how to perform without performing

Sometimes you need to fall against concrete and feel a little blood eek out of a knuckle to let the audience know you are about to say something.

Sometimes you need to speak out a word one hundred times, articulating its rhythm differently with each exhale, pace as though that step is erasing the one before it to let the audience know something is about to happen.

First, a memory.

*

I am audience in a sea of audience. Human with shaved skin from scalp to toes, pushes out an operatic gasp of moments, which ends in the auctioning off of this Human’s blood. Body sits in upholstered chair with a needle lunged beneath skin. Audience watches as blood gathers into a syringe. There is silence. Cough. Cell phone heart beat. Cough. Sneeze. Silence still. Fidget. Cough. Whisper. When enough blood exits and gathers, Human walks closer to the audience and breaks the wall between us all. For over an hour this Human talks through us. Now, at us. The bidding begins at $5.

But be aware, blurted Hairless Blood-lost Human. In Europe, someone paid two hundred dollars for this plasma.

Americans have less or they want more for less or or or but someone left that night with forty dollars missing from his pocket and a vial of blood.

*

Last night, Poets gathered. Many who first met in a small mountain town in Colorado where meditation is encouraged and flags wave and bowing replaces hand shakes and the chai is like liquid crack and and and

Last night, a man handed out index cards. Tasks for each Poet. And one by one, these Poets performed without performing.

Microphones are really just skinny radios playing out the songs and scratched up sonnets from our heads, leaked out of lipsticked mouths and chapped mouths and scholarly mouths. Repeat a word and see what happens when you remove a syllable or chant out its antonym. Cover body with lost poems, left by another, wallpapering the ground. Nudity is not always necessary to reveal the bare. Look closely at the furrows of a forehead; they reveal far more than tits can.

*

So I am learning a new instrument called tambourine purchased for three dollars at Brooklyn stoop sale. And I allow it to gather up the shake in my body. And there is no such thing as a stage when audience gathers from every direction and sometimes schedules and silences need to be interrupted by the musical accompaniment of a typewriter or holiday-themed harmony.

What do you mean you are a performance artist? How do you perform art?

To perform without performing is to connect with the blur/ the unsketch’d/ the disarray of ideas in your head. Sometimes poems can be silent and all you need to do is act out the chaos that hid in each stanza. So this time I did not need my paper. And this time I followed the trance of emotions inside me. And this time I felt even further that this is what it means to be alive.

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