Hey, poetry loves! In light of the global strike for Palestine that was requested by Bisan this week, Larissa and I seriously debated sending out this week’s newsletter.
Our initial reaction was to halt all things PTK. But then on Tuesday, we talked more about the purpose behinds strikes and boycotts; the main strategy being to put pressure on governments and large corporations by way of stalling the economy via mass withdrawal of labor and spending.
So we started asking ourselves, by pulling back on communication with our poetry community, what exactly would we be striking against? The cultural rituals that helps us feel connected to others? The bank of PTK that currently is not taking any deposits? What does it mean when our striking strategy becomes more about self-isolation than about engaging with each other in meaningful ways?
The essay Larissa wrote below is a vulnerable retelling of how she’s been asking for help in places where she has realized she has “support deficits” instead of “skill deficits”. This type of validating discussion on community care is especially pertinent right now because, if we can’t take care of each other, then how the hell are we going to rise up against these gigantic, systems of oppression with sustainability in the long term?
So, if you’re able to strike and not go to work at all week, that’s amazing. If you’re doing more of a “quiet strike”, here’s something we encourage you to slowly read while your’e on the job. Or, if you’re not spending any money and need something to do, here’s some free reading for you…
It’s really helpful to look at the BDS list of target companies and start to think of where you have immediate connections to them..
Can you spend less money with any of them?
Do you have a retirement fund or stonk account that may be investing in these companies without you even knowing? Can you divest from them?
Can you move your bank account to a local credit union?
Do you (or does anyone you know) work for any of the companies listed above?
What types of organizing could you do from within, with your local unions, to apply pressure?
For myself, I’m spending more of my time this week getting back to my roots of worker-organizing (because, *cough* I may or may not have worked for and know people working at several of the companies listed above). For others, just doing nothing and not spending any money is also very impactful. Larissa and I were trying to think too, of how we could use this time where we’re not working or engaging in the economy to get more connected? Could we open up a Zoom room and host regular write-in’s or read-in’s of Palestinian authors with all of you, for example?
Anyway, we wanted to be transparent with you about our decision to post this week. We’re open to other points of view and conversations to be had about the best ways for an indie poetry magazine like ours to engage in and support the liberation of Palestinians and all people globally. Our DM’s and inbox are open.
Alright, passing Larissa the mic… 🎤 🎤 🎤
Hello everyone. Kelly has given quite an introduction, so I hope you will understand why this post is coming to you now; before we get to it, I would like to share some thoughts….
I’ve been taking a lot of care lately.
It accidentally coincided with the turning of the year, which I find terriblly cringe. How do I tell anyone that I truly don’t subscribe to the new year new me thing…but that in the past month I’ve also quit smoking and drinking, joined a yoga studio, started meditating, and gotten insanely organized with my workflow?
It may look from the outside that I finally decided to take care of myself, of my body. That I finally kicked myself into gear and now I’m on my grind and it might look like I finally realized the only person who can change my life is me.
Larissa 2.0, NEW YEAR NEW ME BABYYYY!
I didn’t actually set out to do any of these things. I swear I’m still totally cool and dysfunctional enough to make good art! Please, I can explain myself…. it all just kind of happened. And I’m not sure exactly how, but I strongly suspect that this poetry project has something to do with it.
I recently read “How to Keep House While Drowning; A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing” By KC Davis . I read it in 1 night and I wept (yes, I’m about to recommend a self help book unironically). Until reading the book I had never, not even in years of therapy, realized that perhaps not even all the self improvement in the world would improve my life when that wasn’t the issue to begin with.
“Quit beating yourself up for having a skill deficit when what you really have is a support deficit. Self-care was never meant to be a replacement for community care. Striving to “be better" will exhaust the little energy you have, and it's probably time better spent letting yourself cry and sleep and finding small pockets of joy to keep you going. A support deficit is not always someone's fault. There are just some seasons of life we have to limp through”. —KC Davis
I have always found self care as a concept of self betterment detrimental; the more self care I tried to do the more I felt exhausted by the fact that all the care I received came from myself.
