“helmet hair is very beautiful”

It is a Monday evening and the air feels far more chilled than it did a few hours earlier. I am biking from one part of Brooklyn to another toward home. Lately, my rides are filled with songs, not from stuffed-up ears playing pre-recorded tunes, but from my mouth. Sometimes I make up songs or start poems, as I glide down streets and turn corners.

Heleanore, my rusty bike, houses the weight of my body and due to its constantly stubborn lack of gear shifting, I often find myself moving slower. My speed– or lack there of– has been a cause of slight shyness when others want to ride along with me. Oftentimes, I am left behind, which is fine by me. Like dancing, I prefer to ride alone.

Here I am, with broken bike seat beneath my seat, with invisible moon haunting me lovingly behind clouds when suddenly:

“Hey, can I tell you something?” says bike rider rolling beside me in bike lane, with flashing lights in front and back, wearing spandex and helmet and sly smile.

Uh, yeah. Sure, I say with deep reluctance.

“Helmet hair is very beautiful.” Anonymous bike guy then proceeds to speed along past me, before I could respond.


Here is the thing: No, I was not wearing a helmet and although this is not required by law, I recognize that I am putting my safety at risk. Biking in New York City is a completely different experience from other places I’ve rolled over. There are bike lanes; however, cars often forget their manners in these parts.

I didn’t mind the reminder to be safe– even from a stranger. What I did mind was attributing my lack of helmet wearing to some sort of beauty regimen. I immediately thought: if I were male, would he have still approached me in this way with this particularly gendered language?

Twenty minutes later, I arrived home safely. Chained Heleanore to post near my apartment and walked up the stoop to my home. Thought about helmets and all the other ways in which I put my safety at risk. I thought about all the reasons one should protect themselves from falls and that time the concrete hit me in a way that loosened my teeth and forced nine stitches in my skin. I was not on a bike (therefore a helmet may have been awkward) but we are often reminded of the impermanence of our bodies in times such as these.

For the record, I am not worried about aforementioned helmet hair, nor am I particularly bothered about beauty or lack there of in me.

I am, however, interested in remaining in tact (now) for as long as I can.

Today: Reading at the Literature Magazine Fair!!


I’m extremely excited to be reading alongside other writers today in celebration of small presses and magazines. Come to Housing Works bookstore at 126 Crosby St. NYC for this all-day FREE event!

Discover new favorites and stock up on back issues of beloved literary standbys at our fifteenth annual blowout lit mag sale, featuring hundreds of mags ($2) from around the country and dozens of editors in the flesh!

Get free advice about publishing, reading, writing and anything else that ails you from the editorial masterminds behind Bodega, Confrontation, The Literary Review, Rattapallax, & St. Petersburg Review.

After a short reading from lit mag contributors Idra Novey (A Public Space), Aimee Herman (Bone Bouquet) and Camille Rankine (Tin House), Amy King (VIDA) will moderate a discussion about women in literary publishing.

3:15pm: 15th BIRTHDAY PARTY + CAKE! 
We celebrate 15 years of lit mag lovin’ with birthday cake, and there’s a piece with your name on it!

A Celebration of Brooklyn-based writer, Jenna Leigh Evans’s new book!!

Living in New York City, one comes across a lot of creative humans. Music makers and artists, writers and performers. We (often) learn from each other and gain insight into all the ways in which imaginations can stretch. When I first met Jenna Leigh Evans, I was blown away by the flexibility of her narrative and the bravery in her characters’ voices. We became friends immediately and often share spaces where writing is encouraged. I have been counting down the days until the arrival of her first novel. It’s been lingering in the air for so long, I am excited to finally celebrate its arrival.

Prosperity can be purchased through Amazon and Dog Ear Publishing. Once I finally get my hands on it, I’ll have more to say beyond the fact that I know it will be a collection of pages I am quite sure will be difficult to put down.

