farmer's market, long poems, picture, poetry, travel

Meeting Mika (& Mobius Percussion)

Mika came up to me the first day I typed in Princeton. She was excited, alive–no hesitation in her stance or her talk. I admit, I was surprised to encounter someone like her in Princeton of all places. We connected with an immediacy reserved for those who fully recognize one another. (Full disclaimer: Mika offered me a delicious crepe while I typed for her, and also invited me out for drinks with friends later that night, so I might be a tad bit biased.)

Two weeks ago, I took the train to Philly and caught a ride with a friend out to Wallingford. Mika’s band, Mobius Percussion, put on an incredible performance.

mobius-percussion-vicious-children-typewriter-poetry-billimarie

Mobius Percussion is a group of four innovative musicians coming together to build something spectacular as they ascend into the realm of performance and art. Their renditions are visceral vesper reminders from long forgotten dreams. I was taken by their music to a multitude of places, including a secluded, enchanted clearing with the unmistakable attribute of being “just outside of reach.” With occasional heart pounds and short breath, I fell into a mirrored lucid dreamscape in which I sometimes ran, often meandered, down a path shaded by thick airy trees and brilliant rainwater dew remnants from full moon midnight lights. I was, and continue to be, enthralled by the lofty experience Mobius offers. It deserves to be witnessed in person, but until then, here are two amazing videos you can enjoy:

And of course, here’s the poem I wrote for Mika on the day we met. Thanks for sharing–and happy birthday!

Some people fade
from memory, but you
rush lightning into view

an intensive course in learning
to be human

(regain humanness!)

yes,
we do forget
in the act of it all–
It All! When life interrupts
our title pages, what
can we do

but take up our wailing yodels
to a wide, expansive universe
and Be
from a distance

xxx

oh, the quiet importance
of remembering threads
threading thoughts
and people
together

–billimarie
september 4th 2014

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manifesto, philadelphia, picture, travel, update

Imagination Is The New Work

Photo by @tom_reifsnyder.

It starts and it ends like this. Recall the moment. Insert something mundane, play with contrast until vibrant. What is forgotten is just as important as what’s remembered—and there it is. There, among quiet Hare Krishnas who are waiting for scavengers like us to take flight with our tupperware full of free leftover vegetarian food—there we are, still firmly planted and caught up in conversation, the night a time without stars only lights a bright porch beaming down on us from the second story staircase—there is where a poetry we often name neurosis gives everything a terrifying idyllic trim and your words, a felt glow, strike me like deja vu, words grasping at the mind’s edges like kindling flame, a series of click click BOOM—

This was the year music
was revealed to me. I don’t

know if it’s possible
to live off Free Poetry.

What kind of year can leave you hallow? (The kind without your own bed.)

You accept what this path leads to, what it consists of. You have forgotten what ennui feels like. But there is also your mother asking in a reverent whisper if you are homeless. With little to no steady employment nor living space, there’s room for obsession in your veins: Reality, Reality, Life, Art, Capitalism, Reality, Life. There’s room to fall in love with people places times and moments. Over and over again, every day—this is not exaggeration. Your bones shiver smiles. It comes easy, connecting with strangers. It is hard retaining friends. You receive the good will you give away. There is sleeping in train stations and people maliciously kicking you awake. There is restructuring narrative. There is sleeping in train stations and stumbling upon this year’s newest technology in Experimental Alarm Clocks.

My father is a jazz musician. I went from playing piano keys to learning computer keyboards. Now I type free poetry in public spaces for strangers on my typewriter.

“Love what you do and you will never work a day in your entire life.” Capitalist scum drivel aimed at convincing you work is one-dimensional suffering you can somehow escape from. Don’t swallow. Chew. You know work. You know work because you destroy, you create. Work stripped bare is called Effort. We believe there are distinctions between Work and Play. There aren’t. Work is a force and to play you need motion. It takes effort to be alive. Don’t believe it? Then stop. Forsake your limbs, your breath, your imagination, your frantic beating heart. Newsflash: the aspidistra isn’t flying. It’s falling. IMAGINATION IS THE NEW WORK. (Or OLD WORK. I’m still not sold on the concept of time.) You are not ancient tea leaves; you are ancient hands harvesting fresh herbs. You are the act which extracts flavor. The swivel of water within ceramic pots once made from dirt.

