Featured Reading: Big Words Etc.

When was the last time you were in Bushwick? OK…..When was the last time you heard writers read from the prompt of “So, What?”

Come to:

Big Words Etc. Reading Series / Wendy’s Subway / 379 Bushwick Ave, Brooklyn / Sunday, Sept 25th 6pm

L train to Montrose or Morgan / J or M to Flushing

Big Words, Etc. Reading
Sunday, September 25 – 6pm

Hosted by Stacey Kahn and Jess Martinez, Big Words Etc. is a monthly reading series that embraces democracy by letting each audience vote for the following month’s theme. Started in 2012 to give under-the-radar and emerging/aspiring writers a platform, we’ve developed into a community that lets everyone – from the professional writer to the lawyer or hair stylist with a poetic bent, to the audience member who’s not into writing but likes participating by voting on the theme – get involved. September’s theme is “Now What?”


Aimee Herman (Big Words, Etc. Writer-in-Residence)
Timothy Gomez
Melanie Griffith
Cynthia Ann Schemmer
Sonia Jaffe Robbins
Cooper Wilhelm
Rina Deshpande
M.K. Rainey
Danielle Gregori

Aimee Herman is a teacher, poet, performance artist, and uke player in the band Hydrogen Junkbox. Aimee’s been published in an array of journals and anthologies and has two books of poems, including the most recent “meant to wake up feeling.” Thank you Big Words for existing and encouraging writers to write and read!

Timothy Gomez holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. His work has appeared in Connotation Press, No Tokens, Epiphany, and others. He currently lives in Whittier, CA and teaches at Aspire Ollin University Prep Academy in Huntington Park. He also co-hosts a podcast about friendship and feelings entitled Fairweather and writes at his website timfinite.me.

Melanie Griffith is a Long Island native whose writing has appeared in PANK, Beecher’s, and others. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College’s MFA program, she now lives in Providence, RI with a nautical archaeologist. When she’s not at work at a K-8 charter school in Central Falls, RI, you might find her thinking seriously about writing an essay while cooking or streaming a critically acclaimed TV drama.

Cynthia Ann Schemmer is a writer and musician living in Philadelphia. She is the Managing Editor of She Shreds Magazine, the only print publication dedicated to highlighting women guitarists and bassists. She holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and has been published in Philadelphia City Paper, Impose, Underwater New York, The Media, Broken Pencil, and others. She has co-authored a chapter in Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind, a collection of tips and narratives on ways non-parents can support parents and children. She also writes Secret Bully, a creative nonfiction zine of personal essays, and her cat is her creative muse.

Sonia Jaffe Robbins is an editor, writer, and activist. She has written in many genres: journalism, criticism, memoir, and fiction. She has a chapter in an anthology titled “Red Diapers: Growing Up on the Communist Left,” and co-moderates a workshop on gender and the transition from socialism to what comes next.

Cooper Wilhelm writes poems on postcards and mails them to strangers he looks up in phone books atPoetryAndStrangers.com and hosts Into the Dark, a talk show about witchcraft and the occult, for Radio Free Brooklyn. His chapbook about necromancy and breakups, Klaatu Verata Nikto, is available from Ghost City Press.

Rina Deshpande writes and illustrates mindful, short poetry and likes to research and teach about yoga and mindful practice, too. She used to be a public school teacher and hopes to publish a children’s book someday soon. She lives in NYC and loves Halloween the most.

M.K. Rainey received her MFA in fiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She currently teaches writing to the youth of America through Community-Word Project, Wingspan Arts and The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cider Press Review, Litro Online, Equinox, KGB Lit Journal, The Grief Diaries and more. She co-hosts the Dead Rabbits Reading Series and lives in Harlem with her dog. Sometimes she writes things the dog likes.

Danielle Gregori is a librarian working both at a membership library on the upper east side, and a private school on the upper west side.  There’s a fantastic joke in there somewhere, but she hasn’t figured it out yet.  When she’s not joyfully throwing books at children to test their reflexes, Danielle spends her free time writing young adult fiction and library-themed haikus.  She’s published one book of poetry titled Lines Between the Stacks and dreams of one day sharing her apartment with a cat that doesn’t vindictively barf in her shoes.

Bike Pedal. Empanadas. And Whiskey.

Thank you to Sacchi Green and Cleis Press for publishing my short story, Bike Pedal. Empanadas. And Whiskey in Me and My Boi: Queer Erotic Stories

Purchase a copy today through Amazon or your local bookshop (NYC, go to the marvelous Bluestockings bookstore for a copy)

From the Back Cover

Me and My Boi celebrates lesbian bois, butches, and screw-the-binary free spirits; cool bois, hot bois, swaggering bois, shy bois, leather bois, flannel bois, butch daddies, and the girls (and other bois) who wouldn’t have them any other way. The stories range from Sinclair Sexsmith’s raw “Five Blow Jobs” through Victoria Oldham’s searing “Resurrection” and old-school lesbian bar tale “Hot Pants” by Jen Cross to the aching tenderness of “Her Gardener’s Boy” by D. Orchid. Whatever turns you on, or sparks your wildest fantasies, these writers will push the buttons you already have and hook you up with some new ones. Gender has no boundaries…and neither does lust.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Cleis Press (June 14, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1627781218
  • ISBN-13: 978-1627781213




I have TWO readings coming up, which I am very excited about.

