Upcoming Performance: February 16th!

HYDROGEN JUNKBOX PRESENTS: THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE

WHEN? Friday, February 16th   Doors open 7pm/ Show promptly starts at 7:30pm        

WHERE? Dixon Place  161 Chrystie St  NYC  

This show is FREE, but please support this excellent venue and purchase a drink or two.

Hydrogen Junkbox is a collective of poets and musicians looking to inspire, experiment and find new ways to rhythmically enhance poetry. They presents a night of NEW music and poetry exploring feminism, consent and the weaponry of words featuring very special guests: fantastic poet Liv Mammone and musician extraordinaire Davey Patterson.

HYDROGEN JUNKBOX IS:

Aimee Herman is a queer performance artist, teacher, poet, singer, ukulele player and cookie drum player.

David Lawton is a poet, actor, singer, ukulele player and cookie drum player. He is also co-editor of NYC small press great weather for MEDIA.

Starchilde plays synth, drums, and anything else you’ve got on hand. He makes magic with beats.

Zita Zenda is a director, poet and guitarist.

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Dear Holden Caulfield

First published by great weather for MEDIA

Dear Holden Caulfield,

I lived inside your manic mind briefly, though long enough to feel hung-over and raw. There are good things, which come out of having terrible long-term memory. I forget endings of books, beginnings too. You won’t find me quoting movies or historical dates. I have gaps in my memory that I’ve simply grown accustomed to. Sometimes it’s better to forget; then, everything feels like an unexpected surprise.

So when I recently reread The Catcher in the Rye for the tenth+ time, I smiled and reacted to Salinger’s words as though I hadn’t digested them before. Of course, this is just like winter, right? Our bodies have to readjust to plummeting temperatures as though we’ve never felt negative degree Fahrenheit before. Snow—at least the first fall—is like an enchanted repainting of our landscape. We bury ourselves in it and slide down its slick ice. We create three-piece men with carrot noses out of its ingredients.

Everything that has existed can still have elements of surprise and newness.

I convinced myself my fractured memory was a fault, something to be embarrassed about. However, it allows me to find thrills in reruns. Forgetfulness has become like a cure for ennui.

There is simplicity in The Catcher in the Rye. There are no explosions or surprises. It’s kind of like a Frank O’Hara poem. We’re brought into the head of someone referencing people we don’t know, yet suddenly want to care about. Walking around New York City during hours I usually sleep through listening to jazz, drinking too much and searching for ways to feel alive.

I spent most of December too afraid of my blank imagination to write. Instead, I listened. I cried. I ate too much. I searched for meaning in the frigid air at Coney Island. Actually, Holden Caulfield came with me that day. It was Christmas. I was alone by choice and felt completely emptied of any tangible, creative thoughts. My mind was terribly, terribly dark. So I went toward the water because that is where the answers are. I could barely look up because the wind was so fierce and cold, but I listened to the music of the Atlantic, inhaling the salty air merged with Holden Caulfield’s alcoholic exhales. I collected shells and bought some stale donuts. I realized that sometimes what we write doesn’t always come out at the time we need it to, or in the way we want it. Each word is a shallot. A tiny onion with so many layers, that you sometimes need to keep peeling before its quite right.

When I finished the last page of Salinger’s book, I felt sad to leave Holden. I liked being in his head. Although it was in those last words that I became closer to finding my own. To being ready to try again. To write.

How to Celebrate Without Celebration

There is to be no tree. You pondered cutting one down or purchasing one hacked by another, but then you realized you live inside a box made of wood and there are bugs and wildlife living in your walls, so it’s kind of like one GIANT tree you are gasping inside. You hang tinsel and decorative lights on your limbs and call it enough.

There is to be no caroling or instrumental holiday songs, but you consider dancing to the beat of clocks ticking away in every room, not quite in synch but you like that they are autonomous (like you). You almost burn your tongue on the coffee, but it’s just not hot enough. So you imbibe and you putter and you contemplate how to be alone while the rain outside tries to wash away twelve months of disappoint.

There are no presents to open, so you close your eyes and grab a book off your shelf. Carefully, you place it onto the already-read newspaper and wrap it up. It is to be a surprise, though you hope it is poetry or you hope it is one you’ve forgotten to read or you hope the postal workers forgot it is a holiday and deliver anyway.

