Someone told me that there is a chance that humans can be overexposed, so I seep out the iron and ink in my organs and allow my body to exist as a solitary stretch of invisible. I am going to let my spit go dry. Rebel, I left sixteen pounds of my bones on a stage in the west village on a friday when the moon was too shy to emerge from its overcoat of clouds. I broke a hip from the impact of silence after I placed seven hundred and twenty seconds of sounds on strangers’ laps. Then, on Saturday, my tooth fell out (OK, just a filling, but it still resembled the rest of me) from biting into the softest butternut squash and I worry that I am coming undone. Have you ever felt a peep hole housed inside a human? I met someone who looked right through me and then dug away at all my private passwords. Should I title this corruption or Sunday rendezvous?
Thank you to The Good Men Project for publishing my new poem, “friday evening with your approaching facial hair and my nervous fingers”
“I am a rare species, not a stereotype.” ― Ivan E. Coyote
You squint your pixelated pupils in order to pronounce whatever words fit you in this moment, even if you have never spoke them before. Even if you can barely understand them. What matters is it is you right now.
You put on your glittered denim, hip-hugging pants even though they are several breaths too tight and you wore them when you called yourself something else, but you can still be queer or male or gender variant no matter the size of your zipper.
You decide to channel william s. borroughs’s cut-up method with the language of your parts: for the rest of the day your genitals are housed in your brain and the space between your thighs are your fingers, writing down all your thoughts.
You give yourself permission to linger in front of store windows and blow kisses at the reflection of your blur.
You have no idea what stereotypes are these days. You are a cornucopia of moments.
I’m excited to host the first (of many) Queer Art Organics, which is a monthly showcase of LGBTQI artists showcasing their particular creative language(s). We feature poets, writers, music makers and performance artists of all kinds. Come and soak up the sounds or sign up for the OPEN MIC!!
Come to Branded Saloon located at 603 Vanderbilt Ave/ Brooklyn. SUNDAY OCTOBER 19th from 8-10 pm
Suggestion donation of $5 (no one ever turned away for lack of funds)
Jenna Leigh Evans was named one of LAMBDA Literary’s Emerging LGBT Voices of 2014. Recent publications include Electric Literature’s The Outlet, The Nervous Breakdown, The Toast, Autostraddle and the Billfold. Her debut novel, Prosperity, was a finalist for the Eludia Award and a semifinalist for the Black Lawrence Press’s Big Moose Prize. Published in July of this year, it is available in print and as an e-book.
Trae Durica is a genderqueer poet, writer and artist living in Brooklyn. Trae’s work can be found in NYSAI’s first Issue Flush’d,great weather for MEDIA’s latest anthology I Let Go of the Stars in My Hand, a self published chapbook Cacophony Worth Remembering, and on the undersides of overturned picnic tables. Trae Durica has mixed feelings about the Oxford comma.
great weather for MEDIA is thrilled to celebrate the October 2014 publication of meant to wake up feeling by Aimee Herman.
Come along for a terrific night of poetry, mixed-media, and music featuring Aimee Herman and special guests Todd Anderson and Yeti.
317 East Houston Street
New York, NY 10002
Visceral, insistent, beyond transgressive, meant to wake up feeling does just that. It is a palpable writing of the body in Hélène Cixious’s demanding and powerful sense of the act. Gratitude to Aimee Herman for getting under our skin, and moving poetry-in-discourse into the feminist present and future where we study and yearn for the salvation of humanity.
—ANNE WALDMAN, author of Gossamurmur and The Iovis Trilogy
meant to wake up feeling by Aimee Herman
Published October 10 2014
Just like maps. Not the maps that can be swiped at or enlarged on electronic screens. Maps on walls. Maps coiled and alphabetized by their place on earth. Rand McNally pages.
Words are like the keys that jangle against hipbones, held together against belt loop by mountain climbing key chain.
Words are mailboxes with secrets stuffed inside.
Words are proposals far flashier than jewelry.
And love is what curls all these letters. All these sounds. All these statements.
It seems so simple to sing that “you met me when I needed to be met” but timing is real. Timing is an alarm of awareness or readiness.
How difficult to exist in a world that constantly mispronounces your name. Calls you Ma’am when you are closer to Sir. Cannot seem to understand that gender restrictions are like allergic reactions on skin.
How marvelous to be seen as who I am each day. (Because it changes).
To be asked: How would you like to be seen today. Or: What would you like to be called. And: How do you prefer to be touched today?
Not all love is a welcome mat. Not all humans encourage you inside. Then you find someone who lifts weights with their heart in order to offer up you a muscle that has meaning when it flexes. You meet someone who asks all about your past tense, exhales and says ok………
There is someone out there who will measure, mix and make you pancakes in the nude on a workday just because of the way it makes your mouth feel when you eat them.
Words can be answers to the questions you never even spoke out loud. Breathe in these units of sound. This is where it all begins.
Thank you to great weather for MEDIA for believing in my words enough to publish me!
Aimee Herman – meant to wake up feeling
great weather for MEDIA is thrilled to announce the publication of meant to wake up feeling by Aimee Herman.
Aimee Herman’s powerful new collection, meant to wake up feeling, addresses the complexities of identity, gender, memory, and body image. This is a book of surprise, humor, intimacy, fallibility, renewal. A treasure map of metamorphosis. Anne Waldman writes, “Visceral, insistent, beyond transgressive…Gratitude to Aimee Herman for getting under our skin, and moving poetry-in-discourse into the feminist present and future where we study and yearn for the salvation of humanity.” Herman’s work takes you on a personal journey of understanding a body’s identity and, in turn, helps us understand who we are. These poems revel in Cummings’ forms, Bukowski directness, and Kerouacian playfulness. For a generation set on defining itself, this book is a step in the right direction of realizing the only definition is ourselves. In Herman’s own words, “Walk away from formula, resuscitate the dark inside, look for new bulb of light.”
