Posts Tagged With: Art

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whoso magazine’s first featured writer: Amber Coyne

My Body is an Alter

Ink drills into skin
Anchors sink into flesh
Needles pass stories
Through me
Carve into me

Christian eyes machetes
Murder me
Mutilate me

Bodies are temples
Jesus an eraser
Purity scrubs skin white
Honor your temple

you were mistaken
my body is no temple
my body is an alter
every line an offering

chiseled strokes plague skin
every curve an artist commandment
every wrinkle a part in the sea of color

I will sink rainbows into my skin
To cleanse away holy water
Poison masked as promise

turn flesh to testament of resistance
Needles to inscribe stories stolen
Peach pages waiting for calling

needles pass through palms
they sink into feet
colors transverse skin
Sacrifice to memory

Christian eyes set to crucify
Will find this alter covered
Blanketed in permanent protection
Sewn into skin altared


Appropriate Technology

Sometimes I wonder what it felt like
Chemo coursing through your veins
Was it like hot lava flowing
Circulating destruction death

Did you force smiles for my comfort
While poison tunneled pillaged cells

Burn your body inside out
Did you burn yourself

For me
For dad
For hope

To kill the invader
With an invader
To murder the murderer

They said it was appropriate technology
They cited statistics
They employed ethics
They beamed over a chemo room

Adorned with art
Leather chairs
Beachfront views

They masked the truth
Covered up a dirty little secret
With distractions

The cure is worse than illness
Who is the killer now

The chemo
The cancer
The medical industry

Sometimes I wonder
Would you do it all over again
Let every glass of cold water become
A agent of death suffocation
Let every meal become
A menu of bile of vomit
Let every brief walk become
A crippling marathon
Let every last minute
Be fraught with pain
With burning

Sometimes I wonder
Will I do the same
For children
My uterus has yet to meet
For lover I’ll kiss every morning
For faith I gave up the day you died
Will I burn myself for them

Was that fire for me

femme3Amber Jean Coyne is a masters of Public Health student focusing on LGBTQ+ heath equity with a minor in Queer Studies. She received her Bachelors of Science in Molecular Cell Biology from Sonoma State University in 2012 graduating summa cum laude. Amber is a writer and theatre enthusiast performing in such plays as The Vagina Monologues and The Class Menagerie. She is previously published in Language, Violence & Resistance (2014) by The Alter Collective and Queer Studies at Oregon State University.


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Having trouble waking this morning.

Not sure why. I had decent sleep, decent enough, I guess. Sipping the large coffee and watching the clock get closer to 7. Definitely taking a nap when I get back home. I’ll write when back from 1B, then go for a nice calm 5 mile run, maybe stretch to 6.2. Winery tomorrow.. have to work on grad writing, the ‘Grim’ project. And grade, twenty items a day, my new aim and approach. 6:30 right now, and I think I feel the coffee working, finally. Sun coming to our eyes earlier now, that is until daylight savings, which I still don’t understand, conceptually.
Poetry reading tonight.. not going to read, I’ve decided. I want this to be about exposure to poetry, for the students and myself, and to do a little surveillance on the venue, if you would.
Just had a realization concerning what I’m to discuss in this morning’s session. About having a ‘want’, about a character chasing something. It gives them life, and they know what they want and won’t halt thill they hold it. I’m not sure where I’m going with this but I see something, reader, just know…
Found a new direction for this morning’s talk and meeting, oh how I’m hoping I don’t take a nap, now, when I get back home. I need to write, I need to live from my words and the markings, the typings onto and into this page. I’m tired of jobs, of having a job, of having to have a job. I will teach up to seven classes if I have to! Anything to avoid the normality that injects itself into live, lives, so many lives! All around me!
Have to get to the classroom. And I have ideas for them! This coffee finally landed, pushing me to what I want and what I have to have; survival, sustenance, a defiance of Time.

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Wrote new poem, finished one

from the other day. So I have two potential pieces to read tomorrow. Want to write some experimental or performance prose.. no more than a page. Time for shower, then to other items on list.. one: clean desk.. always less clutter, helps the writing. Was going to walk to get a coffee, but I like the feeling of being trapped in this condo, and I have to be anyway to wait for the call from the repair place.. glass. Will bring laptop with me so I can write while there. Have to put items in ledger, then read, then plan, then grade.. so much to do, so I don’t have time for that stroll down the block anyway. Or maybe I do. I could walk with my little notebook, see what surfaces, see what me greets…..

