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Posts Tagged ‘Monica Raymond’

Transport

April 13, 2010 1 comment

by Monica Raymond

You were a fever but I wrung you out.
A fever’s operatic as a boat
rocked on high waves,
a liner, say. Plates slide,
and we catch egg-shaped
goblets in mid-air, and the captain’s daughter
barfs over the side,
but we tough ones ride it out,
even light up with a world-weary

snap, pickle ourselves more deeply
in gin or grain, unchangeable
as barreled herring,
cigar store Indian, those tanned while
still in the skin.
That would be, I suppose, a way of becoming
eternal.
Though actually I feel more like a husked
kernel,
a peeled grape, flayed like when
taking sunburn off—

wafer by fried wafer, scurf. Naked, the
air stinging
with the hurt that is health.


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Monica Raymond won the Castillo Prize in political theater for her play The Owl Girl, which is about two families in an unnamed Middle Eastern country who both have keys to the same house. She was a Jerome Fellow for 2008-09 at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, among many other honors and awards. Her poetry has been published in the Colorado Review, the Iowa Review, and the Village Voice, and her work has been selected for publication by every pair of qarrtsiluni editors for eleven issues in a row now.

Categories: Health Tags:

What is Health?

February 18, 2010 1 comment

by Monica Raymond

Originally written as a response to a survey for the ArtCraftTech conference on health and wealth held in Manhattan in December 2009.

What is health?

Health means being basically alert, functioning, joyous. Having access to the capacities of one’s body. Not doing stuff that will degrade it. A healthy human has found a way of being in the physical world that matches his/her spiritual and emotional needs and aspirations. Not everybody needs to be a karate blackbelt, but the person who needs to be, if they’re healthy, can learn to be. If they’re not healthy, something stops them — ideas of limitation, fear, or the actual deterioration of the body/mind. Health means the organism retains the capacity for learning, some plasticity. A healthy person has the capacity to take in information/input/contact with the world, and to respond and modulate on the basis of that information. And a healthy person is willing and able to work with what they have, to optimize, rather than lamenting some ideal state they lack.

A lot of health is about maintaining a healthy immune system — which means cultivating a fundamental attention to what’s good for one, what makes one feel healthier, and what makes you sick. That means not just noticing, but going towards what enhances your sense of well-being and away from what diminishes it.

A lot of systems look at health as a kind of balance between internal forces — heat and cold, black bile and yellow bile, etc. The trouble with these systems, in my mind, is that they’re basically conservative. They focus on adapting to the hierarchical nature of one’s society rather than working actively to change it. Ideally, healthy people would have such a wide focus that they could see all possibilities along the continuum of: adapting to the environment — changing the environment, and make a choice as to which is appropriate at any given moment. Actually, though, people, even healthy people, tend to cant one way or the other — towards adaptation or change.

I think that’s OK. That wide-focused person who can really decide whether adaptation or change is most appropriate in a given moment is so rare that we’d have to call that something bigger, wider than just health. So there’s healthy people who’re adaptors and healthy people who are change agents. Ideally, as long as the awareness and moveability are there, we can find some way to work together.

Health is linked to sustainability. A healthy human wouldn’t destroy the land they’re living on, or the water, or the air. He/she would be informed by common sense, by the desire to learn as much as possible about how things work, and the desire to keep the world a place where we can continue to live.

So, honestly, no matter how much people eat low cholesterol diets or work out or go to therapy, there are very few healthy people in the US right now. Maybe none. Our entire lifestyle is predicated on continuous, unceasing denial about the war economy and what we are doing to the environment, and a fairly high level of repression around responding freely to the things we experience and observe.

What is health care?

Health care would be care that helps people stay healthy if they are (or in the parts of their lives where they are), and return to it where they are not. It would totally vary depending on what’s needed — setting a broken bone, teaching people how to modulate their internal temperature, offering information about diet to the diabetic, listening and creating rituals of truth-telling and release for the abused.

As you can guess from what I wrote in “what is health?”, I believe health care would mean encouraging and teaching people to really pay attention to keeping healthy — which means noticing what strengthens you and what weakens and diminishes you, and going for the former.

A lot of problems which present as “health problems” actually are problems in people’s whole lives. I like Arnold Mindell’s book Working with the Dreaming Body on this topic. He argues that disease and symptoms are kind of “waking dream states,” pushing up the suppressed. They need to be worked with and the presenting problem needs to be encouraged to emerge, even amplified, not just pushed down.

As you can probably guess, I think most of what we call “health care” in this country is toxic. I stay as far away from it as is humanly possible.


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Monica Raymond won the Castillo Prize in political theater for her play The Owl Girl, which is about two families in an unnamed Middle Eastern country who both have keys to the same house. She was a Jerome Fellow for 2008-09 at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, among many other honors and awards. Her poetry has been published in the Colorado Review, the Iowa Review, and the Village Voice, and her work has been selected for publication by every pair of qarrtsiluni editors for ten issues in a row now.

Categories: Health Tags:

Charge to the Jury

January 12, 2010 Comments off

by Monica Raymond

In your cool gaze, your neutrality
try to find mercy.

As you mark
the indignation of sparrows

and water seethes her bitter testimony
brackish and abused

try to seek abnegation
for the human—

some mitigating circumstance
uncertain childhood, bitter economy,

metallurgy, glamour, greed:
beauty swollen, congealed.