Purchase from your favorite indie bookstore
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PRAISE FOR MEANT TO WAKE UP FEELING
Visceral, insistent, beyond transgressive, meant to wake up feeling does just that. It is a palpable writing of the body in Helene Cixious’s demanding and powerful sense of the act. Gratitude to Aimee Herman for getting under our skin, and moving poetry-in-discourse into the feminist present and future where we study and yearn for the salvation of humanity. —Anne Waldman, author of “Gossamurmur” and “The Iovis Trilogy”
meant to wake up feeling is an extraordinary book and Aimee Herman is a major talent. She mixes and remixes, configures and reconfigures language inventing new language and visual art. She says, “Do not live just because you can.” meant to wake up feeling is a series of individuals: an epic poem, a sexy political queer song about the body definition/redefinition relationship, diS-ease and transcendence. —Pamela Sneed, author of “Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom Than Slavery” and “KONG and Other Works”
Aimee Herman speaks to her and all generations past and present with these strong transcendent poems and ever-pressing issues. As Herman puts it “i am in-between the sentence structures of my body.” A body of work, which I kept embracing as I fell in between these fragmenting lines of poetic thought. Always questioning, Herman asks: “if you steam open the body / will you find what was really there?” and answers “alphabetized psychosis.” I say yes and perhaps a bit of uneasy (dis)comfort as well. To misquote Herman: Dear Aimee, every time I turn these pages I believe in you even more. Keep these transmissions coming.—Steve Dalachinsky, author of the PEN Oakland National Book Award winner “The Final Nite”
Aimee Herman continues her profound, unflinching explorations of love, violence, and the physical body in poems that are exquisitely crafted, dangerous and thrilling. meant to wake up feeling definitely lives up to its name. —Jessica Hagedorn, author of Dogeaters” and “Toxicology”
Writing is solitary. As it happens, there is no audience. It arrives. It is birthed, pushed, coughed, sneezed, puked out and then when (and if) one is ready, it is given away. Spoken off ledges, stages, bar stools and stoops.
I have a difficult making (and keeping) friends. I have a hard time remaining present and kind in relationships (this has dramatically changed). I don’t always know the proper way to exist.
I hate labels, though occasionally wear one to rip off and count the hairs pulled.
One label I do not mind inked into my battered wrist: poet.
On October 15th, I am so immensely pleased to celebrate some poems that were published in a book, meant to wake up feeling, pressed and ISBN’d by great great great weather for media.
I invite everyone to celebrate along with me at The Parkside Lounge located at 317 E. Houston St./NYC from 8-10pm. There will be books for sale!
I will be joined by Pancetta Bruschetta Rivera Herman III (the ukelele), the marvelously thought-provoking mixed-media superstar poet, Todd Anderson and the breathtakingly talented Staten Island band, Yeti.
For more info, go HERE:
At a recent arts festival in Brooklyn, I came across a young performance artist who I approached after watching for several minutes.
My initial observation was of this: Human with hazelnut-colored skin, wearing white tank top and white pants, stands, moving only her upper body. I recognize her gestures, but cannot place how. She is moving head to the left and then right. Shrugging shoulders. And repeating.
Finally, I go up to her and read the sign beside her, describing the piece.
Black or White or by Reya Sehgal
Passersby are invited to beautify the artist’s face using skin color-based beauty products, creating a new kind of multicultural subject. Using Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” music video—an early ‘90s paean to multicultural love—as a framing device, this participatory piece explores themes of race and multiculturalism in the beauty industrial complex.
Beside the artist was a palate of colors squeezed out of skin foundation make-up. Her movements were copied from Jackson’s famous video and afterwards, she sat motionless, body covered by a white sheet, as passersby painted her face.
I told her I felt uncomfortable and I knew that was the intention.
I told her that I wished she had other colors like red or yellow (which have been used to describe skin tone and even race).
She responded that these are the only colors available for people to use as foundation. These are what are marketed as skin tone shades.
I slowly walked away, allowing more people to enter this space and get involved. I drifted my eyes back toward her throughout the day, watching people cover her skin.
After about an hour, I walked up to her once the crowd dissipated. She was covered in thick gasps of browns and beiges. I grabbed a make-up sponge and dipped it into the bowl of water beside all the colors. Then, I moved toward her face and began wiping the paint away. I wanted to remember what her face looked like before the cover-up. I didn’t think any of those colors made her any more beautiful. I noticed myself feeling anger at all the layers of cover-up on her. With each scrape, I returned sponge back into the water, heading back toward her face to remove more. No matter how much I tried swiping at the oily make-up, it wouldn’t come off. I realized she was succeeding in this performance. I was not only thinking of race: color, blending, what is added/what is taken away, but the anger of what is hidden, what feels like it needs to be hidden.
How beauty is marketed. How we are encouraged to cover up. To blend. To smooth.
I have never used foundation, nor do I currently wear any make-up. My skin is blotchy and freckled and scarred and dry. Those around me would title my skin: white, though I’m not sure what shade that would be called in the land of make-up.
There have been times in my life where I dumped mascara onto my lashes or attempted a layer of color on my eyelids. I never quite made it work. I certainly didn’t feel any more or less beautiful. I felt covered up. I definitely felt in drag.
Within the construct of beauty, a lot of pain exists. Pressure. To hide what we are often told to hide. To brighten what is told is too dark.
I wonder what would happen if we all sat with palates of colors beside us…..how would others paint us and would anyone try to erase away what exists.
Would anyone just leave a face….a body…..alone….