“No, really. What do you do?” Well. I watch Kiki’s Delivery Service when I’m home alone and cry.

Here are the specifics:

  • I am for throwing one’s entire self into Life/Art
  • I am against the capitalization of Life/Art
  • I am unsure how to navigate the spectrum of finance in regards to Life/Art
  • I may be unknowingly structuring Life/Art into a commodity fetish

I am aware of the dangers in romanticizing a certain lifestyle (let’s call it “wandering”) and demonizing another (“nine to five”). I have a strong desire to be productive, so that my productivity can help provide for my family, my friends, my self. I recognize that my belief of what it means to be productive may be drastically different than the definition reality (“real life”) holds as the standard.

Last Wednesday, I was given $1.50 in donations for typing over 10 poems in a straight 5 hour period.

Several people have made helpful suggestions. Tweak or adapt the Typewriter Poetry manifesto and spirit (on the original About page: “Poems are free because I am of the radical [to the root of things, to the origin] belief that many things in life can and should be without monetary value”). Drop the word “free.” Charge a base price per poem. Include a suggested donation amount. Apply for sponsorship. Stop typing free poems for people and publish a series of chapbooks which you can sell. Apply for a grant. Focus on getting published. Go back to computer work. Graphic Design. Freelance. Market yourself. Compromise. Just Grow The Fuck Up. You have an obligation to put your own obligations to yourself aside. Stop being continually broke. Find a better day job. Drop the ideations. The idealizations. Settling is maturity. Abandon imagination—it is a course that will lead you to Nowhere.

One night I had dreams. Another night I forgot them. I’ve made a pact with my body which my mind has no rights to: I shoot myself in the fucking face once we are no longer capable of dreaming.

Here is “The Process.” Here are dreams, here is art, here is expression. Throw that body into the thralls of inspiration. Yes, it has led you down an unproductive path. Yes, it will abandon you to a space without answers. But tonight you are shaman and you shake like the stars. Your mind is my mind’s final frontier.

My last sleep was full of birth. Bodily (mis)configuration. Mundane beauty, visceral love. Life.

Who says Nowhere is a bad place to be?

I repeat: IMAGINATION IS THE NEW WORK.

Does your portfolio need more diversity?

Free Poetry is not a celebration of bullshit on paper. (Are you sure? Is this avant-garde attempt really just a self-made assembly line of mass produced poetics?) Certainly, it results in a product (1 Free Poem) but it is not that product in and of itself. You push out poems because you’ve always pushed out poems. What else are you going to do? Sell them?

At best, these poems are travel-size bullshit containing small golden nugget flecks of potential. (I may be my harshest critic, but don’t tell me I’m not fully committed to the cause.) What are these bits known as potential? The potential to Actualize, to establish itself as an individual authenticity. To be A Poet’s Poem! Because I never keep copies of poems, I lose (I mean, I lovingly release and give back to the universe) these golden utterances. There is no chance for the sculpting, reshaping, chipping away—no chance to continue The Process and discover, at work’s end, a Finished Poem.

And at worst? These poems are herd. They are lost in the sea of mundane unoriginal voice, reciting the same echoes of truth over and over again until even the replicas of the replicas become fading type on pretty paper. The recipe: insert the word “life,” “eyes,” “shadows,” “light,” or “root.” Instill gratitude. Dreams. Recall specific occurrences which are loosely correlated to the central optimistic metaphor, then conclude with a vague speculation or sentiment about how awesome it is to experience and perceive whatever the hell LIFE! is.

Free Poetry. Free Poetry, indeed. Free Poetry from the confines of expectation (see above). Free Poetry from the language of pretension, from the desire not to use too many of’s or mixed metaphors or run-on imagery. Free Poetry from marketing, from publishing, from events on Facebook. From discourse. From the poet’s intent and the reader’s interpretation. The final prayer: Free Poetry so that it can be poesis. A verb. To make, to create. Who says you don’t understand poetry? How dare you. Going so far as to pretend like you don’t work—IMAGINATION IS THE NEW WORK.

Dear inertia, you’re dragging me down.
I think it’s time we see other people.

Last Thursday, I was given $9 in donations for typing over 5 poems in a 2 hour period.

