My dream (or one of the many that I swim in each day) is to write a banned book or poem. There is no intention of offending when I write, but when I disrobe my syllables, I do aim for some form of stun to occur. Basically, I want humans to feel things.

Tonight, I read alongside some fabulous contemporary poets such as:  Matvei Yankelevich, Timothy Donnelly, Deborah Landau, Alex Dimitrov, Ana Bozicevic among others. We will each be reading some of the best censored and banned poems by Allen Ginsberg, Walt Whitman, Frank O’Hara, Sappho, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and more.

Head on over to Housing Works Bookstore in NYC at 7pm on Monday, September 30th.  Join PEN American Center and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression for readings in celebration of Banned Books Month and the poets whose work have been banned throughout history.

Beer and wine will be served. Free drinks to the first 100 attendees and drink specials after that. Seating begins at 6:30 and readings will begin promptly at 7:00.

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
126 Crosby St.


Everything came before it but pay closer attention to what arrives after. The moon has dressed its lips in red. A poet in the midwest will wind a cape around your back and remind you of your superpowers. There will be magic in this realism. You call Gabriel Garcia Marquez and tell him to send you some water. Notice the giant who washes ashore. Do not scrub the algae from whispered face. Instead, clean out the wax from exhausted ears and sing out your poems. On a Friday, you will feel your ribs collapse on a walk tangled by salt and hurricane. A car will crash against your knees but your body will feel grateful because in this moment it can feelOn a Saturday, a human will grab your wrist and rub bergamot into its creases. They will kiss you with open mouth and hide their history beneath your tongue. On a Sunday, your breath will remind you of oranges and winter. Did you know that honey can save lives. In the end, you choose soil over stone. There is a crave of lavender and southeast asian perfumery. “The shape of your shoulders and the flight of your hips and underneath your inhale you may find your peace.” Or a piece. Call all this an excerpt of what will soon be complete. Or call it a prologue because maybe all of this is just beginning.

Dumbo Arts Festival

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I will be joined by fellow Poetry Teachers NYC faculty Dan Dissinger and Megan DiBello amongst other incredible poets at the Dumbo Arts Festival.
Title: Poet Sculpture
Artist: Samuel Jablon
Location:  Under the Manhattan Bridge, in the archway.
Dates: Sept. 28th 12-6pm & 29th 12- 5pm.
Description: The formation and words of poets will define the sculpture via collective action, group decisions, and word (sound) waves. The poet sculpture will be in flux, with poets not performing one at a time, but together, interweaving their words, creating a sculpture (“poem”), while physically interacting. There will be a mix of pausing and interrupting. The most important part of this performance will be the response, reaction, and exchange from the poet/sculpture to the audience/passersby.

The installation is a moveable platform, made out of different sized crates. Each individual crate is designed for a departed writer. Performers will be standing on  Julia de Burgos, Jayne Cortez, ee cummings, Allen Ginsberg, Barbara Guest, Langston Hughes, Tuli Kupferberg, Taylor Mead, Frank O’Hara, and Pedro Pietri.

                          Poets: Vito Acconci, Hala Alyan, Isak Berbic, Steve Dalachinsky, Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, Megan DiBello, Daniel Dissinger, Aimee Herman, Adam Faulkner, David Grubbs, Samuel Jablon, Paolo Javier, Vincent Katz,  Amy King, Chrissy Malvasi, Maria Maribal, Nikhil Melnechuk, Najee Omar, Yuko Otomo, Marissa Perel, Joseph A. W. Quintela, Peter Rugh, John Sands, Rachel Schragis, Samantha Thornhill, Anne Waldman, Moira Williams, and Emanuel Xavier.
The installation will be under the Manhattan Bridge, in the archway. Performances will be from 12-6pm on the 28th and 12-5pm on the 29th.

do not expect what you’re expecting

When you are least prepared, someone somewhere will give you flowers. They will not come with packet full of powder meant to dilute water into something stronger than tap. They will not be wrapped in cellophane or tissue paper. The stems will not be choked in ribbon and there will not be a portable shelter like vase or pot to house them in. They will not be carefully cut or angled toward a collision of colors.

These flowers will still reek of earth. They will be clumsy and stolen. They will still have bees burrowed into their petals.

They will be far more beautiful than any florist’s version because these flowers will be tangled into the fleshy fondle of her fingers.


When I was a child, for a brief time, my father delivered flowers to my mother every Friday. They arrived like romantic love letters hidden inside various wildflowers and baby’s breath. Each bouquet was different and boasted the most glorious scents and colors. As quickly as this ritual began, it ended just the same.

There have been many times in my life where flowers found their way toward me. Weaved into bicycle basket. Clasped by rubber windshield washer against cracked car window. Hidden in messy, black converse. Beneath pillow. Worn within the knots of my hair. Delivered to a bar on an evening when poetry got pushed through the deepest of microphones.

My favorite way of getting flowers is noticing them in their natural setting. I like studying their grip and pondering how deep their roots go. I do not need to take them home to fondle their silky texture. Sometimes, romance needs to stay where it first began. To honor its origin without ripping it out.

And put your phones away. All this beauty will still exist even if you do not photograph it. All of this elegance is far more romantic when we just digest its moment.

And no one needs to know. Because the one who first weaved that dandelion, sparkling and golden, within fingers is all that matters now.