Try to remember this species
that dates itself by its weapons

is born hairless and has to construct
an armor of fictions,

that gravity, though pale
and guiltless as the sky

is of necessity
the opponent.

When you are tempted by the austere
precision of salutes

expressionist blur
of explosion,

try to feel kindness for this ever-breeding
lichen breathing narration.

Keep us from war, from pestilence,
from self-destruction

remember babies, joy, sages
whatever redeems us.

Be the hand on the scale
for life, try to find mercy.


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Monica Raymond won the Castillo Prize in political theater for her play The Owl Girl, which is about two families in an unnamed Middle Eastern country who both have keys to the same house. She was a Jerome Fellow for 2008-09 at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, among many other honors and awards. Her poetry has been published in the Colorado Review, the Iowa Review, and the Village Voice, and her work has been selected for publication by every pair of qarrtsiluni editors for ten issues in a row now (counting the upcoming Health issue).

Categories: Words of Power Tags:

The Curses

December 30, 2009 2 comments

by Monica Raymond

The curses were
pleated, language folded like dense
integuments of muscle, like the heart
tougher

to bite through than
any organ. “I like it because
it is bitter,” like a miner, turnip
pressed down

flesh insisting
lively through silt, no one would take that
shape, dwarf’s bulb bullet, unless resisting
being

nothing, growing
downward what’s possible, travel through
filth, earth, call it what you will, had your fill
knowing

dull gravity,
brown and ochre, cursing the mother
for always having to carve into her
to be.

Above ground,
easy leaves find themselves differently,
all furl and crinkle, like fans, flirtation’s
light sound—

banter, repair.
These dare health, but the accordion
expansion of the root, the curses, what do
they dare?

Download the podcast

Monica Raymond won the Castillo Prize in political theater for her play The Owl Girl, which is about two families in an unnamed Middle Eastern country who both have keys to the same house. She was a Jerome Fellow for 2008-09 at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, among many other honors and awards. Her poetry has been published in the Colorado Review, the Iowa Review, and the Village Voice, and her work has been selected for publication by every pair of qarrtsiluni editors for ten issues in a row now (counting the upcoming Health issue).

Categories: Words of Power Tags:

Economies

August 29, 2009 4 comments

This must happen
after death: the gold

out of the teeth,
liver broiled instantly,

but the loins smoked and saved
for the long journey.

This must happen:
the heart, wrought solid,

kept for a grinding stone,
crescents of nails

filed clean for amulets.
What falls down

must fall down, but we take
what we need.

We try to use
all that’s left.

Sinew for harp strings,
scrimshaw from the long bones,

retina caged
and set singing.

by Monica Raymond

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Categories: Economy Tags:

The Mystic in the Basement

July 10, 2009 2 comments

for Ronald Rowe

He descends
with me

and carries
up

lumps of
cement

and splintery
old boards

and sweeps
the broken glass

the heaps,
the hoards

of half-finished,
never-read, never-sent

abandoned-
but-not

abandoned-
enough

the torn,
worn

frustrated
garments

fraying, moth-eaten—
when

that is done
he goes

for lunch
and writes

a poem
about the sapphire

crystalline sphere,
split

facings of
the star dome

the infinite
at Hi-Fi

Pizza over a
slice

then goes
to McDonald’s

for
coffee.

by Monica Raymond

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Categories: Economy Tags:

Cheap Date

April 2, 2009 Comments off


(Click on image to view at larger size.)

by Dick Freeman and Monica Raymond

Process notes

Dick:
The drawing proceeds from a new practice I described to Monica, noting, on black paper with white pencil, subjects of interest to me. This becoming an “impromtu,” semiotic document with a supportive, yet fragmented, dialogue leading toward a playful and gratifying result.

Monica:
We were sitting in the cafe in front of the Harvest Food Coop in Cambridge. Dick told me he had been doing sketches and notes on black paper with a white colored pencil. We were talking about another collaborative project I was involved in, and how that had gotten into a discussion of the relationship between science and poetry. When Dick went to the counter to get us hot chocolate, I wrote E=MC2 on the black page.

He came back and made another move. And so our collaboration continued, taking turns. Dick sometimes erased or blurred his own lines. He told me to feel free to erase his lines as well, but I really didn’t. And I wasn’t so sure I wanted him erasing mine!

Dick:
The conversation about the relationship between the sciences and the arts and some people’s inferences that these subjects are necessarily in insolvable conflict, impelled me to tell Monica, during pauses from sketching, about my 20-something-year argument with a friend and mentor who had actually passed away quite early in the very respectful discussion. I had imagined most the argument for both of us. My friend’s position had been that “science and technology are destroying the world because, unlike art which puts things together, science takes things apart.” He was in his early 60’s, a highly acclaimed painter and former art reviewer when our discussions began. I was an aesthetically ambitious, 20-something painter with very limited reading experience then. Still, I intuitively inferred that my friend’s belief was inaccurate. After many years of reading and reflection, I concluded that it is neither science nor technology that are destructive, these being only very sophisticated tools. Rather it is arrogance that leads to destruction.

Monica:
Gradually, we each added words, lines and smudges to the drawings. A happy moment for me was when Dick added little lights to what I thought I had drawn as a claw, turning it into a candelabra. We talked as we drew, about the way the drawing seemed to evoke the feeling of chalk on a blackboard, kids playing around after the professor is gone for the day.