This is your call to adventure: to subvert an unwanted reality, one must burn out on Art. You are in The Process of Producing Art at a maniacal pace (I have done that, I am still doing that.) You are exploring the work needed to marry Life/Art and calling it “…in which our heroine.” A living love letter, “…in which our heroine” is a public cry and virtual examination of your/our/we/my own sickness* as a testament to—what, life? art? conviction, naiveté, love, poetry, and all the other words that are supposed to mean something, because

* “But live you must, and you can either make passive love to your sickness or burn it out and go on to the next conflicting phase.” ― Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Here is my sickness. Hey, hi, hello. I have gotten more shit done in the past week than in the past four months. I am done with wavering, with passive availability. We can no longer accept teetering. It is time to burn this phase out.

Here are the technicalities. It is $6.75 for a sandwich at the library cafe. $.50 for washing one load of laundry. 40 minutes to walk to the station. $15.00 for taking three trains out of New Jersey. I need to call my family. I still haven’t responded to months of snail mail. My $50 credit bill was due when I only had $2 in quarters left. And yet—

I have been working. Real work. My kind of work. All forms of work, including re-re-re-re-editing all those unseen poems and stories and plays and screenplays and novels. I have been calling it all bullshit, then tossing everything back into the closet. What’s wrong with bullshit? I am a Taurus, and I believe in organic fertilizer. When I’m sad, I go over my work one by one and laugh. I finish with a feeling that I am less alone than I previously thought. I am connected to The Author as she existed two minutes ago, four months ago, seven years ago.

Life is thick with convoluted myth.

I could go on. I won’t.

I asked to borrow a pen and even promised to return it. The woman behind the counter said if it’s not back by the end of her shift, she’ll get written up.

There is the dislike of ending on a sentimental note. There is the need to express gratitude, but a desire to keep rooted and cease the mush.

But—thank you. Whether I know you, don’t know you, have only met you once…thank you. Whether you’ve donated (thank you), have never donated (…), or offered me something beyond a monetary tip—oh, yes, thank you!

To be thrown into the world with a person, a no-longer stranger. You have brushed against my ego and helped dismantle and rebuild it. I am now a castle built from clouds and sand.

We are equal parts fiction and equal parts truth. If only you could witness the world manifesting in your eyes. You wouldn’t dare start off and end your stories with a “so.”

To hugs and awkwardness and laughs and apathy and tears and cries and handshakes and high fives and waving goodbye—yes, the words of dreams you’ve shared with me collect
like dust along my lashes. Pluck

fruit. Harvest rains. I worship
the sound a stab in the heart
makes

~

Rewritten for Medium. Originally published at Typewriter Poetry on November 14, 2014.

You can witness the “…in which our heroine” burn out on Kickstarter and on Patreon.

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artisanal la, event, medium poems, picture, poetry

Artisanal LA: Autumn 2014

Artisanal LA Typewriter Poetry Billimarie The Social Booth CoA tremendous thank you to everyone who stopped by for a free poem at Artisanal LA! The Reef was full of passionate foodies and crafty vendors; what an inspiring mix of people to collide into. Every isle you meandered down beckoned you with some sensually stimulating substance. Scented spices, meats and cheeses–even goats! They nibbled you softly when you went over to say hello.

In the midst of it all, my absolute favorite booth was Spread the Love. Zach and Valerie are a warm, delightful couple sharing their delicious homemade artisanal peanut butter with the world. I got the chance to take home their new pumpkin seed peanut butter after typing Zach a poem.

Compared to last year, my booth was spruced up considerably. Huge thank you to Bryan for coming and helping me pack up.

Artisanal LA Typewriter Poetry Billimarie Instagram
Allen
 came over to say hello. We caught up and he sketched me as I typed his poem. His drawing is hanging up in my room here in New Jersey.

Typewriter Poetry Sketch Billimarie Allen  Artisanal LA
The ladies in the booth across from mine came over for a poem. They were kind enough to post it on instagram:

Typewriter Poetry Artisanal LA Billimarie Heidi's Salsa
Sauce LA
put on a spectacular seasonal event, yet again. A special shout out to Shawna and Shelley for including me in the festivities. I’m sure all of us participating appreciate the hard work you do!

…and last but not least, a heartfelt thank you to Crystal. Those mixed drinks were phenomenal–and definitely helped keep the poetic “spirits” alive :)

 

You start to crave it.
An edge to keep
each other challenged,

something you can brand
as your own. Being bred
in Los Angeles, you get used

to the heat.

— billimarie
october 11th 2014

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Los Angeles Makerspaces…and Conductak

I can’t quit LA.