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List, Items

Let’s see how many I get to. Jackie slept in his own bed all night. He made some odd noise, or cry around 11:30 and I was certain I’d have to transport him to our station, but no, he surprised us, greatly. First item on list was that I made sure I started with coffee, and that’s satisfied, wildly. And, if you might note, the coffee tastes better this morrow, for some reasoning peculiar. Heater on, cozy, Jackie playing on his board, the ABC’s and all the numbers he has set in the corner over there near the toy rack Dad and I assembled for him. Next item on list, write, then call the car repair people to set an appointment for the window. Can’t believe that happened, still..
Wanted to visit a winery, just haven’t decided which one. And I’ll go strictly for taking pictures with the camera, not phone.. music on in a second… no tasting, need stay quick this morning. One thing on list is music, lots of music, all day music, experimental prose and poetry, anything to perform.. tomorrow night going to Redwood Café for open mic with the students. Quite excited, really, to hear what they have to read and how their emotions and expression and pieces outside of class are put to paper.
Hutcherson on and I want more coffee, want to move as fast as I can today. Like I noted yesterday I want to be seen as a writer, yes I have a blog but I don’t want to be read down the road, when Jack’s in college, and all stating “yeah he was a great blogger”, or “he was a blogger”. NO. I’m. A. WRITER! 7:16 and I’m already making progress and seeing things for day and for my character and letting my convictions dominate my thoughts.. need to write to students at some point.. there, added to list. I also want to communicate with a student from last semester, Paula, who recently contacted me and in well on a straight to nursedom. And I can see her very well apt to do so and caring for patients as my nurses did when I was in a bed, and how the nurses cared for Ms. Alice and little Kerouac in Feb ’12. Whoa, I think, how did Time do that, pass so fast and with such dismissive arrows. Lots added to list, just now, much with teaching, and grading. All’s connected to my life in Literature and in the classroom, and I know the author I most admire shunned and spat at academia, and I understand believe me, but there’s a gem there, several, and it’s who I am, and I do need a job of some kind. And I love the teaching aspect and the notes I prepare and the students and how they react and the prospect of going back to school myself and chasing that PhD, studying.. away from a timeclock, or a timecard, or anything having to do with THEIR time, devils. And I’m not talking about the current tasting room I’m associated with, I’m addressing the Man, the Devil, those corporations and centers that strip away your individuality and that muffle thought and talent and curiosity and expression. Oh I can see myself and the students reading tomorrow– and I just realize it! I’m reading! Tomorrow! With my students! I couldn’t be happier! This is Literature and Love and I send it all the way to Paris, for Mom and Dad, Uncle Bryan and Ms. Kathie (sp?). Should write her again, Mom, as I haven’t heard from her yet, and I understand.. she’s in my city, the city, Paris– my french! Je ne ai pas oublié! (I did not forget!) I will continue such study today, which will help me when in a doc’ program. Also need to find French podcasts… Need bigger laptop, more memory, will look at them today (more added to list for day). Need another cup.. oh this jazz, putting me in Parisian sense. Belle! Belle! This is my day, maybe this is that awesome day I’ve been wishing for since ’11, when at the box.. huh, the box.. wow, so long ago, so miserable… I remember asking myself when there, “Did I do something horribly wrong to land here?” But it was part of my story, and the main character, me, Mr. Madigan/Massamen, needed to hurt for his character, for this fortitude you see now, listening to this jazz, so at peace in his condo sipping coffee and dreaming, empowered, envisioning.
Only 7:30. God I love this! But I need more coffee and I need to look at the list but that will strip me of the words, or from them, and I’ll sit tilted and squiggly. And I’m anything but hinky right now, or exaggerative, everything this morning and with writings from me now, just before 36, and much before are layered in Truth. It’s the Hemingway circle, the practice of Grim– the empowerment and definition and resoluteness that you don’t witness in non-writers. Am I vain, with vanity in my veins? Maybe. Or maybe that’s how critics would interpret it. It’s expansive confidence, I’d like to think… And critics, criticism.. that’s hilarity to me. The -ism of the critic, why should I listen? There I go, I’ve started… No, I’m ebullient, like Jackie when he wakes and when he plays with his toys first thing in a day! Am I “full” of energy? No, I’m personifying Creative energy’s concept, idea, practice and pull. Look at me!
And now my computer stalls, just trying to update my credit card for something.. ugh, technology.. need to back off, as I promised in the ’35 Laws’, and soon. It’s been bugging me lately like it never has. There, made it work. Many of these songs I heard/listened to when I’d have my morning typing sessions before work, but this morning there’s no rush, and I don’t have to cross that goddamn parking lot in the cold to put my forefinger on that devilish scanner.. all the realizations this morning paint everything better, so much better! (2/25/15)