Here is a description to entice you further:   America has finally figured out how to make deadbeats pay up: the PROSPER program, a very modern, very luxurious debtor’s prison housed in a shopping mall. When curmudgeonly hobo Percy Rue first gets there, she’s as lonely as she is broke – and the only person who’ll talk to her is Lita Takewell, a drug-dealing New Age priestess she’d rather avoid. But when Percy uncovers sinister machinations behind the program’s helpful façade, Lita is the only one she can trust – and maybe the key to her survival. Prosperity is speculative fiction; social satire; a pitch-black comedy set in the very near future. It is a novel for anyone who has ever found something absurd – or maddening! – about corporate culture, cubicle jobs, debt collectors, webinars, infotainment, political activism, advertising, government assistance programs, billionaire philanthropists, shopping malls, Town Hall meetings, New Age spirituality, Big Pharma, bureaucracy, awkward friendships, celebrities, minimum wage, anarchists, video games, the criminal justice system, outsourcing, food courts, education, on-the-job training, privitazation, psychotherapy, or standing on line at the DMV.

what kind of artist are you.

artwork by Kate Holden
Are you thinking?
Then you are creating.
Are you breathing?
Then you are creating.
Are you waking even when your skin feels too heavy or grey to move on?
Then you are creating.
Are you filling pages with your handwriting?
Then you are a writer.
Are you painting without worry of where the lines will go?
Then you are an artist.
Are you sharing your work with others?
Then you are creating.
Are you exhaling images from your lungs?
Then you are an artist.

You don’t need to know where all this paint or ink or music is going. Just get it down. Just clutter the air with the noise of your art. Archive your mind. Share the etchings of your brainstem. Give away some words to encourage anothers’. This is all art.

A poem by the great NYC poet, Puma Perl

“Epilogue on Broken Benches” is one of my favorite poems by Puma Perl, found in her chapbook, Belinda and Friends. I was deeply honored to read a few poems last week to celebrate Puma Perl’s new collection of poetry, Retrograde, put out by Great Weather for MEDIA.

Purchase a copy of Retrograde now!

Make Music New York!


I am excited to be part of MAKE MUSIC NEW YORK! A celebration of summer and sounds. I will be performing ukelele-drenched poems alongside Barbara Ann Branca, Matthew Hubert, and Robert Gibbons from 6-9pm. There will be an open mic as well!

Come to Fort Tryon Park / Washington Heights/Inwood for music and poetry starting at 2pm

Theatre Group Dzieci2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Helioscope 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Amanda Jane Hoffman5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Zev Torres 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM


change of address: a collision of music and poetics

Words and music bring us closer to people. I bring back this beautiful collaboration with magnificent Canadian from deep in the woods of watch tower, keeping the trees safe.

Marina Marina binds twine to my language like musical bungee cord bringing coasts and borders closer together. Check out Marina’s music and support incredible song writing and breath-taking voice stretching.

Download this song for FREE!!!!





how to remember how to breathe.

I have been reminded several times in my life to breathe.

Yoga teacher in blueish-green bandana wrapped around head, pushes on my back to ease me further into a pose and whispers, breathe. It is not until this moment that I realize my lungs are stunned into a pause. As I shift into various positions, I am thinking about every part of my body, yet forget all about my lungs.

A lover fills in my cracks with their skin. With hips like chisels, I am led deeper into the earth. I shake against the harmony of metaphors and suddenly, I hear them whisper: are you breathing, still?

It can be difficult to remember the impact of bones and how they bend without break while stretching muscles into various alphabets and twisting fingertips into smoldering birdsongs. And. Still. Breathe.

My body is a tree turned sideways, sometimes upside down. Seasons change, and I dress or undress accordingly. There is so much swelter, teasing the skin into beads of thunderstorms. I have been breathing for so many years, when is the moment where it just happens without thought. Without memory of how to.

I collapse exhales over the one who feeds me oxygen. We inhale poses of yesterday and postures of tomorrow. Sometimes it is necessary to forget how to breathe to remember how magnetic it feels once you do.


NYC summer writing program. SIGN UP NOW!

Summer is approaching……get out your paper and ink and sign up for Poetry Teachers NYC  summer writing program at Shetler Studios in NYC!!!!


