to celebrate body engulfed in text and ISBN

Dear Body,

You are the longest relationship I have ever had.

I stopped calling you. You remained.

I used you (sometimes) when there was no one else. You remained.

You grew around the scars I dug into your flesh and got close to the bone a few times. You remained.

photo by Jun Liu

See me live life out loud on computer screen.

Everyday, I question your arrival.

How do bruises fail our body?

If I set myself on fire, will you extinguish away the sores?

I want. I want. I want to fold against you, body, and rewind the snort of veins and crinoline-dressed decisions all spread out and itchy.

I’ve asked you how to love. How to keep it. How to be better at this.

I’m trying to be like you, body. I am trying to remain.

And now, I celebrate you in binding and numbered skin. Call you book, now. Call you titled.

to go without blinking

On Wednesday, March 28th, I speak you into a microphone. Just a little bit louder. Holding you up. Holding you in.

Body, I’ve launched you through windows, bedframes, over bridges and mountaintops. Now I launch you in book formation.

116 MacDougal St. (formerly the Gaslight Cafe) NYC
(between Bleecker Street and Minetta Lane)
Downstairs Lounge

Doors open for open mic sign-up @ 6:30pm
Show starts @ 7pm

Cover Charge: $10


Co-featuring Willie Perdomo and Eric Alter

thank you, thank you, thank you, body.

meant to wake up feeling

find time.

find knots on tree trunk and climb. and kiss.

find woman.

find meal.

find theoretic explanation for where tongues and memory hide at night.

find breath.

find panic in chest and pursue concrete sidewalk like a lover and collapse.

find voice.

find nature.

find turtle colony near the water and weep.

find beauty in burnt heart.

find comfort in first cup of coffee.

find love.

find passport.

find meaning.

find freedom.

find self.

oh magnolia tree or a complexion of condoms glued to women’s wear

(Several) women ask me why I carry so many condoms in my pockets.

All I can say is:
It’s to make up for all the times I gave up on my body and ignored the need for protection.

The bad ones said:
I’m allergic
It’s just not the same with a rubber on
You’ll enjoy it so much more when skin is or tongue is or hard-on is against/inside skin

I want to feel the wrath of security
I want you to want to protect me

I want me to want to protect me

[My body grew rust
a machine without identity or negatives]

Ask me about control, how I perceive men now,
why I lock my doors and cunt at night
and padlock my thighs together



I woke up and spoke the most dangerous parts of me.

(I prefer sex when no one else is involved)

and you still want to touch this?

you ask

I ask

I sucked on soap and tinctures long enough to
un stain this body

just don’t look too long

for you,
I swallow latex
fifteen hundred pounds of condoms and dental dams
consume controlled pills of birth and un-tighten my vagina to fit seven diaphragms,
small rubber domes tailored for my tightness

I got a security helmet for my cervix
good for forty-eight hours
gutted a lamb to steal its intestines
so my body can broadcast its warmth and demonstrate sensations safely

my lips have been smeared with bleach to ensure you of their sterility

{ I exist/ how I want/ to exist/ now}

I counted two hundred and seventeen stars in the sky last night.
I may have lost count or
counted some twice,
but I wished on all of them anyway.

I wished for my flesh to peel like snake skin,
allowing cells a chance to start over.

I wished for an industrial-sized-titanium lock
to permanently block all entrances on my body
so no one could ever get in again.

I wished for love or
a translation of it.
Or the ability to allow it

I want to believe in magic, but
I always see the bulge beneath sleeves
against zipper strain



To the woman who does not own high heels.
Does not pace upon black pavement, cold street cornered posts with tall lights illuminating glow of buy-the-hour smile.
Knees high, laced toes.
Latex teeth already lubricated to save time and the awkwardness of asking.

To the woman who takes up space in carved desk chairs,
listening to lectures by dual-degreed professionals as the scent of student loans linger in the air.