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coffee picWas thinking driving back from campus that I’m sick of the blog, and that the pages I wrote, handwrote, this morning and those from Sunday morning at Flying Goat and the Bakery, will be printed.  Just made coffee for myself and it’s to my left, but should I sip it?  Should I take a quick nap?  No, told myself I wouldn’t, but if I take one sip there’s no going back.. ugh, what to do, what to do.  Had a strong meeting this morning, but I had myself wrapped in doubt, or questioning myself and I can’t do that, I have to exude Hemingway confidence at my age and at this point in my career.  I look at the coffee, bring it to nose, smell…..  And I don’t sip!  I put it back down!  Can’t remember the last time, or ever doing that!  Heard a song on KCSM this morning, just now driving back as I said, by Rhiannon titled “City Life”, where she voices everything on her mind and all her worries, not so much singing as reciting, speaking her words, to the jazz, the frantic arrangement in the back ground.  My bagel’s ready, have to rise to get it, now I’m thinking like Rhiannon, enumerating everything I have to do and noticing the time shrink and I feel pressure and stress, and I have to go to the Soc Sec office after 1B and somehow fit in a run.. just thinking of it all, of Life, exhausts me.  Bit the bagel…..  Back on couch.  Just the thought of drinking the coffee and feeling that electricity exhausts me.  Jackie woke at 2-something then I came downstairs, then woke at 3 something got up to check clock and realized I could get more sleep.  So there’s two interruptions, must be why I’m so tired.  Going to spill out this entire cup, never done that.  Going to get in a power nap, go to Petaluma Campus and rile them as I did the 1A section.  No jazz now, as I enjoy the quiet.  I need rest, I need to slow, I need Peace this morning.  Not too much motion.  So, I change pattern.  Meditation, thought, stories.. want to write another like the one I submitted to Mom last week.  And print it!  Reached for coffee but stopped myself, going to finish bagel then lie down.. bit bagel and realize, “Yes, I need a little nap.”  This room, again occupied by my son’s toys, his legion of play.  I love it, but I don’t want to focus on it too much as that will wake me.  I need rest, I’m an adjunct, always juggling, jobs and papers and sections and traffic.  Wonder what he’s doing now, little Jack, at school.  Wonder what he’s learning, what he’s saying to his friends.  Wonder if he’s thinking of me, and thinks about our great day of leisure yesterday.  what is thinking?  I can’t help but think.  Curses!  Now I’m awake.  Pillows, still here, right, I need them more than this entry.

9:35, much later in day, and I sip my Merlot, the one I made in ’12.  Structurally, I’m not sure what I think, but I did make it and I’m drinking it, after a day like today, where nothing happened, nothing gripped me, nothing shook me to significant degree.  AND, our car was broken into, window smashed and Alice’s purse taken, so I’m sure that’s taking my mood for a certain spin.  Wasn’t able to move photos from phone to external hard-drive, which frustrates me but I put myself in that position, to be frustrated, by technology, always it seems.  But I want to be known as a WRITER, even if it’s a writer who blogs, delivers his words by way of blog.  Yes I know (I say to Self), Kerouac never used a blog and neither did Plath, Hemingway, so what am I doing.  Well, I’m going to write till the world’s on fire and I don’t care which world, at all; the wine world, the academic world (making it pay for how adjuncts are treated and dismissed), the Literary world and how so much favoritism is flown toward the mainstream checkout counter novels, all that vampire and courtroom and romance smut.  Again, I’m in a mood, very much in a mood.  But then I find an old picture of Jack, smile, and my night recovers.cute j pic 1  Need tomorrow to be something different, something unexpected– I’ve been wishing for that one awesome day, the one that will change everything, my whole life and writing reality.  And I want it to be tomorrow, and it will be.  I’ll write about being a father, and a writer, and an adjunct that HAS to be in the wine world as the FT position can only be dreamt.  This picture of J, so long past, and I age, watch him age but he gets more interesting and charming and cute, where I just age, get grumpy, and slow.  Goddamn Time, and all you do.  Took a few of the Valentine’s candies from the box Alice got me, the little mint-themed and flavored hearts.  I poured them out, all face-down except for one that read “Chill”.  Telling me to relax, not take it all so seriously?  Not pressure Self?  Tomorrow I’ll wake and dive into the coffee headfirst and stay under its waves, become part of them, ingest and inhale them, be more motivated than I’ve ever been, and it’ll be Heaven, a certain Personhood that only some find, most only read or study or wish.