One will be me talking dirty to you. The other will be me reading new poems which is in the theme of Now, What?

Saturday, September 17th, 2016
Readings from Me and My Boi: Queer Erotic Stories (edited by Sacchi Green for Cleis Press)
@ Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen St. / NYC
Also featuring: Annabeth Leong, Anna Watson, Gigi Frost, Dena Hankins, and editor Sacchi Green.



Sunday, September 25th, 2016
Big Words, Etc. reading series
@ Wendy’s Subway
379 Bushwick Ave / Brooklyn

Also featuring: Rina Deshpande, Katie Rainey, Cooper Wilhelm, Danielle Gregori, and Sonia Jaffe Robbins

I hope to see you there!!!

A True Story

previously published by great weather for MEDIA


A redhead walks into a bar and orders a drink.

“Barely iced, please,” she says. “Pulp of ginger. Fourteen cherries and a love note rim.”

The bartender with hair of yellow only partially understands. Hands her a see-through glass, taller than the tallest finger with enough liquid inside to qualify its worth at five dollars.

She pushes it aside and repeats herself.

“Barely ginger,” she says in a sour tone. “Pulp of a love note, please. Fourteen iced cherries and rim.”

The bartender stares.

If she weren’t so thirsty, she’d have noticed that his eyes were the color of Michael Jackson’s birthstone, if he were still alive to claim it. He used to be her favorite singer before. Before. Well, you know before.

“Maybe you can explain to me what flavor you are looking for. Or perhaps let me know the ingredients?” the bartender inquires.

The redhead, whose eyes are a color that cannot be compared to any singer or song for that matter, says, “Rhizome and bamboo. Like what cannot be reached or licked. Winter. Not December 28th or even week three of January. March 9th. Straddling morning and afternoon nap. The most romantic syllable, which has never been pronounced. Oh. And fourteen cherries.”

The bartender tastes irate on his teeth and does not know how to proceed.

So he hands her a glass. This one about as tall as one and a half thumbs pressed together. He begins to touch every bottle saluting him from behind. He removes each cap but leaves all the liquid inside. He stares at her with his Michael Jackson eyes as he slowly touches his heart—or where he learned it lives in his body—and rubs his finger tip over the circular rim. Then, without blinking, feeling the sting of too much air on his cornea, places fourteen cherries—one at a time—into his palm, slowly dropping into the glass.

He waits for her to drink it. Or push it away. Or tell him he is wrong.

The redhead leans over the glass and sticks out her tongue. It is not exactly pink. She carefully licks the rim and then just remains there, as though her tongue is telling her a story with its taste buds. She leaves the cherries alone. And then, walks out.

purple moon

You walk outside in search of the perfect song. Today is the day you are going to kiss the person you’ve been saving up all your spit for. You turn left because right only takes you past the apartment with the cracked door and you are way too superstitious for that. You almost trip over a spiderweb that has been spray-painted blue; how could you have missed that?! There is a song in your head from that time this person touched your kneecap…just the cap…just the shell over all the good stuff. And you wanted to sing out loud when you could feel the lineage of their skin pressed against you, but you didn’t want to ruin the moment. Instead you sneezed, and bless you killed the mood. You know almost none of the lyrics to Happy Birthday because, as a kid, you were never invited to any parties, except the one you threw for yourself on the tip of turning nine and even you didn’t show up. You have to pause before you cross the street because the moon is a shade of purple the newspaper warned you about. How can you not notice that partially lobotomized tree standing eerily. It’s not that it appears dumb or drained; it’s just that its prefrontal lobe looks tampered with. It’s impossible not to think of this person whose tongue will be in your mouth, when you hear the buzz of the wind skating over your collarbone. Have you ever heard the story of the porcupines? Or are they antelopes? You turn around because you realize the song was hiding beneath your elastic the entire time. It is what was itching you. So you scratch it until there are flakes of your skin pushing out your nail bed. This is when you open your door, tired from walking but hungry for that kiss. You lay down on your bed, which used to belong to someone else, but now belongs to you. And the person you are going to give all your spit to.


Tonight! BOOG CITY Poetry Festival

Tonight, I’m looking forward to performing alongside the magnificent Trae Durica in my poetic play, postulation.

What happens when two lovers reunite after being left? Come to SIDEWALK CAFE and find out!


Sidewalk Cafe
94 Avenue A
The East Village

Directions: A/B/C/D/E/F/V to W. 4th St.
Directions: F/V to 2nd Ave., L to 1st Ave.
Venue is at East 6th Street

7th Boog Poets’ Theater Night, featuring:

5:30 p.m. postulation by Aimee Herman

5:45 p.m. Skin of A Spell by Jenn McCreary

6:00 p.m. The Triumph of the Thirteenth Family of Passerines by Maggie Dubris

6:15 p.m. The Body in Equipoise by Joel Allegretti

6:30 p.m. Stage Wrong: Triology by John Trause

6:45 p.m. Unfinished Acts by Christine Choi

7:00 p.m. An Excerpt from Tacoma Method by Zhang Er

7:15 p.m. Shakespeare’s Itches by Susanna Rich

flaneur (a day in the life of)

first published by great weather for MEDIA


I imagine every door I approach to be a portal toward a different temperature, pace, language of thought. A land where there exists no outlets. Bodies free of chords and check-ins. Just veins and bruises and questions and lungs.

