BOREDOMS’ "77 BOA DRUM" EXCEPT IT'S 77 ZOOM ACCOUNTS COMBINED TO MAKE A MOVIE: (or, I don’t usually wear hats but when I do I wear the only hat I happen to own which is a ballroom marfa hat and this is a t-shirt about that person) A [LONGER-TERM] DEEP LISTENING PROMPT
Prompt Against Anxiety #23 | from poet and multi-disciplinary artist Jibade-Khalil Huffman, author of Sleeper Hold (2015), James Brown Is Dead and Other Poems (2011), and 19 Names for Our Band (2008). Huffman uses performance, photography, and video that pushes the capabilities of text and image to tell stories and convey meaning.
Photo credit: Matthew Gaston
The following is a prompt that is meant to be undertaken over time, be it the course of a few days or a few weeks in the service of creating a larger project, should you have capacity for that sort of thing right now. Feel free to abandon this “final work” if what you experience and make along the way is more fruitful.
Zac Efron in Netflix's Down to Earth
Wearing headphones or, at the very least, when you can have a room to yourself and can listen to music at a slightly higher volume than you would if other people were in the room, listen to Lil’ Kim’s “Queen Bitch”
Listen to David Bowie’s “Queen Bitch.”
Look up Mary J. Blige’s Wikipedia page and scroll through her page while you think of songs to play after you play “Queen Bitch.” Make a list of these songs. Listen to these songs and listen to them closely, taking note of more banal details like how many seconds it takes from the start of the song until the moment the singer starts singing the first verse.
Go to another room “for a while.”
Go back to the first room.
Write a paragraph or several paragraphs (or a list if you don’t have the energy to fully articulate the connections between this sequence of sensations yet) about the sounds you’ve heard along the way, noting in particular the relationship between your body and the way these sounds take on new and different meanings, shapes and colors (now that you are listening more closely or at least feigning listening more closely so as to fool your loved ones into leaving you alone while you are completing this prompt).
still from the author's We Don't Need Another Mural, 2019, single channel video, color, sound
Consider two recordings:
The first is an album of your choosing that you’ve been meaning to delve into more deeply.
The second is a field recording of your own design. Use your phone or a more sturdy and advanced device (if you’ve got it like that) to (safely) record an exterior space, outside of your home. Decide on a duration and stick to this duration though also, don’t be afraid to change this at the last second if, for example, some particularly loud grouping of birds decides to suddenly make themselves known after you’ve hit stop on your recording device.
Write a short list poem that starts as a series of discursive blurbs for each of these recordings, that quickly devolves into a list of equal parts superlatives and equal parts list of things you’d like to change about yourself.
Use this material to create an even more complicated list poem that distances your own biography from the fictionalized character you are creating as the voice of this poem.
Think of yourself as the “I” in both recordings, of the singer or singers or rappers or group of musicians working as a kind of collective as well as in the field recording you’ve actually made, of yourself as another person making this recording.
A possible collage image, source unknown
Consider a visual form outside of what you are most comfortable with, that is manageable, but still outside of your wheelhouse, as they say. Try your best to avoid using the phrase “your wheelhouse” unless you are going in the direction of some extreme, of using this phrase over and over again, until it loses all meaning.
Make a “translation” of the above notes, lists, etc into a sequence of material in this new form. This can take on many forms. A series of drawings. A short story. A series of poems. A short video made on your phone (though one you should export and edit using the rudimentary software that comes with many computers or that can be found for free online). The idea is to build a body of work and, via the above process, get outside of yourself, though this can also mean as little as two “final” poems. The idea is that there is no end, that process is fluid and can be fruitful when it seems or feels like you are procrastinating or daydreaming or simply listening.
More from this series
Real FoodPrompt #38—Joan Kane
You Don't Need Proust to Smell GoodPrompt #37—Elizabeth Hoover
Find Your Own FormPrompt #36—Sawako Nakayasu
Tarot Recall: A Visionary Exercise for the PresentPrompt #35—Laurence Ross
Queers in Love at the End of the WorldPrompt #34—CJ Scruton
WORKBOOK FOR CHANGE: TWO PROMPTSPrompt #33—Kate Schapira
Preparation for the PromptPrompt #32—Lisa Fishman
Collage Your Own Writing PromptPrompt #31—Helen Hofling
Prepared StatementPrompt #30—Mike Hauser
Repeat Repeat WritePrompt #29— Lewis Freedman
Poetic CorrespondencePrompt #28—Eric Baus
EKPHRASIS YOURSELFPrompt #27—Jennifer Nelson
POETRY IS FOR THE PEOPLEPrompt #26—Angela Trudell Vasquez
MAIL ARTPrompt #25—Siwar Masannat
VISUAL POSTCARDSPrompt #24—Portia Cobb
A [LONGER-TERM] DEEP LISTENING PROMPTPrompt #23—Jibade-Khalil Huffman
Humor as Medicine for the SoulPrompt #22—Mauricio Kilwein Guevara
Personification: A Social Justice PromptPrompt #21—Derrick Harriell
Ponge ExercisePrompt #20—Tyrone Williams
Occult DocupoesisPrompt #19—Kimberly Alidio
Junk Drawer SongPrompt #18—Hoa Nguyen
TALK TO THE POETSPrompt #17—Stacy Szymaszek
Make-Do Origin Stories & Concrete FuturesPrompt #16—Ching-In Chen
The Family PhotographPrompt #15—Rosa Alcalá
Writing Advice for Your Younger SelfPrompt #14—E.J. Koh
Note(s) to SelfPrompt #13—Stacy Blint
Embracing ConfusionPrompt #12—Bryon Cherry
Writing/Playing the ArchivePrompt #11—Jay Besemer
CAPTURED & FREEDPrompt #10—Dasha Kelly Hamilton
Poetic Exit StrategiesPrompt #9—Ana Božičević
Proyecto ConbífPrompt #8—Erick "CK" Ledesma
TRILOGYPrompt #6—CA Conrad
Utopian CompromisePrompt #7—Paul Druecke
A Series of RoomsPrompt #5—Laura Solomon
Two Variations on N+7Prompt #4—Jenny Gropp
T H E A P A R T / TOGETHERPOEMPrompt #3—Margaret Rozga
An Exercise in WindowsPrompt #2—Marla Sanvick
Erasuring AnxietyPrompt #1—Peter Burzynski
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