So I limped through it with my pockets of joy which was never found in traditionally healthy “self care”. Honestly, it still isn’t, true joy for me is a cigarette in one hand, hot Cheetos on the other, a nice cold beer leaving a shiny water ring on the plastic table in front of me, good conversation bouncing from the other side. I’m a hedonist, sue me.
But I had a continuous support deficit. The nice conversations from the bar stayed in that pocket, the joy closed off from the rest of my life. My brain, due to a hardware issue or poorly installed software or whatever, just couldn’t DO LIFE. Everything outside that one pocket of joy was a slog to get through. Work, even fulfilling work, came with demands which burned me out. Relationships, be they familial, romantic, or platonic, came with conflicts I could never resolve and always made me feel guilty and inadequate. Simple tasks, like feeding, cleaning, sleeping, moving, breathing, never came easily to me. I lacked motivation, I lacked self control, I lacked basic skills.
AND I STILL DO!!!!!!
I am still me. I have executive dysfunction. I struggle with emotional regulation. I am still, in many ways, a hot mess.
The difference is, I am no longer attempting to solve my skill deficits. I am now focused on my support deficits. I didn’t self care myself into a new and better version of me; I found community scaffoldings which help me manage my own deficits. I can care for myself now because in caring for myself, I care for my community.
I stopped fighting my adhd and finally admitted to myself I need external help and invested way too much money into a virtual coworking platform. Similarly, practical community conversations and self-honesty are what have led to every other “self improvement” I have undertaken in the past few weeks. And none it would have been possible if not for a huge amount of financial privilege, compounding years of therapy and professional care, and most of all, Kelly and Poetry Trapper Keeper. All of which are external support systems.
To paraphrase my takeaway from the book: self-care was never meant to replace community care and also you can’t save anyone while you yourself are drowning, but you can’t stop yourself from drowning through sheer willpower if you insist on going to the ocean alone at midnight (even though no one ever taught you how to swim).
I know that there are many barriers in place which stop others from engaging in true self/community care. I hope PTK can be a source of community for you; we hope to always keep it as free and accessible and transparent as we can.
I love you all; it takes a village, and I’m just a kid and life is a nightmare.
I hope this poem is a gift of gratitude.
IN OUT archetypal archipelagos Isle of me multitudinal feast molecular fasting freedom cringe facial cream cellular osmosis organic celery pink perestroika aerobic anhedonia speech action sleep tracking qualitative dates quantitative data chewing cud swallowing whole lifeboats life vests banner blindness self reliance nervous co-regulation nervous regurgitation telepathic canine colonic cleanse peripécias peripeteias knots bows sundaes scaries
I know this is already a really chunky post, but we do have some OOBS (orders of businesses) to get to before I let you go!
First OOB: thank you to all who participated in our Hot People Don’t Make Resolutions workshop on Sunday. Thank you for sharing the hours with us; so many incredible beginnings took place. Perhaps Gramsci has a point that we should live everyday as a January first of sorts. A special thank you to Sanna and The Berlin Writers for inviting us and helping us forge new poetic traditions. If you participated please check your inbox as you should have already received a follow up email from us!
Second OOB: we have our QUEERING RESOLUTIONS WORKSHOP coming up this weekend in Amsterdam with the wonderful folks from Unwanted words. We can’t wait to see you there (I will be there in spirit). If you cannot make it for any reason please let us know so we can pass your spot on to someone on the waitlist.
Third OOB: We will be opening up for submissions again on March 1st. Specific guidelines and instructions will be coming soon, but we are just giving you a little heads up now! This would be a good time to look at our archive and start preselecting what you might wanna show us!
Fourth (and last) OOB (for now): February is soon approaching and with it a love stuffed PTK program! We’ve been working overtime with Cupid to bring you a new squatter, a sexy workshop, events (both IRL + not). Please subscribe to receive our love letters and submit your work to the literary matchmaking scheme by feb 1st to get yourself your very own Poetry Soulmate (Kelly is already mine, sorry).
Ok. See you on Wednesday, we love u. Ur poetry prompt is to identify what support deficit you have atm.