Spotlight on Mercedes Williams

Mercedes Williams

Mercedes/Sadie Williams is a writer and poet living in Mexico City. She writes a semi-monthly poetry zine called Bad Poems and runs a (currently hibernating) nomadic artist space called the Memorial Club. Williams is interested in collaborative processes in writing and art and in helping people tell their stories. With her poems, she hopes to explore the world on the outskirts of consciousness and confession. She is from Burlington, Vermont.

On the process:

The video I received was one minute and one second long. I wondered at the symbolism of the timing, as I wondered at the title “Sapacity,” and what that might mean, since it's not a "dictionary" word. The daydream with no answer, which is the feeling the video evoked for me, became something of a template. It informed the outline of the poems, the first which begins and ends in a coffee shop, staring at a painting (the video on my computer screen), and the second becoming an echo of the daydream, which doesn't quite stand on its own, and calls back to the painting from the first poem at its close.

I wrote this poem in Sun Valley, Idaho, a town that presents an insane contrast to the setting of the poem's dream in Tampa, Florida. I went to school in Pinellas County, just outside of Tampa, and have always found that area to be a little dreamy and weird. I love the smell of the mangroves, the idea of citrus which seems to permeate everything — a seriously necessary fruit to balance the heat — and was entranced by the often brutal surrealist sparring that occurs between the natural landscape and the built environment around it. Something about the simultaneous volatility and relaxation of the Florida landscape and culture seemed important to invoke here, not necessarily as an homage to Florida but as a way to try to understand the violence of dreams and how often, our waking lives are more dreamlike and sleepy, more automatic.

A sampling of my notes, taken when I first watched the video:

I generally pay attention only to the words.

green lips — she’s blonde

Texted Rachel. Not sure what to do with this video.


I can’t know what this means.

bloody heart.

color. I am seeing color.

Sapacity implies sapien. It’s a non-word. Human vs. Robot? . . . Tendency toward humanity . . . expressed interest is in rebotification, but what we see is resuscitation.