"Intention in the saying and in the planning, certainly, but infinite freedom to adjust with the arc of my imagination, even within the constraint of page or poem or language or book or body, and in whatever body you have, the vibrating motion of existence, articulating that loving and difficult and complicated and gorgeous experience of being alive.
But also: I’m not free unless everybody’s free."
"Because it’s endless. We can’t see the other side of it because it’s still happening. [...] So what you do to continue is the routine stuff. For poets, that’s returning to language. As a person, it could just be trying to feed yourself and get enough sleep and checking in on people that you love. And, I don’t know, watching your favorite terrible show."
AR: Not only are we remembering somebody else’s stuff— which is what museums, archives, galleries used to be a pleasure for— but our own lives are like that now.
KQ: Yes. And we’re watching ourselves lose it all.
AR: We are.
KQ: And what are we doing about it?
AR: We don’t know what to do. Yeah, I want to start crying.
KQ: I know. If you sit with it it’s too devastating. I think that’s why I have that line in “Erosion”: “how we fail is how we continue.”
"[...]That’s the surface depiction of it. Motherhood is hardcore. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do and it’s not valued, which makes it harder. They give you lip service and a day of flowers, but are they going to help you with childcare? Are they going to help you with housing? Are they going to make the schools safe to attend? That’s how you show that you value mothers. Not because you gave them a box of something shiny on Mother’s Day."
AR: [...] “If you sit with it too long, you can’t.” You’ll explode. You gotta go, you gotta move. I love the way this book moves through forms, moves through tones and modes and spaces and places. It gets funny and exalting and devastating, but it stays moving.
KQ: That’s how you stay alive."
BRUH COME ON
"I don’t want to be resilient. When you live in a body that is under attack, you don’t want to be congratulated for resilience. You would rather somebody recognize how fucked up it is. It’s not that the work is good or that you are good or great or beautiful or whatever because of that resilience, but despite it. Because resilience is costly."
ITS THIS PART THIS IS THE PART
"One of the things I fantasize about this conversation doing is to show love. I want to show up by giving love. That’s one of my ambitions for what this will become. It will become three minutes in somebody’s life on their phone in a month or two. I just feel like that hasn’t been modeled enough. I can’t hear it and see it enough."
"I read and I write because I’m hungry and I’m starving and my soul needs to live. That’s what I do. That’s what I do this for. I get irritated because it turns into something else. Everything about this world is a deforming and confusing situation, it often seems. And yet, we have this access to the absolute and we do what we can with that access." (1/2)
"So I will try my best. I do get it wrong, but I do try. So what I could say about resilience is that, well, if you want to have any, poetry is a good idea. If you intend to survive or even do better than survive in this completely bullshit situation, poetry would be a good idea."(2/2)
"Like, why is clarity difficult? Why is truth difficult? I will never understand that. I don’t like tiptoeing around shit. I don’t like objectivity. Fuck objectivity. Where’s the passion behind it? You will find the clarity there. In Lucretius’ The Nature of Things there is this admonition to be moderate, not passionate. I think it’s because many people who are unevolved use anger and negative feeling—non-generative/destructive feeling—to rule their behavior, (1/2)
"Well, I just don’t understand the pretense. You know you have a feeling. And if you don’t, well, how terrifying is it to not have a feeling about something? I don’t mean it in a way that says anything about folks who are neurodiverse, where they feel neutral towards something. I’m talking about neutrality in terms of an action required for survival, someone else’s care or wellbeing, or the state of the world. Those kinds of things." (1/2)
"I never forgot it because I asked Joy Harjo what she did with the anger. The panel talked about all kinds of unconscionable harm done to Indigenous people. I said, “What do you do with the anger?” And she said, “You have to transmute it because it will harm you and not whoever who’s harming you." (2/2)
KQ: I know, right [Laughter]. It’s because it’s a process. It’s not like you’re healed and it’s over!
AR: It really is magic, though! You can be all messed up and a poem can fix you. I’m here in the hospital of literature. I came here cos I was desperate to heal, to change, to get some kind of insight—anything.
"We have to actively shape cultural thought. And I know that if what I’m saying goes wrong, we’re going to be in trouble because we’re trying to shape how people think. And who are we to do that? But if we don’t, then it gets left to the wrong people."
a personal server for a black nonbinary traumatized person