In the months leading up to this one, I’ve contemplated more things than could fit on a bookshelf. I almost ran away, like that time I was eight or twelve and filled up silver backpack shaped like a robot with all the necessities. When I couldn’t find any, I threw in a juice box, some grapes and an extra pair of underwear. I got to the end of the block and decided to turn back. I’m not sure what turned my bones into a STOP sign, but I forgot all about those grapes and months later, raisins hid inside my robot.

And so, amidst fears and anxieties about how to remain in a world full of so much hate and violence, how to possibly begin a legalized life with someone when being Queer still isn’t safe, just like being Black still isn’t safe and being Muslim isn’t safe and and &………I decided to venture into the east village in the sizzling heat to meditate.

I am not too keen on joining things: groups, clubs, conversations. But I decided to reply YES to an all-day outside collective meditation, which was to begin in Tompkins Square Park. Filled my black tote bag with bits of The New York Times, water and my notebook and ventured into Manhattan.

Twice around the park and no one seemed to have any affiliation with anything formally meditative, so I decided to let the day take me somewhere else. I figured I was meant to be in this part of New York in this moment. So I replaced sitting beneath the sun with my eyes closed with walking, eyes wide open, ready for life to approach me in its loudest forms.

I stood outside the park for a few moments, to contemplate my direction, when a tall gentleman approached me.

“You like poetry?” he asked.

“Yes, very much,” I answered.

He handed me a tiny spiral notebook, explaining that these were his poems. At the top of each paper, $5 was written.

After I read two of his poems, I said, “You are quite a minimalist.”

“What does that mean?”

“Oh, just that you are able to say so much in few words. It’s really impressive.”

He didn’t seem to take this as a compliment or even care about any sort of reaction. “They’re five dollars each.”

“I…I don’t have any cash,” I said.

He looked angry. Disappointed. So, I said, “Well, I have an apple! I just got it at the farmers market and it looks really good.”

He mumbled something and walked away. Perhaps not a fan of fruit. Or round objects. Or red things.

I continued to walk, breathing in and out, running through a short mantra my friend, Rebel, told me about as I walked on Avenue A being present minded and open. I wandered into a flea market and inhaled the aroma of dug-up lives for sale. I digested a large heaping portion of air-conditioning in a book shop, where the only words spoken to me were: excuse me’s and can you move a little?

Later on, I felt parts of my neck sweat off my body while waiting  underground for the 3 train (because the A/C train wasn’t running). I approached the subway map yawning its colors and routes at me, when a male-presenting human wearing perspiration and a smile said, “I don’t miss this about living in New York.”

I smiled. “Yeah, I know, which is why we need to find the beauty in it. Somehow.”

I learned that he’s from Los Angeles, but lived in the city for five years. Now, lives with his wife somewhere I’ve never heard of upstate.

I wanted to tell him that all the things we complain about New York make it into what it is. That without the monster-truck-sized rats and urine-drenched pavement and overpriced everything people wouldn’t flock here. To be amongst all of what New York was and is.

The train arrives and we both get on. I continue reading the newspaper and he sits down out of view. I decide to get off at Borough Hall in Brooklyn, because I’m not ready to go home. Because I am hoping to trip on some magic. Because I am always looking for more reasons not to run away.

I purchase chemicals to bring my hair into its slightly unnatural hue. I purchase a tie for later on in the month for when someone might need such a thing. I purchase a coconut ice from a lovely human who looks shrunken by the heat. I find a bench and sit down, scooping cool sweet artificially flavored coconut into my mouth. A young one pushing a bicycle abruptly says, “Miss, will you watch my bike? I need to buy some shoes.”

I say yes before I realize what I’ve agreed to. Not knowing if he’s a speedy shopper or likes to take his time. But I am without time. All of this is part of the walking meditation.

When he comes back out, maybe ten minutes later, he says thank you.

“I really want to give you money but you probably won’t accept it,” he says.

“Oh, it’s fine. No worries.”

“I just really had to get some shoes, you know? Hey, what’s your name?”

I tell him and he smiles. We wish each other a good day and I tell him to enjoy his new shoes. I think about how often we forget each other. Walk right past stories and lives. Rarely look up. Barely even smile.

When my mate and I walk our dog, we say hello to those who pass us by. Sometimes even wish them a good day. By doing this, we hope to create a bridge where we aren’t just people storming a neighborhood, but part of the community.

I was supposed to keep my eyes closed today. Be still. But instead, by opening my eyes and seeing the life around me, I was reminded why I should stay. Because there are still so many humans I’ve yet to meet and the ones who I know, who I love, who love me, throw magic on the ground each day just for me to trip on.