Add to "The thing to do in Tuscaloosa..."
Add to neighborhood piece by using these phrases as a beginning:
In a neighborhood, on one side...
In a neighborhood, on the other side...
In the house across the street...
In this house...
In this neighborhood...
Why should we write this "book", write about Tuscaloosa? Who should we write it for? What are its alliances? Begin though with this phrase: What I want you to realize is....
Two pieces about specific spaces. Such as 17th Street and 34th Avenue or Spring Hill Lake or McFarland Blvd.
I typed up everyone's work from yesterday. Then alphabetized by first letter. The typing took too long and so can't do today's. 20 pages of data on Tuscaloosa.
Found pieces in it...
I’m a crushed can of beer.
I’m a crushed can of beer.
I’m a wet cardboard box in a parking lot.
I’m bread molding on the porch / mustard dried on the front door
I’m chaw spat in a 20 oz pepsi bottle sideways in a gutter
I’m hog waste animal bones.
If blessing fails.
If bombs are clear.
If contact is.
If contact neutralizes.
If failure blesses.
If it all keeps growing and turning and twining then we do not need to keep moving it down despite the rain day in and day out, late in the afternoon, drenching it all so.
If leaves are medium, green deciduous.
If love is a bomb that won’t.
If love is a train that.
If neutralizing doesn’t.
If play is.
If the branches arch to form a mound.
If the flowers are yellow terminal clusters.
If the fruit is a capsule.
If the leaves are prominent with silvery scales.
If the leaves are simple.
If the margins are sharp toothed.
If the shade is dappled.
If the soil is moist, well-drained.
If the stamens appear evenly.
If the stamens protrude.
If the twigs are silvery brown and scaly.
If there is no clear.
If there is no fruit.
If together our.
If together we.
If turning back doesn’t.
If we fail.
If we love.
If you are a woman walking with your hand on another woman’s, you will be called names.
If you are heartsick in Tuscaloosa, you drink.
If you do not dress like 2 or 3 you are almost asexual, you are certainly a queer.
If you want to find poetry in Tuscaloosa, drink.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is a fence post.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is a train whistle.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is bite your tongue.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is car body.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is ceiling plaster.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is cicadas, begging the night to expand, to take in their aggressive songs, listen.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is cockroach hopscotch.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is cooked in pork fat.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is count flowers.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is count the seasons by their flowers.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is discuss over beers how the railroad tracks divide the town, how there are storms but not snow, that there is a deliberateness in its insularity and rules to graciousness.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is discuss over beers why the American south is not unionized, is underdeveloped, is low wages and takes it.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is drink.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is drive to a factory and take photographs until security kicks you off the premises.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is explain how the south is sorry for this but not really.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is floor board beneath the shower.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is fruit in the refrigerator.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is let him write their lover back home, let them write, I’m in the American south. Their monuments say things quietly as a footnote, filled with are more like connections than reverence.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is let your body’s water out.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is let your body’s water settle on top of you.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is let your house rot in the humidity.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is magnolia blossoms.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is mattress.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is mimosa blossoms.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is roaches on the window sill.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is rot in humidity.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is rot.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is stay home.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is the skin in the creased part of the body.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is to call everyone a faggot. There is nothing worse. You are a faggot because you are NOT ME, as in your are UNLIKE ME or so NOT LIKE ME that you are “the other”; you have crossed the forbidden landscape of being, at your most cavernous root, so UNLIKE ME that you will never recover. It is the most fear based word. You are also, because of your faggot ways, unwanting of living. You are so different thtan me that WE WILL KILL YOU. Everyone, no matter the gender or actual sexuality, is gay-bashed. You Are All Faggots and We Wish You Were Dead.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is trumpet vine.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is under a bright autumn moon, the plantation style houses, thick white columns, a sense of proportion.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is walk to get drinks and point out the hairline sweat and that it is October.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is watch your ass.
The thing to do in Tuscaloosa is wisteria.
In a neighborhood on one side of this house: a man and his mother and his lawn.
In a neighborhood on the other side of this house: enthusiastic mother with cigarette, 22 year old nursing school daughter, teenage boy floating up and down the street, up and down the afternoon on a pushscooter with little expression; quiet father.
In a neighborhood, what constitutes class?
In the house across the street, the college age son is going to Bible school to learn what to say to those people who think we come from the monkeys, says the neighbor who smokes.
In the library a land surveyor’s photos from the turn of the century flicker and echo boating parties in the river. In the hundred year old photo, it looks swampy. Family portraits with seated matrons in their frilly whites, handsome sons, even the dogs looking serene and well fed. It is impossible to wonder how people made lives in the heat, the damp, the closeness. The way anyone does, anywhere.
In this house are a couple from the north whose neighbor comes home with plastic bags of soda bottles every weekend, a couple who move from city to city getting educated and not believing in God and trying to avoid 9-5 jobs.
In this house: organic milk milled in state; Alabama’s only dairy, nonhomogenized (is it milk? is that it?)
In this neighborhood, one gallon of the cheapest Winn-Dixie milk available made its way next door, minor gift.
It is difficult to locate canned pumpkin in the grocery store.
It is hard not to get annoyed when your white students in white polo shirts write about their hero General Lee
It is hard to know what to way when your students at the prison all worship the American dream and individual responsibility because they’re right and they’re white and black and yet more of them are black and yet and
It’s easy to think slavery is in the past when a black man is president and
It’s hard not to worry about slavery when you move to Alabama from the north and
It’s hard not to worry when you discuss the legacy of slavery with blackmen in prison you’re not a carpetbagger with good intentions.
It’s hard not to worry when you worry about slavery you’re being patronizing and
It’s hard not to worry you’re assuming a black person checking you out at Winn Dixie or Target is poor because of the legacy of slavery or Reconstruction or Jim Brow and welfare reform or is poor for some other reason or is not poor but earning some extra money for college
It’s hard not worry that you’re all wrong when a white student says reconstruction was the North’s revenge on the South
It’s hard to ask that question because the answer is and
It’s hard to feel okay about a black man twice your age adding Mr to your first name when you tell him your name when he’s pruning and
It’s hard to know whether low wage employment is better than none at all and
It’s hard to know why but easy to assume why every person who comes to your door at your house in the middle class neighborhood looking to mow your lawn or paint your house’s numbers on your mailbox or sell you a magazine or a cleaning fluid and
It’s your yard and it’s only because you don’t know how
Like the train, everything here makes a sound when close.