Sunday, October 25, 2009

472. Summary of the Marine Life Protection Act South Coast Conference in a Ditty Poem "Part of the Process"

"Something's Smelling Fishy" about the Marine Life Protection Act South Coast process. Well, everyone has the right to be skeptical, but what I experienced for three days straight (October 20-22, 2009) and the last year as the Fisheries Information Network (FIN) "objective notetaker" was my own perception of overall fairness.
"Something's Smelling Fishy" about the Marine Life Protection Act process. Well, everyone has the right to be skeptical, but what I experienced for three days straight (October 20-22, 2009) and the last year as the Fisheries Information Network (FIN) "objective notetaker" was my own perception of overall fairness.

About the images above. Well, the day after the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) meeting, I collapsed, endured a panic attack, a migraine, and an overall mental breakdown, largely alone in San Diego (I have been holding my mental breath far too long!). I had to call my mother and she told me to solve my head ache with garlic. Her voice and her voice alone soothed my aching head and calmed me down to some degree. I guess it goes to show how too much information and swaying stability of "rocks" can affect me. Filming the BRTF meeting was simply overwhelming and reduced my mind to a state of complete open vulnerability, and the slightest sway of a feather could have made me fall apart.

The next day (Saturday), Jules take me out on a boat ride, and I became trained in pulling up crab and lobster traps. I had no luck in catching any lobster *sigh.* The day out in the ocean and letting go of all reality on land was a significant healing process, clearing your head of all unnecessary crxp. While on the boat, I gathered some film and took some pictures, and quite a few pictures were devoted to the glorious montage of food-quality salmon heads from Washington state Jules used to lure lobsters to his traps. Despite the blood and gore of beheaded fish, I composed some interesting images, like the one above, and then pondered on the symbolism in relation to the MLPA process. By the end of the day, any remains of head aches and puffy eyes were gone.
PDF version of above poem can be found here:

So, given my circumstance of being in "vulnerable, information overload," upon walking away from the BRTF meeting twice into the wee hours of the night, I started crafting a poem/song/ditty "to make sense of it all" that expresses the fisheries perspective I have come to appreciate and embody during this entire biopolitical ordeal... which is of course called "Part of the Process."

When enduring through the BRTF meeting, a few songs came to mind, one invented by someone else, two invented by me, and the third song is above, in the process of being crafted. During the protests out in front of the Long Beach Hilton (off of Ocean Blvd.), I was surprised that the protest was rather "silent," besides some cheers and boos and car honks. There was no song, no tune that was being chanted by the myriads of protestors (totalling 100?) to embody their thoughts, their experiences with the MLPA process. And so I decided to take a stab at it, though I am not sure whether I was successful.

The first song that came to mind was "Oh, I think I smell a Raaaaat... Aow! I think I smell a RRRAT!!!" By the White Stripes. Most appropriately.

The second song that was playing in my head was one of my own invention. "Who's gonna know anything anymore?" which I documented on
Blog 406. Basically, the song's about how no one has all the pieces of the puzzle, and when trying to put all the pieces together, a few "clowns oversee the black catch of my juggle"--individuals in power try to make the best possible decisions based on their relative knowledge level... or relative ignorance level. It's a short ditty.

The third song that came to mind was "Roll Over Me," as written in Blog 444, which is a song about how journeys out on the ocean have "healing qualities" that "roll over" complex, paradoxical thoughts and states of existence in one's mind. Healing qualities: always changing, multi-variate adaptation to reading the conditions, bringing home fish of fruition, washing over inna-rifting fissions, trying to not drown in oneself, having shared company with the ocean, running away from stupidity of human problems and artificial boundaries-imprisonments.

