(can you) LIKE this?

When I was a junior in high school, I liked a boy called G. I was too shy to ask him if he liked me the way I liked him, so I gave him my Enya CD before class one day, because I had overheard him saying he liked her music.

He smiled and took it, but never really said if he liked me or even the album and I have a scar on my right forearm from the day I drove to that park somewhere between where I lived and didn’t and cut my skin until I felt touched by something.

Grade ten in high school and I am told by my best friend that while he was in the gym locker room, a bunch of other boys were making fun of me. They said they wished I had just killed myself already and I began to wonder why my friend was relaying this to me. He said, “I defended you,” because he liked me, even though no one else did. Four more scars were born soon after.

First grade. A boy called D passes a note to me via three other people and asks me if I like him back. He gives me a choice: Circle YES or NO or MAYBE. I circle all three; even then, I had a difficult time making up my mind.

Nowadays, we are LIKED at least once a day, sometimes ten or thirty depending upon how often we ask through typed-up messages and photographs. We unravel our scars, dig them out like time capsules and put them up onto our computer screens, so that someone will press a button and deliver validation we’ve grown to thirst for.

Nowadays, we walk around with instant validation. All one has to do is post words and wait.




Two minutes pass and you’ve acquired three and then two more and suddenly your lack of employment or depleted bank account or untreated-but-diagnosed depression does not matter.

You. Are LIKE’d. Simply because you posted words above a button making it very easy for others to press it.

You tell people you have grown sick or gone to hospital or stopped eating or what you are eating or how you sit or how you lean or the delicate drip of your nose or who you are dating.

You tell people about what you just did or what you are about to do or what you plan to do next week.



Nineteen years of age, I am swallowing a boy’s body part that does not feel safe or comfortable in my mouth. He did not ask me if I LIKED this.

Year twenty-seven of living and I leave a place that I never recorded after my body is broken into once again and there is no button, but if there were I would not press it.

Seven years later and I try it out. I gather up some words like a bouquet of flowers stolen out of someone’s front yard. I take these words and thrown them onto a computer screen. And I wait. And I hold my breath until the first….


It feels good. Adrenaline of acceptance rushes through me and suddenly it does not matter how much I meant what I wrote. It doesn’t matter that I never spell-checked or fact- checked. All that matters is someone LIKE’d it, which means someone LIKE’d me.

And all my scars began to faint away or I pretended they had and it did not matter I was alone or lonely or hungry or still depressed. Someone pressed that button for me.


I take all these LIKEs and crush them up. I press down firmly to smooth out the hard bits. Like gristle. Suddenly, I’ve got a fine powder of LIKEs. I lean toward them as though about to whisper something worthy of a click to them. I get so close, I almost blow some of the LIKEs away. Then, I glide this dust toward my nose and snort them up like the drug it really is. I inhale. My chest beckons. My ribs climb themselves. I inhale every last drip of LIKE that exists and revel in the aftertaste of anticlimactic emptiness.


an ode to my furrow.

My therapist calls it a crease. As though my forehead has overslept after a night of tossing and turning and now it needs heavy-duty ironing. And yet, I like this noun. Perhaps I can call every fold and fumble on my skin a crease.

When I sit, that is not fat forming around my belly. They are creases. All those scars on my forearms? Creases.

My lover stores poems in my creases. But the noun chosen is furrow. Sometimes it is used as a verb: “Your brow is furrowed and I like this.”

I am unaware of when it happens. This noun of waves or verb of worry.

I furrow on the subway. I furrow when I make love. I furrow when I am in my nude, in the bath or upwards in shower. I furrow when I am eating a meal that steals all my words. I furrow when I am reading. Perhaps this is my resting face/place.

Creases or wrinkles or excess of skin does not have to be a bad thing. In fact, I quite like my folds. Media tells us to be smooth, but I like people to know I’ve lived and continue to do so.

My body tells the story of me when I am too shy to.

My body does not allow me to skip pages. Every inch of me speaks out my history. I like this. It reminds me I have one.

So, I’ve got this furrow that for a brief time was covered due to a poor decision called bangs. 

I was recently asked (by my therapist) to think of a part on me that I can say I like. For over a week, my answer was empty.

Finally, I know.

I like something about me.

My furrow.

Tonight: The Enclave Reading Series

The Enclave Reading Series erupts back on the scene, opening their spring season with a doozy of a line-up. Novelist, legend, and all around bon vivant, FREDERIC TUTEN, reads from new work. The magnificent CHAVISA WOODS returns to the Enclave stage once more. And one of our favorite poets at the moment, AIMEE HERMAN will blow your mind. Don’t miss this one!

