A site for poetry, for ways of thinking and writing that are impossible to consolidate with a political or conceptual vocabulary.
Past The Grapevine Telegraph Entries
Jard Lerebours, Interview + 2 Poems
Rosie Stockton Interview + 4 Poems from 'Permanent Volta'
Irene Silt, Interview + 2 Poems
Tika Simone, Interview + 2 Poems
Érica Zíngano, Interview + 2 poems
Christina Chalmers, Interview + Poems from Journal of the Revolutionary Year
We Believe in Poetry and We Believe in Revolt
Fell through a distance in the game
Out Here Tonite and Living Will
The Grapevine Telegraph by H Bolin and S Whittemore
Irene Silt, Interview + 2 Poems
What is the tension between caring for/giving yourself to others and writing poems?
Emotional literacy is an acquired skill. I mostly think in poetics. I think about how things abstractly relate to each other, how the mundane and the envisioned could become one, what knowledge bodies hold, and what my material reality has to say about all the theory I have read. The thoughts I have, even the most straightforward, take a lot of teasing out to be at all useful. A thought or an experience is not separate from our own personal context, something that could never be fully shared. This is all to say that I believe when I take the time to reflect on my being in the world, whether by writing poetry or training jiu jitsu, or otherwise intentionally thinking about what my motions or emotions bring to the moment I am in, I am able to speak to people around me in a thoughtful and resolved way. I am able to provide my loved ones with stability rather than an unhinged need for affirmation or understanding.
Which poets have you been putting off reading?
Poets in their original language, like Roberto Bolaño, Reinaldo Arenas, Ada Negri, Jean Genet.
Which poets should we all read?
We should be reading whatever poet makes us feel something when otherwise we would be hollowed out, watching TV alone at night. We should read poems and cry when we are facing repression, read poems to find timeless resonance, read poems aloud to new lovers in bed after we have sex, read poems that have had a profound effect on our mentors or idols, and especially read the poems of our friends. For me this has been Diane di Prima, Oki Sogumi, Anne Sexton, Miyo Vestrini, Anne Boyer, Audre Lorde, and Cassandra Troyan.
What is your advice on writing about sex?
Think less about sex as a concept, and more about the body. Think about how you might describe an experience while you are still in it. Savor it that way, return to it again.
When you daydream, where do you go?
To arguments I’ll never have, memories of my friends’ eyes behind masks, abandoned landfills.
Excerpts from My Pleasure
I started to say my pleasure in response to 'thank you'
washing everyone's dishes my pleasure
massaging the shoulder of your friend my pleasure
driving us for hours through the night
filling up your glass stealing you that shit
developing your thoughts
choking the dude out my pleasure
everything made into pleasure
I have all this wetness that you don’t have
and you come back at me with
you’ve got a way with words, use them
I plead, like, there are no words right now!
that would be my true pleasure
I speak for a lot longer in languages
you do not understand
I have desexualized everything but the room
You fooled yourself into thinking
I would unfold if you shook me hard enough
One time you really got me talking
you said, I should give you amphetamine salts more often
looking at you, I picked up another armful of mulch
and it began to move
as I stood up, the mulch fell away and in my arms
was a large black snake, cold
it unraveled and poured out of my arms as we gasped
what like, I am not aware of how I am fucking oozing??
that overcompensating solidity that is still so slick
try to wash myself off myself
I am losing myself to air
Blame it on the revolving door of my bed
or how the neglect made me
masochistic in a solitary way: a workaholic
there’s an idea of feminism as living with consequence
lacerated bodies communicating lacerated lives
your cunt is literally hard to get to
it clamps down so fucking hard
and the one thing I did say is
I don’t care for biting
My love of the below my love
of your self loathing which I inherited
To enter below we went to the attic,
I stepped on the stain and I took your photograph.
You are wearing the t shirt with faces and blood.
Your hair is longer than I have seen it since
You look like me.
I would prefer that our bodies just be trapped here.
My loss knows the pain of lying down
of being laid out, craving below
broken noses on a door frame
being washed out and hung up
saying I would need so much out of you
it is not even worth getting into
but then we will just continuously get into it over time.
I am so angry at you, I would save your life.