The fourth ditty-song is the one above, entitled "Part of the Process." First off, I will say writing poetry is powerful such that (1) it can summarize overwhelming experiences (2) it allows me to be metaphorically vague when bitterly referring to certain people, behaviors, or organizations. A few major factors that made me craft this song: (1) I was overhwhelmed by the scale of the MLPA operation, so many people, so many stakeholders involved, that I felt that the weight of any particular voice could be easily drowned out (2) the paradoxical value systems of fishermen "kind-hearted hunter" who is willing to "compromise, take some, set aside" "all in moderation, including moderation itself," trade-offs "conservation" and "socioeconomics" can exist within the hearts and minds of one individual (3) fishermen have deep-rooted mind-body and human-environment connectedness through the pursuit of hunting and being regional naturalists (4) acknowledgment of the sickness of the land, cumulative activites leads to declines in fisheries and ocean health (5) who are the puppets and strings in the process of setting aside waters as MPAs? "greens" are people motivated by monetary strings, "blues" are people motivated by internal passions "streaks of optimisms and wells of pessimism" and loss of jobs and identities (6) "organisms on maps" or the marine protected areas started taking shape, but we had to cut out a few sets of lungs and legs to do it, the process of short-term loss, withdrawal (like stop cigarette smoking) for the risk of supposed long-term gain (7) despite this elaborate process, the people in power lay "final stamps" and to what degree of control do we have in predicting the final outcome? (8) and being a part of this biopolitical process (corporate hotel room conferences with masses of people), have we become removed from the process--the process of being in tune with ourselves and the land around us? Contradictory, eh? I'm sure, as I continue to write about my experiences at this conference, the FIC/FIN meetings, and the MLPA south coast process, I am sure I will find other themes to incorporate into this ditty/poem. At least I think this is a good start for now.


Victoria "Stokastika" said...

Just sent the poem "Part of the Process" to Barry Spacks. Can't wait to hear what he has to say!

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

Barry seemed to have difficulty in the overall conceptuality of the poem. Perhaps a bit too metaphorical. But I did pass "Part of the Process" out to quite a few participants in the MLPA Process (a few people found the poem in my blog!) and one line that I heard from several different places was "Oh, I GET it!" I mean, I guess in a certain way I can't expect Barry to understand because here I am, in the middle of a political process, writing a poem about the process... in real time... a bit gutsy, I'd say. So I had to be HEAVY on the metaphors so that nothing was pointing fingers to anyone or anything in particular. Just generic conceptualities.

I don't think I want to explain this poem to Barry over email. I would have to do it in person. That would be the best case scenario.

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

Below is a FOOTNOTE I will have to include in the poem/ditty such as any non-participants can understand and better appreciate the biopolitical context of the poem:

The poem/ditty "Part of the Process" attempts to crystallize the fisheries' perspective in their historic collaborative effort of designing an external proposal for marine protected areas along the southern California Coastline. Fishermen--commercial, sport, and recreational--have never been known to work together at such a notable, visible scale, as each and every one of them in the FIC/FIN (Fisheries Information Network) group have clearly executed a sense of sacrifice: balancing their own internal complex values of socioeconomics and conservation. These somewhat paradoxical assumptions of inward existence had ultimately and outwardly produced External Proposal A, then shape-shifting into Work Group 2, in which their collective efforts have come to greatly influence the outcomes of the MLPA process thus far. Though in several occasions, fisheries stakeholders have come to feel helpless and vulnerable in terms of whether their voices were being heard... their perspectives being considered by other stakeholders, which include scientists, environmental non-profits, and the ultimate decision-makers of the Blue Ribbon Task Force and the California Fish and Game Commission.

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

The lines that Barry liked in the poem: (1) fishing long and hard in the swells of my mind (2) truly mean no harm, trying to lead a life of a kind-hearted hunter's song (3) can a single soul-dwindling piece of the pie, still be a part of the process? (4) puppets of novel patches, inner blue, stale, outer green (5) lines shifting, shapes swaying, up and down, left and right (6) predictions of weather maps (for human behavior)?

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

Hi Barry!

Well, I have done a little backtracking here.

I finally created a footnote for "Part of the Process" I would like to share with you. Actually, I made the footnote especially for you! I was hoping that it would elucidate a few more items on the poem, like the main theme of portraying fishermen as "compassionate murderers" or "kind-hearted hunters" or people who realize they need to hunt and kill their food to survive, but to do it in a manner that sustains the resource and still provides respect and appreciation for the organisms that they hunt / fish.

Will get back soon! Happy Weekend, Victoria!

P.S. I have my last committee member finalized! Barry, I'm free! I'm free! Now I can go back and write and write and write.... and draw and write... and not worry for a while....

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

Some poem readers: Martin, Susan, Bob, Diane, Bruce, Wendy, Jules.