Speaking of graduation, I should probably introduce myself, since I'm gonna essentially make it painfully personal and tell you about my day. I'd say I occupy the "exotic white" category, being from Armenia. For all intents and purposes of this article, I'm an amateur: I checked out a decent DMC camera, but I'm not good at photography and I'm majoring in Writing, though wut r words even and howz u do dem. I guess what I'm trying to say is captured pretty well in a text I sent to someone in The Poetic Day's morning in response to her analysis of my boy trouble. "my larger struggle is that of a self incapable of love. incapable of choosing a side, incapable of reconciling difference and sameness, the outer and inner view, the categories and the cases, the frames and language with being lol. for all the facade u can't blame me for being scared" It applies well to the challenge of this day, I think. Words fail us all the time. It's in their nature to seek their own demise. When you say something, its opposite is immediately summoned and that shadow follows it around. When you say something, from the whole world of what was "unsaid" you choose the opposite statement and say, "Yeah, especially not you."
Baltimore is not poetic, but at this point in contemporary poetry we've declared everything poetic "unpoetic." Having a camera made me uncomfortable in a Sontagian way. I felt like I was framing all the wrong things; filtering, sacrificing truth to aesthetics. One day I'll be better at imposing frames and won't be obsessed with what's left on the margins. One day language and I, Baltimore and I will figure it out. Or did we already on April the 1st, 2016?
The Poetics of...bank of america
"You are so beautiful," I tell to the Bank of America assistant at the risk of sounding crude. She is sooo beautiful.
"It's just makeup," she says. Lies.
The poetics of...dialogue
So many people in Baltimore are from Baltimore. I took the Purple to Graffiti Avenue, the only street with legal graffiti, and asked the man next to me about his favorite Baltimorean thing.
"The city overall...The people. Though the crime rate is terrible," he said, "What about you, you like it here?"
"Sure," I said, "It's very...eclectic. So unique."
My, at times I indeed despise the flaccid bookish vocabulary of those habitually read, not heard.
The Poetics of...graffiti
"What is it gonna become?"
"It's just initials. For a friend, who passed away today."
Poetry, it seems, is happening now. Just now.
"Where are you from?"
"Charles Village," she said, "You?"
Well, in that case.
Below that kids graffitied their greatest fears that dangerously sounded like JHU kids' fears: "My biggest fear is...not being good enough/not being able to support myself/never doing anything worth mentioning." So is life, recognition and repetition. Maybe there's poetry in that, but I'm too close to their fears to see it.
The Poetics of...Tattoos
Jacki is the sole artist and master of her parlor, so its only fair she wasn't there when I dropped by without a previous arrangement. She was probably with Robin, her partner of 26 years. I remembered seeing photos on her wall of them in leather on a motorcycle, looking all cool back in the 80's. When they asked her about tattoo reality shows in an interview, she replied:
"I watched the occult, motorcycles, feminism, culture, lesbianism, and more get co-opted, assimilated, pasteurized, sterilized, homogenized, sanitized, neutralized, bastardized and misrepresented, made palatable, and packaged for mass-consumption; why would tattooing be any different?"
I'll return another time.
Quite recently some neighbors got together to try and challenge the Fed Hill bars' licenses, because people had gotten too loud and drunk in celebrating St. Patrick's Day. But then they changed their mind. "We didn't mean to be mean, just be civil, alright guys?" or something like that.