There will be no jolly, slightly overweight white man climbing down your chimney, as you do not have one and prefer to be alone anyway. You have no doorbell to be wrung and one needs to be quite agile to knock on your windows, so you do not wait to be visited. There is day-old soup on your stovetop and almost-stale ingredients in your fridge.

There will only be you, dressed in your evening sleepwear, a morning progressing into day then night on the other side of your windows. There will be lights to turn off or on, a radio full of static, outlets to plug things into and drawers to take things out of. Oh, and a mouse (or mice) somewhere in the nooks of where you live, expertly avoiding all traps, trying to bring you some holiday cheer.

How to Stay Informed

first published by great weather for MEDIA

 

Forget the headlines, translate the ink left weeping on your fingertips. It can be difficult to turn the page. They title it war as though it is different this time. You locate a run-on sentence on page nine, so you hitch a ride on one of its commas. They misspelled DEMOCRACY. Whose news is this, anyway? Afterwards, you search for an antonym for FREEDOM and all you see is red, white, blue. Just stop reading. Instead, walk outside and photograph everything that doesn’t move. You still need to stay informed, so you skip to the end and scoop out the middle. You ask the stranger beside you to read it to you. Coffee spills over the paragraphs and in the blur, you feel free again. But when it dries, your brain paralyzes from another re-run of violence.

Upcoming Performances

I’m excited to read some new work…….hope you can make it!

Tuesday, November 21st, I will be reading poems at BIG WORDS, ETC reading series at 61 Local located at 61 Bergen St in Brooklyn. The event is from 6-8pm. Celebrate some wonderful writers exploring the theme of 5 more minutes! 

Friday, December 1st,  I get to celebrate Three Rooms Press’s Prose! Poetry! Party! at Cornelia Street Cafe located at 29 Cornelia St. in NYC from 6-8pm. This event is $10, but it includes a drink. What a great line-up of writers including Meagan Brothers, David Lawton, Jane LeCroy, Karen Hildebrand, Jane Ormerod, Robert Gibbons, and more! Hosted by the marvelous Peter Carlaftes and Kat Georges.

Dear Universe (A Manifesto)

first published by great weather for MEDIA

 

Dear Universe, I want a full-time teaching job and at least two closets in my apartment and a complete understanding of the difference between effect and affect.

That time I asked my students to stare at each other for sixty seconds (insert laughter, discomfort and a continuous need to look away) and my student, who tried so hard to share his eyes with me, kept whispering how hard it is to look at someone who isn’t speaking. And when we shared our experiences afterward, I asked him the color of my eyes; he said silver. Dear Universe, I want to see the shiny in me too.

Dear Universe, when did you tell me that none of this would end, that brains congeal and there is only so much a scalpel can remove?

Dear Universe, I haven’t quite mastered the pronunciation of marriage and have decided to live alongside the Hadza to learn the importance of telling time through the movement of sky. Maybe I prefer monogamy with things that glow like Lyra or birds with indigestion.

I used to collect ants; scooped them up like cake crumbs and spelled out prayers with their slow-moving bodies. Dear Universe, can religion be that simple?

Dear Universe, when my ribs were the only cage I climbed into. Yes, can we go back to that?

One night when I ran out of things to hold, I gulped down enough street signs to make me feel like I understood what I was doing. Cut my tongue on their sharp edges and I still got lost. Dear Universe, my belly contains a GPS but it always brings me back to where I am afraid of going.

Dear Universe, there is a mouse living inside my oven, so I haven’t cooked anything proper in months. I rolled up a poem and set it on fire hoping the ashes of words would lead it elsewhere. Like that time I read Vera Pavlova and she led me out of that mental hospital. Sometimes we just need an extra map to free ourselves from borrowed kilns or bone breaks.

I want a backyard to plant dandelions and hyaloclastite. Universe, can you give me some land to roam against?

Somehow my wrists slipped their way out of midnight and I am collecting sharps again. Like a brushfire. Like a tic-tac toe board of blood and guts. Dear Universe, I don’t need any more band-aids; it’s surgery time.

Remember when guns sprayed water instead of organs? I left the country of my body because my passport expired and I lost the code to get in. Dear Universe, can you leave the back door open?