This tenth installment features our first poem by a millennial artist, and the first poem that Helen Gutowski publicly performed. To give you some context, it was written in the summer of 2007; she was 16. Fiercely precise in its rap-like rhymes and tempo, Gutowski’s poem enacts an era she describes as “youthful reckless abandon.” This poem recalls the pleasures of risk and rebellion, the lucky free falls that propel us into the future.
Life in Dallas
A red ’91 Toyota Corolla, four door
With more character than I could ever hope to have.
So aptly named from that time with the rain,
Us belting the refrain of our favorite Techa N9na flow.
Returning from a show downtown, we found ourselves speeding
The wrong direction down a section of 75.
Flying down my favorite hill, ripped ceiling fabric fills with air
The wind in my hair as I prepare myself to land again
But I suspend my disbelief as my stomach distends and
I pretend that, this time, I’ll never come down.
My knees grip my neon frog steering wheel cover as I hover
Over the street, heat ripples in waves off the pavement.
Good behavior isn’t likely as my friends get hyfy
In spite of my sign. The alignment pulls left so deft hands and
Understanding toast make ghost riding the whip a trip.
It’s dangerous, but not impossible.
Dinky trinkets make quaint use of my steel six sided box:
My wizard, Edmond; my moose; my three fingered ring that says iced across the knuckle; the buckle that has never worked; the wardrobe of clothes neglected by those who come and go as I poorly navigate roads.
Dust and ash paint the dash,
My Ouija board
And cords to my
iPod, camera, and phone.
I’ll never be alone
As long as I’ve got
All the Shit I Accumulate.
My Santa Maria air freshener dangles, blanketing the smell of dropped burritos and smoke and I don’t even know what with coconut and a prayer.
We explode with laughter after we chalk someone’s sidewalk.
We question pedestrians and motorists with our fists and noses
Pressed against the glass as we pass
Them, the normies in the safari,
Herdly realizing we’ve been awake for days.
We take the long route and pout because
We cannot feed the animals.
The “Women” sign hijacked when we backtracked going the long way
Then the wrong way. We asked that creeper gas station attendant to point us West and
Almost got arrested when Anna bested the officer arguing over the busted right tail.
“Women” rattles against the window,
Displayed on the dash to warn drivers of my
Rash road rage,
Breaking hard and
For the rules
Helen Gutowski is a performing artist, activist, and scholar whose work blurs many mediums. As a skilled physical body with metaphysical inclinations, Helen has spent the better part of her career chasing the ever-receding horizon of the avant-garde. As an MA candidate in New York University’s Performance Studies Department, her research is focused in the performativity of occult and esoteric practices in relation to contemporary performance art, abjection, ecofeminism, and The Other. As an artist, she creates “colaborative multi-disciplinary performance art” as Unkonscious Kollectiv, a collective of one: herself. Recent credits include In Response to the Personal Slash Political Polemic (Kimmel Gallery, 2017.) BFA: NYU, Experimental Theatre Wing.