Another picture I find, one of frosted bark at the winery.  Still can’t believepic outside frost it’s over– I mean, I can, it’s just.. don’t know.  This picture punctuates ‘season’ to me, how they change, how Time moves and we all follow observe, just take our pictures.  Part of the picture shaded, where I am, then the rest highlighted, given life by Sun and shown to world, observed, I stand there and watch before I have to clock in, put my right forefinger on that fucking scanner.  But that estate, more than grandiloquent in its visual, its image and story. I’ll go back, one day, when I’m ready, when the story tells me to.

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Visit.. Wine, A Day, Peace…..


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journal pages

1/22–  Couldn’t go back to sleep, and I tried.  Mom and Dad left for my city today, my cherished Paris.  I’ll be back soon.  Saw an interesting film last night, ‘Nightcrawler’ with Jake Gylenhall, and I’m not at all concerned with spelling his name as I don’t have much time till Jack wakes.  Yesterday in the new room absolutely and foremost defeated me.  I drove home exhausted, but no mood.  Once back in the condo, surveying all the evidence of Jack’s birthday party, the one Alice put on for all his friends and the other moms, I started to relax.  But I woke last night and this morning thinking of that film, and ambition, having a near sick ambition to get what you want, what you need professionally.  The fridge stopped, and the Artist and his mama are still very much passed out upstairs.  Both are also drained from yesterday and now I hear him asking where I am.  Going up to get my little friend, and now that he’s awake I’m cleared to make coffee.  And I’ll need coffee today, lots, a wine club pickup party scheduled, me needing to be there a little after 9.  Oh, if I could just have near twenty minutes to write as I do in the adjunct office, just to collect myself and watch some people walk by, write or type on that hard black iron patio table, feel it wobble in sync with my seat, I’ll be ready for the day, wine club member demands and any entitlement although I don’t think this label breeds that, frankly.  There’s too much joy and pride from not just the owners and hosts, and too much from the neighboring restaurants, other tasting rooms even, and hotels for that to happen.  It’s Human, Williamson, and that’s what keeps me interested, and why I went there in the first place.

I have odd momentum and energy already, and no coffee for the writer yet, ‘wow’ I think to myself, ‘today will be one to write about’, or somehow document.. which, yes, will be with these observational sentences, the people coming to the bar to taste and the fact that it’s complementary blows them away and humbles them, relieves them as they don’t have to dip into any cash envelope they set aside and budgeted for their vacation.  Yesterday on lunch, I just sat in the office, ate the sandwich Chef made, and I couldn’t tell you what was on it as I was too settled in my seat and rejoicing I could rest to analyze what lay between the baguette pieces.  6:35AM, no more voice heard from my little boy, my little Beat, the little Kerouac that balances me and has me with this drive this morning.  It’s not the Gyllenhaal movie (and yes I just looked it up, and yes I hear J walking around up there–)

Now he’s downstairs with me playing with one of his new trucks, me with coffee only one sip in but feel its swarming through all mico-particles and platelets.  Hoping we get out early today as it’s an early show, room closed to passers, but who knows.  Jackie tells me he’s fixing his truck, something’s “too tight, okay Daddy?” I nod and congratulate him on his work, his devotion to a singular project which I again applaud.  Have to return to Grim papers today, at some point.  Want it done within a couple weeks, at least a draft.  And then to study for the GRE, seriously this time, not only to get a refund months before.  What will get me into the PhD program and path will be the writing, my analysis of text.  Tomorrow I’ll be home with J, for the day’s whole, so I’ll have an opportunity to add more to the MS.  Not so sure about today.  Maybe a hundred-fifty words, one quote from Kerouac, or Plath.. more and more I think Plath may be the anchoring author of my first paper, I don’t know– and that’s how I look at this project, a first paper.  I have to get back to school, and so many tell me that ‘it’s staggering’ or ‘it’s grueling’, it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done.  That’s just the challenge and growth spurt I’m in need of with my teaching, reading, studying and writing.  So it’s a matter of prepping now, months ahead of the Jan ’16 submission.