To the woman who multi-tasks, splitting up studying time with secret identity of three hundred and fifty dollar eroticism,
with the add on tasks of swallowing childhood traumas.

To the girl who advertises as sexxxyseductress with triple x’s to represent her eagerness.
Painted as a GFE provider, specializing in DATY.
Stimulating senses no longer saved for special occasion.

To the woman shaking an extra sweet-n-low in her morning coffee,
creating that extra jolt of caffeine to get her through the day.

I am in this world and I am a feminist. Trying to be a humanist. Practicing to be human.
Believing in the secured rights and opportunities of all women equal to men.

All women. Loose women. Right-wing women. Left-wing women. Brown women. White women. Whores and high-class women. Homeless women. Welfare-women. Queer women. Transgender women. Pro-choice women.

I am in this world of pornographic mothers with dripping breasts. Trying to afford diapers and compensate for fathers who forgot what sperm can do. These women are not just dope fiends. Not just single parents, placing children in kindercare as they spread legs rented out by the hour to pay for heat and electric bill, not covered by welfare. Not just women of color, poor misused and forgotten statistics. Not just victims of foster care, runaways, victims of abuse, victims of alcoholic fathers who forget about the mothers and choose warm, virgin skin of daughters as secret alternative.

I am in this world full of violence. Prosecution of prostitution, without the education of alternative options.

I am in this world as a citizen. As a voter. As a body/microphone with breaths/poems pushed out.

I can be naked now
A continuance
Transcendence of
what this body is

collect breaths and use as currency

A month ago, there was a break-in. I’ve had break-ins before, but this was different. Instead of my body, it was my apartment. My bedroom. The room in which I slept inside, fucked myself, wrote poems and letters and worked through my nudity. No one was hurt; no one was home. The only thing taken from my room was my computer–the most expensive thing I owned.

Dear computer,

Your keys were slowly rubbing away from my greasy fingertips pressing into your mass of plastic and internal hardrive and memory board and all the other things hidden inside a computer which I do not understand. A stack of post-its stuck to each side, which I wrote notes on and lists and kept track of words that overflowed from my brain. You saw me through three cities: Boulder, Denver, Brooklyn. I took you across the border into Canada. Poem’d on you in Vancouver and Victoria, BC. Pressed photographs into your memory of canoe trip and camping excursions. You grew sick, somehow, and lost your ability to produce 0’s and it’s parenthetical counterpart. I used to search online for a zero, and then cut and paste when I needed one.

One day, I received a letter of ZERO’s from a woman who lives by the ocean and I no longer needed to search.

Computer, when they took you, I began to weep for all the poems I lost. No, there was no back up. The salt flowed when I thought of the photographs I’d never get back. The videos. So many images that I leaned on during times of discreet loneliness.

I have since replaced you, computer. Found most of the poems I thought I had lost, though many will be gone forever. I’ve written new ones. I’ve let go of ever finding you….

I think about desperation. A need for currency. I’ve had that need. Though I’ve never stolen, I have found other ways….perhaps worse…to get that money.

As I write, there is silence. I used to have a song, which played on repeat as I poem’d. I lost that song along with all the rest of my stored music. Perhaps I miss that almost as much as my poems.

So, I gather up more words. More music. More photographs. Store my breaths in wallet like currency and try to use when I purchase fresh greens at the farmer’s market or used books at local shop on Vanderbilt. I force a new relationship with unfamiliar computer, a bit too clean and not as worn as you.

And this change extends into new relationships with people who don’t need outlets or battery charges and do not need to be hidden in sewn case in the back of my closet for fear of theft.

I move on. I move toward. I poem.

if i remain too still/ i may forget why i started this


Are scars just an alphabet that can be erased with proper creams and rubber eraser tips?

Is boredom the cause of collapse?

I never understood….