Week 1:

July 5th: 9:30AM-12:30PM
July 6th: 9:30AM-2:30PM
July 9th: 9:30AM-5:30PM

Week 2:

July 12th: 9:30PM-2:30PM
July 13th: 9:30AM-2:30PM
July 16th: 9:30AM-5:30PM

Week 3:

July 19th: 9:30PM-2:30PM
July 20th: 9:30AM-2:30PM
July 23rd: 9:30AM-5:30PM
Week 4:

Performance at Governers Island Poetry Fesival July 26th & July 27th (ALL DAY)
July 30th: 9:30PM-5:30PM
August 2nd: Closing Reading/ Party 6PM-12AM


Immerse yourself for the month of July in New York’s historic poetry scene, drawing on the rich lineage of the the city’s creative community.  Cultivate your craft under the guidance of professional New York poets and celebrated guest lecturers. Absorb the city’s signature entrepreneurial spirit and emerge equipped to publish, perform, and succeed in your own creative endeavors.


During the 4 weeks of the Summer program, students will learn what it takes to plan a Poetry or Multi-disciplinary event in New York. The venues we have chosen are The Sidewalk Cafe and The Cornelia Street Cafe. Both of these iconic venues are downtown staples to the performance community.  Students will be tasked with choosing student readers, creating  programs, finding a host, as well as marketing and promoting their events. Each event will need a title and a theme. Students will learn about managing logistical aspects such as time constraints, content, scripts, and pricing. They will also be able to figure in other creative aspects, such as music, visual art and dance.


There will be 3 student-run panels, each with 4 presenters, held on Wednesdays, starting on July 16th. Each student will write their own paper in defense of a theme that the panel’s moderator will choose. After each student presents his or her paper (max time 15 minutes, including any tech needs), there will be a Q & A. The panels will each run for 2 hours total, from 6PM-8PM.


Each week’s round table discussion will feature a new theme built around relevant topics such as publishing, entrepreneurship, life in New York, creative process, submissions, and New York City’s distinct history. Guest writers, publishers, and people in business will be visiting the table to offer ideas and encouragement and spark open discussion. This is a great opportunity for students to ask questions and to network with creative influencers.  Guest Writers: Kristin Prevallet, Lisa Jarnot, Brenda Coultas, Advocate of Wordz, Joyce LeeAnn, Peter Rugh, Daniel Dissinger, Aimee Herman, and Megan DiBello along with other guests. Guest publishers will include Great Weather for Media, Fact-Simile, and Monkey Puzzle Press.


Throughout the 4 weeks, each student will have the opportunity to meet with each of our 3 teachers individually, outside of class. We do this so that each student has a chance to showcase and discuss his or her work and receive personalized feedback and advice. We also chat with students about their personal and artistic goals and help them plan the next steps in their creative lives.


Workshops will be held on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. We will provide a comprehensive source book to accompany the workshop series, containing information about local resources, open mics, and events. Reading and writing exercises will be assigned. Students will write letters to one another regarding their work. The focus of these workshops is to cultivate a students’ distinct creative voices, both written and performative. Voice, stage presence, eye contact, and diction are all performance aspects that will be covered in these classes.

Sign up now!!!

apologize the body (a letter)


Dear body…

I’m sorry” feels too much like the first two words of an over-priced Hallmark card. You deserve something far more original than that. I want to tell you that I think it’s time to find new words. Pull up a chair and sing to me. I encourage you not to harmonize. Be out of tune. It’s not about how you sound anymore. I just…just want you to tell me what you want to be called. This is your time. This is your vocabulary. I’ve been sounding you out incorrectly. This whole time; I’ve been addressing you wrongly and you never corrected me. You have been too polite. Too submissive. Too hesitant to make a scene. Make a scene. Rummage around and tell me what hurts. What doesn’t feel right. What doesn’t belong. Put gender aside. Just…for now. If your chest is wrong, we can bind. We can remove. You can change your pronoun each day, if necessary. Your hair and its cuts or lack there of do not need to be consistent or follow any chart. There is no model anymore. We are all scraps. Cut-ups. Burroughs had it right all along. We are bits of so many things. A mash-up of texts and languages. Body, I know I’ve been your bully. I have rubbed poisons into you and ignored all of your voicemails. What have I been so scared of. You’ve remained…far longer than most. After all. After all this. After all I’ve done. I’m listening now. I’m ready.