What remains in the background.

aloe and bike marks
broken string
clarifying verb
dust of suppertime
eastern parkway
echo’d gender in your back pocket
falsified accent
glass harp and your bladder
jest of your dialect
knife fight
lesson plan from ghost’s milk
missed messages
piece of callus
questionable liar
railroad tracks rubble of voice
red dress
rest stop on the way toward your country
some blood
some coffee
that hash I almost smoked before we poem’d
two bends and a fold
u   u
wonder what would occur if you claimed me now
x x x x
your tooth
zipper lungs and zipper grunt and the day you stopped calling me ________ .


write into [the] dark

What are you blooming up there in the wind of outer space. I am collaborating with you, moon. On a morning where you refused to exit stage left, I noticed your sleepy yawn. I parted my mouth not quite as wide as yours and we welcomed in each others’ breath. Mine smelled of peanut butter and poetry; I might describe yours as bergamot and soapy. Tell me about the context of your question marks stabbing at your cheeks. What is it you want to say, moon. There is no need for shyness when the earth is our matchmaker and it seems we have been listening to the same song for decades. You are a rhapsody in blue. You are the one who steals moments and there are no photographs that can compete with the stun you exude from all the way up there. Water is like happiness and I am floating my way in rain and pre-dawn dew toward your lust.

graffiti’d poetics

We tag buildings with our names or a version of letters which resemble who we are. We boast how fearless we can be by climbing vacant subway trains and reaching questionable heights to hollow out poems onto rooftops and skyscrapers’ windows. We breathe the fumes of aerated paint onto bridges and brick walls. We call this art. Because it is.

When I think about the body, it is hard not to describe it as window’d or broken into. It is difficult not to search for the flaps of skin that may be used like deadbolts to lock out the ones who crawl their way in. Body as a building. Body as a construction site. Carved out poemflesh.

On an evening right before autumn arrived, I removed my clothes. Bound breasts beneath caution tape. Covered bottom half in prophylactics to protect and preserve.  I exited a stage and allowed an audience of others to write on me. Alongside another poet, we read out a collaboration of language, as humans wrote their names on us and messages of love and curiosity. One woman inked her mathematics into my back and I wondered all evening what this combination of numbers unlocked. There was a symbol on my thigh and a sliced poem below my collarbone. An affirmation on my lower back and a list of desires on my forearm.

At the end of this evening, the poet and I were covered. After writing on me, she asked me to write on her.

I wrote:

When poetry dissects, silence is lost.

There are so many ways in which to communicate. Many choose the press of fingers against handheld devices. Others ask for the presence of bones and skin to climb their way into present-tense room. Eye contact is becoming extinct. So, I offer up this body as a gesture of paper to write your poems on. Please use invisible welcome mat and wipe your feet and eyes first. Give the trees a break and remember that this skin can be washed and written on and erased and read. There is so much magnificence in the ability to let go of silence and unravel the body like a scroll.

What would you write on another if given the opportunity?

the arrival of autumn: a cinematic romance

Cue the music. Send in the woman wearing lips as though they were born out of a Kandinsky. Mouth painted in hue of red that makes blood blush. What’s my line? asks the moon. It exists wearing a sweater vest and sheath of wool but from down here all that can be seen is its blinding gaze.

In New York City, everything is romantic. Even the scent of urine. Because when a beautiful woman is against you, the nose smells only blues and jazz on her breath. The cement is covered in a carpet of crushed leaves. We make music with each step. And there is nothing wrong with this air no longer sweating against us. When the body shivers, it reminds us how moved we can get.

Doesn’t this feel like a Woody Allen film? I will stutter my tongue down my throat; you will write poems out of intimate disasters like finely tuned recipes. All of this can exist on a couch somewhere during overpriced analysis session with accented human reminding you that life is meant to feel dog-eared– battered but emphasized.

We will eat differently now because of allergies and dietary restrictions, but here in New York City, everything can be a substitute for the real thing. However. Beauty will always exist as its truest form when the moon stretches and the light is just right to notice. To notice. All the red in this world.

no, this is just what happens when you pay attention to the life outside and in.

Bodies fold like tired laundry. Beds are no longer a necessity when eyes climb closed and the push/pull of subway lulls bones to sleep. We wear our coats now. Construction boots. Necks are scarve’d and skulls are capped by wool. How contagious is that cough at the end of this train. Would we still exist without cell phones or candy crush.

At 6:36am on Wednesday, the sky still sleeps. Call it eighty shades of black with planets that blink. If I hadn’t of noticed that chip in the moon last night, I might have forgotten why I look up so often. At 125th Street, the humans get off and suddenly that coveted blue bench is empty. I am book-ended by sleepy commuters and across, a man shakes his neck toward the music piped into his ears. I need no record or radio to channel the pre-recorded rhythms in my mind.

Outside, pigeons flap wings wearing reminders of breakfast: barbecue sauce, bones on their breath. I cannot explain why I call them my favorite bird, but maybe it is their flight. History as grey and white mailboxes or. Maybe it is the way they are ignored or shooed away. And aren’t the most beautiful parts of earth also what we tend to forget to notice?

the poetics of vandals

They are removing this. Someone somewhere decided that hands are convicts in need of a punishing. All that paint that got fired from cocked fingertips will be erased. Sometimes buildings are protected like bodies, but someone always gets in. Call it a rummage. Call it a bomb threat. Call it infiltration of societal disintegration. At some point, skin gets written on like tagged windows or carved benches. On arms, pronounce the nicknames of suspicious life. On thighs, there are syllables that should have been forgotten but in all these scribbles, stories allow room for the movement. So move.