I never understood the logistics
of matching bra
to underwear
when floor wears it
so much longer
than breasts do

winter wind gathers the ghost of her

photo by Francesca Woodman

My orthodontist, who touched my teeth during the ages of ten through thirteen, smelled of rubber and adultery. He called my lips names like small and difficult. He tried to stretch my mouth further than it could possibly open and I left with sores on each side. He pushed wax against my teeth and told me to bite down. Tried to implant my imperfections. I’d lay in the slippery pastel colored chair, which bent backwards for easier access into my miniature pink mouth. As he inspected my braces, gums, timid tongue, I thought about all this metal trying to fix me.

Try to fix me.

What I was and what I am engage in a battle. Now, I am grey like an elephant and wrinkled and heavy. If I were Amadeo Modigliani, I would stretch out these stories over various couches and gouge out the eyes to blind away the endurance of pain.

love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love

Love grows inside me like a fetus that never moves on that only develops fingernails and eyelids but not lungs or cerebellum that feels guilt for its preference to masturbate over conversate.

{a whisper}
My belly lies against red cotton sheets with limited thread count. I am crying. My fingers smell like my insides. A salt and vinegar soak. I am desperate for an orgasm, instead, my brain channels memories inappropriate for fucking.

{a reveal}
Andy Flemming throws a three-piece dissected bee at me in science class. I am twelve. He calls me a screen door and I watch the severed insect slide down my paved chest. My three best friends have elevated breasts, regular periods and body hair. They prefer tampons to pads and waxing to razors. There are no bras in my wardrobe. I wear undershirts. If it weren’t for my nipples, I’d have no idea where my tits are.

How do bruises fail our bodies?

Do you REALLY want to know how these DENTS got here?
Are you ASKING me why my cupboards are filled with condoms and
do you WANT to know how many times I’ve climbed walls shaped as humans shaped as beds shaped as paychecks?

Strap magnifying lenses against each pupil and stare into the abyss of nearsightedness

{a message}
If you loved me, you would revel as my pubic hairs flossed between your teeth.
When you go down on me, prepare for choke and swallow of curls.
Let my cunt be your dentist.

Call me a gentle recluse
Or mismatched experimentalist

I will remember the days when nothing occurred and you can tell me I’m wrong

Friday, March 9th Performance @ Sidewalk Cafe, NYC

Boog City presents
d.a. levy lives: celebrating the renegade press

Fri., March 9, 7:00 p.m. FREE

Sidewalk Café
94 Ave. A, NYC
F/V to 2nd Ave., L to 1st Ave.
Venue is at E.6th St.

Event will be hosted by
BlazeVOX editor and publisher
Geoffrey Gatza

Featuring readings from

Geoffrey Gatza
Barbara Henning
Aimee Herman
Michael Kelleher
Krystal Languell

and music from

Christy Davis
Julie Delano & Gold
Leslie Graves

There will be wine, cheese, and crackers, too.

Poetry booked by Geoffrey Gatza, music booked by Christy Davis.

Curated and with an introduction by Boog City editor David Kirschenbaum


**BlazeVOX [books]

*Performer Bios*

Christy Davis has been playing drums in bands since the ’80s, spanning a wide variety of projects, including Reverend Billy & His Stop Shopping Choir, Rebecca Moore, Mold, and Kansas State Flower. Christy has recently been stepping out from behind the drum set to perform her own songs while still playing with her most recent collaborative effort Gatos de Sensei.

Geoffrey Gatza is the editor and publisher of the small press BlazeVOX. The fundamental mission of BlazeVOX is to disseminate poetry, through print and digital media, both within academic spheres and to society at large. Gatza has received awards from the Fund for Poetry and a Boomerang Award. He is the author of many books of poetry, including Secrets of my Prison House, Kenmore: Poem Unlimited, and Not So Fast Robespierre (Menendez Publishing). His writings for children includes HouseCat Kung Fu: Strange Poems for Wild Children, and Kindle books, A Rocket Full of Pie and The Diamond who wanted to be a Ruby. He is also the author of the yearly Thanksgiving Menu-Poem Series, a book length poetic tribute for prominent poets, now in it’s tenth year. He is a CIA trained chef, a former Marine, a lifelong Sherlockian, and an avid philatelist. He lives in Buffalo, N.Y. with his girlfriend and two beloved cats.