I would force you to live again, without me.
I am your left arm I am your right arm.
I have a book which illustrates vanishing points.
You obviously gave it to me.
Along with the coyote pelt,
the skull made of many bodies,
the flag of burning unicorns,
and the drawing of rain.
You gave me a complex.
you gave me the utter certainty that
the ways of the underworld are perfect.
When I was fisting you I rested my arm on top of the A/C window unit
and that time you were kneeling over me my legs fell asleep
I gave them permission to float away
I pointed out that you always wear your underwear backwards,
the face you gave me was dirty
often I am extremely rigid yet balled up
I used to call myself a 2x4 but now I am like crumbled up steel
often you say, I can’t tell if you want this
I cannot always tell myself
Pleasure is somewhere outside the known and unknown
It is unknowingness, without any expectation of one day knowing something
it is the honesty of me not knowing if I want your mouth on me at all
and the lack of expectation that I will orchestrate your desire
that I will open up onto you
When there is no denying
this will be for our use
I keep thinking about you dancing
and your wavy arms in the corner of my eyes
I tried to get you alone a few times but gave up so easily
you called me your mirror hand and nothing rang truer
compelling in a way we could only be to ourselves
You shared your vision of a velvet bedroom and I have almost offered many times to come help you staple it all over your walls. Is that what you want? So many of our desires are simple. They are within reach. What are your most unachievable desires, and what is desire in a world after achievement? What might we want, when the wanting is finally able to dig in? What is deeper in life than just wanting to live? I ask for practical reasons. If Marx himself was a whore, I think they would ask him what they ask me at the end of everything. What is sex without capital?
What is fucking when we are not fucking before work, or at work, or after work, or to get work. Not fucking as work or to make a child or to break a family or to lock you down. Not fucking to give something up or to give in or as a given. Not out of boredom or as our only thrill, or to convince someone of something. No fucking as measure, or data, or study. Not to know what you could get away with or how far you can get, not because you are owed. Not in exchange for a bed. Or a house, or a meal. Or all your meals. All the unbroken parts of your body. Not for protection, not for stability, not for a passage.
my birth relegated me to be a floating appendage to my mother
maneuvering her body
understanding her pleasures and her pains
watching the ways she medicated herself
the degradation of her body and the fate of mine
I revel in that and I make a living of it
maybe what approximates a liberating sexual encounter
is the time I was hit by a car
My physical therapist strapped himself to me
He moved his hips as a way to move my hips
I was confused by my own emotional response and you said to me
baby it’s a role reversal
you were jealous of my exhilaration
my attachment and my personal growth
the bliss of release that made me feel lost
in the world outside the physical therapy dungeon
I have a body collision mode
from a lifetime of pressing up against varied figures
for varying periods in various rooms
chairs and booths
underneath sinks and in back seats
where I can extract pleasure from almost any situation
I can honestly make you feel, exactly how you want to feel
and I can always make myself come
but I wouldn’t do that to you
I am sorry I missed your DJ set tonight
imagine a parallel world where I just show up nonchalant
after refusing so many times
and I just dance with that nondescript face
and my arms are sort of winding
sort of shifting through things
instead I am here thinking
about how you are a gift to the world
about violence, boredom, and softness
I know you would like me to touch you more often
but you don’t know how healing it is
to really want to touch someone.
The moment after refusal
where you give in
has taught me that the inverse of pain is in no way pleasure
it is acceptance
I am also thinking about the pleasure of reading aloud to you
about the moment before your sleeping medication sinks in
when coming is not enough of a release
I am thinking about how long I continue to read
after I feel you deep asleep on my chest
as I just read desire to the sunrise
I am your right appendage your left appendage
working through pain in order to do the pleasures of life
where are you now and where do you need to be to do what you need to do
sex will be something we do together
to do everything else we need to do in the world
Irene Silt writes about power, anti-work sentiment, joy and deviance. She lives in New Orleans.
- The Omega Issue Mar 2020
- The Dream Issue Jul 2019
- The Resolution Issue Apr 2019
- The Greatest Hits Issue Feb 2019
- The Flyover Issue Nov 2018
- The Lawless Issue Aug 2018