7:07, Alice needs to be up soon so I can ready, shower, what have.  I’ll give her a bit, till 7:20-something.. putting down laptop, starting leave-prep.  Huge sip of the coffee and whatever remaining pain or tired from yesterday leaves me, or is quieted by the dark roast.  Going upstairs…  Dad schedule and rhythm this morning, part-time job to get me closer to where I truly and wildly want to stand, in a Stanford classroom, or in a hotel room, rewriting and rehearsing the talk I’d give the next day at a Lit conference, or on writing, or on a recent book release.. dreams starting to actualize and take shape and be able to be touched, steered.  How loving…

Today, 2/23, a day of writing and time with little Kerouac.  Tired from weekend but energized.  Loved the bakery and Flying Goat writing spots, especially the bakery as it’s inside and warm and so full of those morning weekend sounds and voices.  Running tonight but on tread, then tomorrow I’ll again give the lecture of my life.  No nap today, just writing and logging ideas.. tomorrow I hope to be incredibly focused and visual with my lecture, pointing out certain specifics in both books..

Have to write in the Grim paper as well.  And letters, more letters.. write Ashley and Dav again, and Mom and Dad while they’re in Paris, as that will be my writing focus today, that letter to Mom and Dad.  I envy them on more levels than I here have time to catalogue and capture.  But I stay put in my morning mentality with the coffee and my son and the run later.. if I run today, I may not tomorrow, or maybe I will, certainly not 13.1 like last Wed.  Or maybe I’ll try to hit 15.1, see how I feel.  Not going for time, just distance.  And maybe a little attention to Time, I won’t lie, that’s just the kind of runner I am.  Second cup brewing, and now the sun shows more of its added visuality outside; its axioms, and I become axial in my day’s aims…  Thinking of everything from this journal to my letters to the book I just finished (the 100 days project, 3 pages per..), and Quarry Swing the novel.. should edit three days of the 100 days project, which I’m for the moment titling ‘Forced Avarice’, and do so everyday so I can publish it, an ‘ebook’.. soon, get my works out there, get closer to the Road and to Stanford, and to my office, wherever that might be.. thinking Healdsburg, Square, close to my bakery.

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2/21/15: Awake and already

mindful of time.  Yes I have more than enough clockspace to write what I want and have some bracket of accomplishment or usefulness, or efficiency this morning, but I’m mindful of it, the clock, and I stress a bit, feel the anxiety, have a list going in head of what I need to do as I have to be on H Square early this morning, a bit.  So I had two cups of coffee which contributed to agility and the usefulness aforementioned but I develop a sluggy syndrome in that the worry itself slows me, how postmodern I say to myself.  Then I factor what I need get done for class, Tuesday, and the letter to my friend Ashley I still have yet to write (and I don’t know if her name is spelled ‘Ashley’ or ‘Ashlee’, I’ve spelled it both).  8:42.. quick shower, pack bag, go.  And… go!  Good honest work will save me and get me to where I need be, in my own office.  Upstairs looking for something, in that hell of a hole of a closet of mind again pushes me, tells me to get on it!  Get your office!  Promote the blog more!  And I will, especially on the Square.

Kept the window up, from the Stanford site, about the young female students that landed a grant to go explore Alaska’s old mining territory.  I want such trails and treks, even if at times it’s a trudge.  Everything starts at the Square for me, I now know.. I need to get to the Square!  Shower pack go.  Don’t forget lunch in fridge, and don’t forget what you printed (app for…).  Help Alice by cleaning a bit before I go, more tasks more items more stress.  I love it!  I’ll use it!  I’ll be emboldened by it!  Write from it!  Look at me go, this morning!  Thinking I should leave the laptop here but then I think how wonderful it’d be to type on the corner where the Oakville market is, watch people pass, listen to their conversations, see the spirit of my black coffee climb the nonvisible aircurves, to look down from above the historic structures around me– see?  I’m not even on the Square and it impacts, has its ‘impression’– which is something I noted yesterday while in the tasting room, one of the only notes I rushed, for the PhD sample, and just an independent paper I want to write and topic I want to grow.. the students will benefit from my study, studies, new etymological echoes and throws.  8:49, and why am I still writing I ask myself but no reply and I don’t expect one in the shape, the Literary Condition I’m in, very much marathoning through my sentiments and inner sensibility, seeing pages be printed and me reading them– shit!  The poetry reading!  Have to find one!  Thinking the Redwood Café, but I think that’s Thursday 1 of every month.  Can’t wait that long.. so what then.  Visions and images rushing past me like speeding college students down East Cotati, I slow and day start, now, promise, movement…..

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