Julie Delano & Gold is the solo project of bassist, singer, and songwriter Julie DeLano. In this project she adds angelic and demonic harmonies and drum beats to her sparse songwriting.

Leslie Graves is the singer in They Would be Happy People, an improvisational art rock group at work on a new LP. She plays solo as well and released an album last year called Let it Take You.

Barbara Henning is the author of two novels, You, Me and the Insects and Black Lace. Her books of poetry include My Autobiography, Detective Sentences, Love Makes Thinking Dark, and Smoking in the Twilight Bar, as well as numerous chapbooks and a series of photo-poem pamphlets. A collection of prose and poetry, Cities & Memory, is forthcoming from Chax Press. She’s a native Detroiter and a long time New York City resident.

Aimee Herman, a queer performance poet, has been featured at various New York venues including the Happy Ending Lounge, Dixon Place, Wow Café Theatre, Perch Café, One & One Bar, Public Assembly, and Sidewalk Café. She has performed at reading/performance series such as: In the Flesh erotic salon, Hyper Gender, Sideshow: Queer Literary Carnival, Mike Geffner Presents: The Inspired Word, and Red Umbrella Diaries. Her poetry can be found in Clean Sheets, Cliterature Journal, InStereo Press, Sound Zine, Pregnant Moon Review, and/or journal, Polari Journal, and Sous Le Pavre. She can also be read in you say. say. and hell strung and crooked (Uphook Press), Focus on the Fabulous: Colorado LGBT Voices (Johnson Books), Best Women’s Erotica 2010 (Cleis Press), Best Lesbian Love Stories 2010 (Alyson Books), Nice Girls, Naughty Sex (Seal), Women in Lust (Cleis), and The Harder She Comes: Butch Femme Erotica (Cleis Press). She works as an erotica editor for Oysters & Chocolate. She can be found writing poems on her body in Brooklyn.

Michael Kelleher is the author of two collections of poems, both from BlazeVOX [books], Human Scale and To Be Sung. His poems and essays have appeared at the Poetry Foundation website, The Brooklyn Rail, Ecopoetics, The Poetry Project Newsletter, and others. With Ammiel Alcalay he runs OlsonNow, a project (events and a blog) dedicated to the poetry and poetics of Charles Olson. He lives in Buffalo, N.Y., where he works as artistic director of Just Buffalo Literary Center.

Krystal Languell was a semi-finalist for the 2010 University of Akron Press Poetry Prize and a finalist for the 2011 National Poetry Series. Her work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Fairy Tale Review, and DIAGRAM among other journals, and was anthologized in the 2010 edition of Best of the Web. Founder of the feminist literary magazine Bone Bouquet, she serves as a collaborative board member for the Belladonna* Series as well as editor-in-chief at Noemi Press. She teaches composition at York College in Queens and the Borough of Manhattan Community College. She lives in Brooklyn, where she also co-curates the HOT TEXTS Reading Series.

JUST RELEASED!!!! to go without blinking

to go without blinking

Aimee Herman is a cyborg. Not in the sense of a mixture but: in her impetus. Her desire for a book to be a new kind of thinking and being in the world. As she writes in the startling Statement of Poetics that opens this passionate collection: “This body of text practices trilingualism and contraction. Theories include gender confiscation and syntax dissection.” I liked that. A syntax that records what happens to a body even more than the words themselves. And that’s just page one. Throw away “the color pink,” writes Herman, deeper in. And: “Gender is best received in a question mark.” In not with. I loved that. This is re-wiring where it counts: below the lexicon. Below the public-private register:” where the label was rubbed.” Until there’s nothing left but, as the writer says: “The most dangerous parts of me.” What those “dangerous parts” become, reconfigured, mutilated and grown again, is the text of this “sore” and “feminine” book. A book in which “words” and beloveds, of various kinds: “never stop coming.” What kind of cyborg is this?

