Poems

Dao Strom Flower Diatribe #1

(Editor’s note: for correct formatting on a mobile device, please read in landscape mode).¬†

Video collaboration: Dao Strom (words and voice), Roland Dahwen Wu (video), Barry Brusseau (ambient sound)

sometimes i’m mistaken
for a flower
which is a thing
to admire or possess &
in possessing kill
(or at least watch die) always it dies not
always watched‚ÄĒ
friends would tell me
maybe it’s your face that calls it to you
open
plate blank
slate perfect
distant
porcelain
regard   a perfect
receptacle
but this is just
the art of trying to be
spared
the long-open
bar tab
already waged
by your parents to get
here
in texas i learned
You can’t just belly up to the bar and order
the first drink like that
woman
this the insidious order
of things
mis-taken
((i))
flower
sometimes
s
+
s
flowers don’t speak & they
are not expected to
speak     of course
flowers don’t have
mouths
or voices
& would our ears even hear
what kind of voice
a flower might have
if it did?
flowers could be
constantly
singing
in the same way
that the eyes of some insects
are designed to catch
colors
human eyes
can’t perceive
can’t receive
pain
has a similar
dimensionality
s
+
s
i want to consider
that our belief in the silence of
the flower is
a necessary
tactic it serves to emphasize
both the efficiency &
the tragedy
of its acquistor’s
violence   his
genius power; his
genius pain
(magnets
do not snap without
polarity)
s
+
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
s
amid the jungle entrails
of my birth-war-land
many years ago   the men who came
(there)
from the West
were met by numerous digressions   it
maddened
them for they had landed believing
their tanks
had the power to cleave
definite paths
those men‚ÄĒi know‚ÄĒare not in & of
themselves the ones to blame
for they were sent by
a larger man
& how mystifying for them all:
that despite the dropping of
tonnage upon tonnage   of munitions
on that land   there continued to be
something inside
the soil   not to mention
the people
that they could
not extinguish

(                                      )

flowers die   flowers recur

in some instances you must surrender to
navigate    it is a navigation of (im)-
passive capacities

to all the flowers-in-arms:
if you were born
(t)here   somewhere in you   you
understand
this

or other times for
a rabbit
soft furry soundless (that type of)
suggestive little creature
they just can’t help but want
to sink their claws
into   on occasion men have
said things to me:
I’m like an eagle
When I see a rabbit I have to
swoop in and snatch
it up ¬† I can’t help it ¬†¬†it’s just
my nature     or
There’s just something in me
that needs to explore the darker
places     & then     I think
perhaps you have that tendency
in you too
& i
understand these are
invitations   i understand
this is acknowledgment
of the darker
place they think i’ve come out of
i understand
that one who calls himself
an eagle   he is walking
down a long tunnel
to reach me   all his
prizes a burden
of wings on his back
s
i don’t agree
i don’t disagree
s
+
s
a naked intruder once told
me when i woke
in the middle of the night
to his presence
by my bedside
Does my nakedness bother you?
These are just bodies
We are all just flowers
  he said this
in something like a tone of
wonder   then
he took
my pillow & covered
himself with it & retreated
to a chair in the dark
of the kitchen
s
+
s
we are all just flowers
& hence
possibly always
singing   unbeknownst
to our own ears
s
+
s
i’m thinking of
that famous song   the one where
the singer
inhabits the voice
of the colonizer   who is both
tormentor &
tormented
& the song makes us all
ironically devastatingly
just want
to dance
consider too: positing that we must
slow ourselves down to appreciate
flowers
that they are something
must look for
to the side
of the path   we place
the flower in
position of either
digression
or dalliance
& : a digression exists
only when one believes in its
antonym‚ÄĒwhich is that a
*right* course of action
exists to be strayed
from
s
+
+
s
+

s
s
s
s
s

Dao Strom¬†is the author of¬†Grass Roof, Tin Roof, a novel,¬†The Gentle Order of Girls and Boys, a book of novellas, and¬†We Were Meant To Be a Gentle People, a hybrid forms memoir accompanied by an album,¬†East/West. Her work explores hybridity through melding disparate ‚Äúvoices‚ÄĚ‚ÄĒwritten, sung, visual‚ÄĒto contemplate the intersection of personal and collective histories. She¬†has received support from the Regional Arts Culture & Council, Oregon Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, and, most recently, a 2016 Creative Capital Artist Award. She has a¬†bilingual poetry book forthcoming from AJAR Press. She is also co-founder of two collective literary art projects, She Who Has No Master(s), and De-Canon.¬†daostrom.com

Roland Dahwen Wu is a filmmaker and photographer. His films include Ya no hay p√°jaros en los nidos de ayer (2010), Quarantine (2015), We are all the production line I & II (2016-2017) and Haft-seen (2017). He is the founder of Patu√° Films. rolanddahwen.com

Barry Brusseau has released three minimalist folk albums on Gorbie International Records, as well as releasing other local artists. (Gorbie was his dog, and is his label). He is currently putting the finishing touches on his next solo record, a record where he uses only one instrument per song and does not use the same instrument twice. The new album will come out in 2018 accompanied by a book of poems and short stories. He also plays in a bloody hardcore doom band titled GRAND HEAD. Barry Brusseau lives in Portland, and rarely gets a good night’s sleep. barrybrusseau.com / Grandhead.com