The Story I Never Know

I have been taking sky portraits for over two years now. It developed out of an eerie experience I had once while on the train to work.

I suddenly AWOKE. I suddenly found myself on the train, surrounded by others on their morning routes. I had no memory of rising out of bed, my morning toilet, dressing, leaving my home, or waiting for the train. It terrified me. What had become of all my lost time? And where was I in those spans? Who was I now without that person of those times lost? I felt intermittent. Was this dangerous? Perhaps so. It troubled me.

I realized I needed a mindful practice. Something to sweep me out of the default zero-grade attention that our banal daily activities lull us into. I needed something I could do regularly no matter where I was. And so my eyes turned skyward.

As a child I used to love cloud watching. I have a distinct, visceral body memory of me laying in the grass out front of the house where I grew up. I recall the dry crackle the grass made in my ears, the slight cool dampness of it pressed into my back. The way the clouds tumbled their way across the sky, eating each other.

When I was living in Pittsburgh, I was agog at how close the sky felt. It hung just over me. Perilous.

Back here in Philadelphia, it feels tamed by the lurking wild abandonment of so many of the streets near where I live.

I’m struck by a certain mode of day. I’m struck by the preciousness of that constantly evasive terrain–sky so fleet and stern. I want to say it.


Video Poem for CA Conrad’s Jupiter 88


It’s a wonderful and sad thing. Since I’m moving to Pittsburgh in a month, I’ve been making sure to really enjoy my time in Philadelphia and reach out to friends, attend events, and generally be much more social than I have been in the past few years. It’s a double-edged thing, though. I can already forecast how I’ll miss my friends, these spaces. I have to remind myself that I’ll have my memories nestled up inside as keepsakes.

Last night was one of those nights I’ll hold onto for a long while. CA Conrad came up for dinner, and my friend Dorothea Lasky has been visiting. I cooked up a bunch of food, and we had such a great time. Conrad let me film him for this little video project I’m working on, and then filmed me for his video poem series, Jupiter 88. It was incredible. I’ve always wanted to travel to travel through space, and Conrad helped me do it! Not to mention how I got to enjoy Dottie’s impromptu karaoke. Haha!!

I’m also posting a picture of me with Frank Sherlock and Rod Smith from the Chapter and Verse reading series. I was the “chapter” aspect of the night, as I decided to read some of my speculative work that acts more like fiction.