not mine

white ribbon threaded onto a chainlink fence to spell out "apart but together"

part of the series fallow time: dispatches from a field suspended

my friends and interlocutors (conversation partners) often say beautiful, wondrous, and powerful things. waist-deep in field notes and preliminary interview transcripts, i’ve spun some of their utterances into a series of haiku. a kind of ethnopoetic bricolage.* the words that follow, lifted from nine conversations in five- and seven-syllable phrasings, are all theirs.

a commitment pear
to get the garden growing
oh, thank you spirit

keep the garden right
the heart of a black woman
make it beautiful

keep renaming us
i took the garden over
who the fuck are you?

you just crushed my heart
a white man in a black skin
be a garden bed

garden of outrage
braiding seeds into our hair
it’s a feel-good thing

neighbors down the street
companion planting ethic
seeing what blossoms

* see renato rosaldo on ethnopoesis and les roberts on bricolage in spatial anthropology. i am experimenting with imposing an arbitrary structure on ‘raw data’ as a method of writing and thinking on my way to more coherent ‘findings’ (while at the same time attempting to reject any hierarchy that marks more socially acceptable and legible forms of scholarship as more rigorous than the adjacent play and experimentation that makes these forms possible). i use a lot of scare quotes because i am profoundly uncertain about these terms. i take inspiration from projects like the hundreds by lauren berlant and kathleen stewart and forthcoming experimental work by peter benson.