—Bhanu Kapil, The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Naropa University.

Gizzards: a word my grandmother used to mean bloody, messy, entangled innards. These are gizzard-poems. Even if the important parts are blurred you can hear the sound of envelopes unlatching, you can become the redhead body for a while. Herman tells us do not approach the scars…disobey her and masturbate while reading this book. Then go snap a pencil in half. Yes, it’s like that.

— Jackie Sheeler, author of Earthquake Came to Harlem

Aimee Herman celebrates and contradicts our expectations in her disturbing juxtapositions of unexpected images. This is a book poised to define the poet’s title and premise: “How can one edit the typos found in scar tissue.” Reading these poems challenges our comfort zone and confronts us with an ever-moving visceral vitality. The poet’s lyrical scrutiny considers all angles and actions as in the “shape of angled knuckles surfing into / independent variable”. She is breaking through taboos of language we never knew we had. Her tangled metaphors morph into surreal visions. Unpredictable, a sexuality of the unexpected that demands our engagement even as the language soaks us ever deeper into inexplicable non-outcomes that riddle like questions in a Zen koan. Experimental and disarmingly playful, these lines are a testimony, a political investigation into a sensuality that refuses conclusion.

— Maureen Owen, author of Erosion’s Pull

Aimee Herman writes so often in the imperative because she and her world insist on the NOW of the body, society, and language. She brings us the world both embodied and cataloged, alienated yet familiar. Her words are a recipe for seeing differently. Blink at your own delicious peril.

— Daphne Gottlieb, author of 15 Ways to Stay Alive

Aimee Herman’s to go without blinking is a visceral, wide eyed, queer movement that creates “sturdy retinas” in those of us who participate. As we enter and perform this book by way of our bodies (our inhabitation) we are nervy-aghast, gasping, slobbering, terrified, aroused. Oh the confessions here– not only the confessions themselves, but the quality of confession amid the varying grits of the unveiled body. This is not a book of the stellar body. It is the core, guttural relation of body to page—it is body and page as planar path, “leaking teeth”—“a need to disrobe to satisfy.” Herman has shown us an unabridged vista of spaces and scenes where power, colonization, detriments and desires are exchanged. Nothing is held back here. We are cut by this book. We are conflated. We are ruined in the best possible ways. to go without blinking’s “tongue is too big for [its] body” and this is where its genius is.

—j/j hastain, author of prurient anarchic omnibus

Aimee Herman, a queer performance poet, has been featured at various New York venues such as the Happy Ending Lounge, Dixon Place, Wow Café Theatre, Perch Café, One & One Bar, Bowery Poetry Club, Public Assembly, and Sidewalk Café. She has performed at reading/performance series such as: In the Flesh erotic salon, Hyper Gender, Sideshow: Queer Literary Carnival, Mike Geffner Presents: The Inspired Word, and Red Umbrella Diaries. Her poetry can be found in Clean Sheets, Cliterature Journal, InStereo Press, Sound Zine, Pregnant Moon Review, and/or journal, Polari Journal, Mad Rush, Lavender Review, and Sous Le Pavre. She can also be read in you say. say. and hell strung and crooked (Uphook Press), Focus on the Fabulous: Colorado LGBT Voices (Johnson Books), Best Women’s Erotica 2010 (Cleis Press), Best Lesbian Love Stories 2010 (Alyson Books), Nice Girls, Naughty Sex (Seal), Women in Lust (Cleis) and The Harder She Comes: Butch Femme Erotica (Cleis Press). She currently works as an erotica editor for Oysters & Chocolate and curates/hosts monthly NYC erotica and GLBT lit readings. She can be found writing poems on her body in Brooklyn.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 156 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-080-4

$16 Buy it from Amazon