Spotlight series #25 : Jamie Townsend

Curated by Canadian writer, editor and publisher rob mclennan, the “spotlight” series appears the first Monday of every month.

Artist statement

I am interested examine the spaces where queer (non-dogmatic, fluid and resistant to hegemony) experience intersect with loss, both of the personal and the universal. How can radical intimacy, solidarity, desire, the ecstatic, the dream, breakdown the false barriers of hierarchy and linear time. I’ve largely chosen to write about music, or music has interceded within my writing practice because it suggests just this sort of open field of freedom, while at the same time reaching backward, tugging at memory, at long buried emotions and associations; it forms a bridge between gaps. My current project “Music for Airports” looks at loss, memory and the process of returning home, changed by the physical death of a loved one and the spiritual death of a hemmed in former life. In moments flooded with vague feelings of nostalgia or deja vu, how do wade in and remap places that have a particularly deep resonance for us? How do we make new with the flotsam of the old? What songs will we sing?

TWO POEMS

LYRIC POEM

After worship
there were songs about the big nothing
Songs pink and blonde as summer wine
Boys don’t cry
Some things last a long time
Heaven is real
Fortune presents gifts
not according to the book
When you expect flutes
It’s whistles
White freckles
Daisy glaze
Stars of the lid
songs like blank
unstaring
heirs of doom
I see pictures in my mind
Northern lights
Double shadow
Sounds that use me up
There were songs that ask ‘how does it feel”?
What graceless dawn?
Larks tongues
I want you to stay
Say something loving
O my soul
Wandering star
There were songs from an unknown memory
There was paranoia
The book of love
Songs to remind us nothing lasts forever
4am
4AD
Sleeping diagonally
Voice in the headphones
Lost in dreams
Songs from the orchard
Gentle moon
in the morning
Songs have no shape
Salt silver oxygen
(I can’t wait to hate you)
That ask you never to forget
Love like a sunset
Soft black stars
Paradise Valley
Songs from Lifeworld

LYRIC POEM

The dream is going down
That bridge is on fire
Lambent material
Deacon blues
Sonic reducer
Songs poor in love
Believe in me
As I believe in you
heart skipped a beat
Sister midnight
Speak for me
You’re a Believer
A drop of blood
From a sugarcube
Songs of unknown pleasures
This is the way
I would die for you
Albatross
Northern sky
Songs in acceptance
of the absolute
Negation
Many jewels surround the crown
Mirages
Rivers of sand
India songs
Kyrie eleison
There were songs sifting through the grey
Naked as we came
Stars bursting
in the sky
Falling into
Into the dust of the earth
Chasms
Crippled
The starfish
Unravel
Blue angels
On some faraway beach
There we songs like transient life
I’m a passenger
In twilight
Enjoy the silence
Music of the air
Pink city
Dust filled room
You’re my religion
In case of death
The same deep water
Heavy (but not in wait)
Accidental memory
Here come the waves
Wild is the wind
The ocean
Couldn’t drag me away

Jamie Townsend is a queer poet, publisher, and editor living in Oakland, California. They are half-responsible for Elderly, a publishing experiment and persistent hub of ebullience and disgust. They are the author of several chapbooks and ephemera from Portable Press@YoYo Labs, Little Red Leaves Textile Editions, Ixnay Press, and above/ground press, among others. Their first the full-length collection, Shade (Elis Press), was released in 2015. An essay on the history of the New Narrative magazine Soup was published in The Bigness of Things: New Narrative and Visual Culture (Wolfman Books, 2017) They are currently editing a forthcoming volume of Steve Abbott’s writings (Nightboat, 2019).