Brandon Shimoda
Winter Dwelling
fragments from a relationship                                        (page 7)
western Maine, 2010-2011

FEBRUARY 22. I'm wondering if you might be able to help me out with something. A very dear friend of mine, Brandon Shimoda, whose book is just out from Black Ocean, is scheduled to read at the Mission Creek Festival this spring here in Iowa City, however, instead of actually reading, Brandon is trying to find a 9-11 year old girl to read on his behalf. He organized a similar reading in Washington D.C. I thought you might know of a young, aspiring poet/performer/writer who might be interested in reading "as" Brandon Shimoda. Kisha tells me your daughter is maybe a little older—but perhaps there are friends in her circle that might be interested...?

FEBRUARY 22. I've begun the transformation. “Brandon Shimoda” read in D.C. earlier this month, with “Brandon Shimoda” being played by a 10 year-old girl named Hero Magnus. I was up here in the cabin, eating spiders. I got the reports, and was in tears. I didn't know her, had never met her. We had a couple of phone chats, I sent over some poems, we talked about outer space, she asked me how to pronounce "vaginismus," and she was off …

FEBRUARY 25. I have not written nor been tempted to write a poem since mid-January. I've been working fully on my Shimoda-internment-cross-dressing essay, which I'm now calling LAKE M, which is what LAKE M was always meant to be, as well as reintegrating some of that work into this. I wrote 6000 words yesterday. It feels like writing. I am meant to read poems, not write them. Well, I am not meant for anything, Molly, that is foolish business.

MARCH 15. I cannot go to bed when the news is so bad about Japan—the terror in people's heart. With Japan a nuclear disaster revives the worst of WWII—looks like a malediction, and the imagination can't take it. I picked up your book and fell on this: I feel the grand efflux of something dark and only partially improved / By the darkness every time someone sits at a piano I think of 1986 ......................................... and it goes on. The whole book has a tragic tone missing so much in whatever we read though it is so tuned with the state of things. I will read some more and tell you more. You must be glued to the news and I worry not only because of you but because of a whole people, a whole country, so imbedded in the psyche of our century, the past one still being here ... the cut so artificial that it's useless to even talk about it ... in idyllic Maine to be so involved ...

MARCH 22. Genevieve is gearing up. I asked her yesterday how she would feel if the audience didn't seem attentive or positive, and she shrugged and said, "they're not MY poems!" then she said, "I'd feel bad for Brandon, though. I don't know whether I would tell him afterward." I thought that was funny.

MARCH 24. I missed that red sky touching off the earth in Vermont, or maybe the eternal milks bringing with them something of a life even more deeply possessed. I can only dream of what you've been experiencing this winter, and truly, brother, thinking about the dictates of the earth, and now the creatures on it ... everything clarifying itself as a part of it, and with what is being made. What you say—the job coming down to keeping everyone alive—is about as clear a profession as one could hope for, at least without being totally beside oneself. These are no limited machines, they are life forms!

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