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For Alternative Press

A rope ladder hangs down from a very tall tree, we climb up it to reach our offices. Each space offers a wide view of water, sand, boulders, contains two flannel-upholstered chairs and a sofa. In addition, each has a closet, dictionary, piano, guitar (and/or cello), potted tree, set of toe shoes, pads of lined and unlined paper, feathers, brushes, and jars of inks and oils.

The complex in the tree, containing our activity, is not a true building. Its exterior resembles wood, brick and glass, but is in fact a permeable membrane. Porous outsides mean that we work in diverse weather conditions. Closets contain clothes and accessories for different climate states: muffs (ear and hand), ponchos, thongs, umbrellas. Many days, we spend out-of- office, in cars. If fuel is obtainable, we drive. Otherwise, we park and look out vehicle windows, or sprawl on the interiors’ spongy vinyl. If the sun is high and aggressive, we pitch a tent over our cars. If conditions are ice and snow, we wrap and secure chains around vehicle tires. Though our parking lot occupies flat land, segments of the neighborhood are steep and rocky. We make distinct bumper stickers (this week’s: Simulate, Stimulate, Straddle) for car trips. When the week is over, we peel off our inventions and place them on a boulder standing in front of the fir tree that marks our entrance drive. We make our bumper stickers so they are very easy to peel off, and do not leave any stickiness on our windows.

We maintain offices, but do not believe in working-group localization, as we expect our structural permeable exteriors, and our attachment to motorized vehicles, demonstrate.

The tree, the offices, its furniture and supplies, the parking lot, all cars, and property of flat and jagged terrain are owned and overseen by Network. We like to imagine that we are independent from Network, but understand that we are not. Proximity is what binds them, but not us, together. We value fluidity, pauses, cracks, and frequently take off on all forms of journeys. Our departures do not diminish the energy generated by our working group. In contrast, Network workers do not leave Network property.

Network is all potent concentration. We want potency too. We want power but not the same kinds of power as Network. We try to understand: what kind of power is the power that we want; what kind of power is the power that we have; will we ever get the kind of power that we want to have; how do these questions relate to Network?

We, for example, diversify, we know that we do, even if some see us as Network-controlled. We understand that trying to diversify is better than no diversifying at all.

Anti Isolation is our bumper sticker for next week.

We respect Network potency, its devotion to power concentration.

The things that we make are unlike Network, but enough like Network, so that Network will not cut us off. We understand our accomplishments all come down to this: we push Network in ways that do not appear to be pushing anything at all.

What is apparent is that we make things, and all sorts of them. We make each of our things as we have always made them, and at the same time as if we have never made any one of them before.

Lynn Crawford is a local poet. Send comments to [email protected]

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