Artisanal LA invited me to type free poetry once again at their upcoming fall showcase. With enthusiasm, I said yes.

I’ll be back home this October, flying in from the east coast.

Most of the people I typed for at last year’s Artisanal LA event have blurred together in memory. Even still, there is one fellow I have no intention of ever forgetting.

typewriter-poetry-artisanal-la-allen-billimarie-pic

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art walk, canoga park artwalk, poetry, short poems

“As We Peel Back The Layers Of The Artist’s Anticipated Level Of Engagement, We Find Numerous Sources Of Radical, Inclusionary, Destructive Creation Visions Reconstructed In Such A Manner That One Would Have To Lack All Sensation In Order To Dehumanize Such An Authentic Rendition Of Our Given Subjective Realities”

An old one. I can’t remember much about it; a child asked me “what is art?” and I came up with a non-answer in the form of a title and poem.

"As We Peel Back The Layers Of The Artist's Anticipated Level Of Engagement, We Find Numerous Sources Of Radical, Inclusionary, Destructive Creation Visions Constructed In Such A Manner That One Would Have To Lack All Sensation In Order To Dehumanize This Rendition Of Our Given Subjective Realities" typewriter poetry by billimarie

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poetry, short poems, twitter

Mushrooms, Death Suits, and Twitter

A few days ago, I came across an insightful article by Alli Magidsohn (Graves That Save). It investigates sustainable funeral arrangements, as well as the philosophy behind the Sustainable/Green Death Movement.

Alli got a chance to interview Jae Rhim Lee, the creator of the Infinity Burial Project. I stumbled upon Jae’s project several years ago while researching mushrooms. Though I’m not a member of the Decompiculture Society (yet!), I’ve been telling everyone I know about the possibility of my corpse being consumed and detoxified by fungi. In my mind, it’s a fantastic goodbye gift.

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Skyping Free Poetry

Free Poetry at WorldFest Los Angeles, 2014.

Free Poetry at WorldFest Los Angeles, 2014.

Several weekends ago, I got the chance to type at WorldFest for the second time (see last year’s “Koala” and “Daughter“). Since I knew what type of crowd flow to expect, I made sure to structure my time in an adaptive way. I set up two chairs instead of just one. I didn’t add people onto a waitlist, or even allow a line to form while typing. I focused exclusively on whoever was sitting next to me, and told anyone who wandered by that they would have to come back when the chair was empty.

I ended up typing only 10 poems the entire day–a drastic difference from my usual 50, 60 poems every two hours. I felt more of an emotional burnout than an intellectual one; living in someone else’s shoes is a lot more fulfilling to me than mechanically churning out as many adjectives as one can think up. I usually try to unearth first impressions out of five minute conversations. This time, interactions would last anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour. Think of the space that kind of time provides; it was amazing to witness stories, memories, thoughts, emotions, connections growing more and more tangible between us.

[skype]

Today I made a new Skype username: typewriterpoetry. If you’re on Skype, feel free to add me; the little icon above reflects my online status.

I’ll be available for an hour every day. I don’t have a set schedule, and I prefer it that way (as it reflects the spontaneity of when I set up Typewriter Poetry in the physical sense). Like TyPoInPo, it’ll be interesting to see who participates. Whether you’re a fellow blogger or a stranger lurking, hi! Hello! I’m looking forward to Skyping free poetry with you.

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farmer's market, new orleans, poetry, short poems, travel

“Untitled” (February 13th 2014)

Last week, I gave away free Valentine’s Day love and admiration poetry at the Mid-City farmer’s market.

A huge thanks to Moisés for giving me an amazing box of onionskin typewriter paper last year for my birthday…this was the first time I’ve used it. Love at first feel. The translucent, texturized, fragile essence made for a perfect poem this Valentine’s Day.

Here’s one of many poems I wrote during downtime.

Untitled: February 13th 2014 by billimarie typewriter poetry

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Moved to New Orleans (?)

The first question people usually ask me after we’ve been talking for a while is “where are you from?”

“I’m from LA,” I always say, though now that I’m in Louisiana I wonder if I should be abbreviating it as “L.A.” in my head.

Whether it’s my clothing, demeanor, accent, or the fact that I use “dude” more than the average person should, everyone always nods their head in immediate understanding when I declare I am from California.

Inside a mausoleum.

Inside a mausoleum.

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