresting. I was particularly moved by the plight of orphaned children in North Korea, many of whom are starving and live by begging or picking out scraps. There was one orphan, a boy, who was in clear distress. His face was contorted with pain. No one stopped to even look at him. He walked about, holding his clasped hands up to his chest. I am not sure how old he was. Perhaps 8 or 9. He was very small. The documentary was made over ten years ago. My spirit tells me this young boy did not survive. And when I think of this, I realize that the only documents that attest to his life could very well be the footage that was used in the film. And I was observing the recreated light patterns of what had once echoed off his body and into the camera’s lens, captured.
Light moves and fills me. It is not quite life, but it echoes and drums and resounds and speaks it.