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reading notes: but he did not know where out was


i’ve been down lately. flat as a floor. i hate moving and not having any money. one small joy was my friend carra giving me this treasure, which she said a lot of the ppl she knew in Berkeley carried around in the 90s. as i move from ithaca, which is where mitchell lived–a commune called lavender hill. short parables and wisdom book in language of pleasure and revolutionary care. & reminded again, to let go more of those habits that make me a man in the eyes of the worst ppl.

“To make his dreams real he lives quietly through his reactionary emotions. He experiences desires to control his environment and he experiences jealousy when his pleasures are threatened and he experiences possessiveness of property. He accepts these emotions much as he accepts depression and the men’s brutality. They have to be acknowledged and gotten through.”

“The men who hate others were false and death-inflicting and obsessed with being strangers.”

“It is categories in the mind and guns in their hands which keep us enslaved”

I melted at the short piece Tourmaline begins the preface w/:

“Heavenly Blue worried all the time. He worried about the bills and the roof that needed repairing and the strange men who always watched the house and what the neighbors might do next and about Hollyhock’s unhappiness. He worried most of all that he would go mad. His worrying got the bills paid and the roof fixed and drove the men away and calmed the neighbors down and helped Hollyhock be happier. and finally his worrying drove him mad. It was the madness of looking inward and being afraid. There had never been enough love and warmth around him and he thought he had gradually dried up inside. He wanted out but he did not know where out was.

Lilac and Pinetree and Moonbeam and Loose Tomato and Hollyhock gathered. They held Heavenly Blue in their arms for days, they let him cry and stare and slobber and scream and be silent. They paid the bills and looked after the roof and watched the street for strange men and talked to the neighbors and Hollyhock kept himself happy. Their house filled up with comfort and routine and gladness until Heavenly Blue could no longer resist and became response-able again” (80)

Filed under: Book Notes, Uncategorized

About the Author

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Joe Hall is the author of five books of poetry, including Someone's Utopia (2018) and Fugue & Strike (forthcoming). His poems, reviews, and scholarship have appeared in Poetry Daily, The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, Postcolonial Studies, Peach Mag,, PEN America Blog, Poetry Northwest, Ethel Zine, Gulf Coast, Best Buds! Collective, and Eighteenth-Century Fiction. He has taught poetry workshops for teachers, teens, and workers through Just Buffalo and the WNYCOSH Worker Center.

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