Find us at The Cake Shop located at 152 Ludlow Street, NYC from 5-7pm.

As always, the bar will be open, the lights will be dim, and admission is FREE!

For more info: http://theenclavereadingseries.tumblr.com/
Follow on Twitter: @enclavianmatter


FREDERIC TUTEN is the author of five novels: The Adventures of Mao on the Long March; Tintin in the New World; Tallien: A Brief Romance; Van Gogh’s Bad Café; The Green Hour; and a book of inter-related short stories: Self Portraits: Fictions. He has earned two Pushcart Prizes, a PhD in literature, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Award for Distinguished Writing from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

CHAVISA WOODS is the author of The Albino Album,”a novel, and Love Does Not Make Me Gentle or Kind. The Second Edition was released by Autonomedia Press under the Unbearables imprint in 2013. Woods was the recipient of the 2014 Cobalt Prize for fiction and was a finalist (second nomination) for the 2014 Lambda Literary The Brooklyn Rail, Cleaver Magazine, and Quaint. Woods was the recipient of the 2009 Jerome Foundation award for emerging authors.

AIMEE HERMAN is a Brooklyn-based poet and performance artist looking to disembowel the architecture of gender and what it means to queer the body. Find Aimee’s poems in Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, in the full-length collection, to go without blinking, the recent chapbook, rooted, and in the full-length book of poems, meant to wake up feeling. Aimee is an adjunct professor at Bronx Community College and a faculty member with Poetry Teachers NYC.

TONIGHT: Night in the Naked City 3: An Evening of NYC Writers Writing About NYC

Join us for the 3rd annual celebration of New York Voices. There are 8 million stories in the Naked City – come hear 10 of them

Celebrate this badass city and its surrounding boroughs at Cornelia Street Cafe, located at 29 Cornelia St, NYC / 6-8pm / $8 (includes a drink!)


Eric Alter, Peter Carlaftes,Steve Dalachinsy, Thomas Fucaloro,Puma Perl, Fred Simpson, George Wallace, Aimee Herman (with Pancetta the ukelele), Matthew Hubert, and Jane Lecroy.

spring: (v) |spraNG| |sprəNG|

SPRING: ( to move or jump suddenly or rapidly upward or forward: spring 2  I sprang out of bed | figurative : they sprang to her defense. • move rapidly or suddenly from a constrained position by or as if by the action of a spring…..)

There is something to be said about sweeping Winter away in order to make room for the births.

Three months of trees practicing their nudist pose. Branches growing skinny from shiver. Humans housing all the layers they own from hoarded cotton, wool and synthetic threads.

Soon, we can remain outside longer than just to get from one building to another. Soon, we can dust off picnic baskets and unfold tank tops. Soon, we can remember what it is like to sweat because the sun is squeezing its gaze against your bare shoulders.

TONIGHT! A Very Special Poetically Charged Reading

great weather for MEDIA presents a sizzling evening of poetry and prose by Aimee Herman, Jane Ormerod, and Chavisa Woods at Bluestockings Bookstore located at 172 Allen Street in NYC @ 7pm.

There will be books for sale and words slung at you in all directions!

This is a FREE event!

Aimee Herman is a Brooklyn-based poet looking to disembowel the architecture of gender and what it means to queer the body. Find Aimee’s poems in The Outrider Review, nin journal, Wild Gender, Nerve Lantern, Lavender Review, EDUCE, Sous Les Paves, Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books), in the full-length collection, to go without blinking (BlazeVOX books), the recent chapbook, rooted, (Dancing Girl Press), and the recent full-length book of poems, meant to wake up feeling (great weather for MEDIA). Aimee is an adjunct professor at Bronx Community College as well as a faculty member with Poetry Teachers NYC, creating affordable creative writing workshops for those in search of a space to imagine. In addition, Aimee has been featured at Dixon Place’s Hot! Festival, The Fresh Fruit Festival, HOWL fest, and the Dumbo Arts Festival.

Jane Ormerod is the author of the full-length poetry collections, Welcome to the Museum of Cattle(Three Rooms Press, 2012), Recreational Vehicles on Fire (Three Rooms Press, 2009), the chapbook 11 Films (Modern Metrics/EXOT Books, 2008), and the spoken word CD Nashville Invades Manhattan. Jane’s work also appears in numerous US and international anthologies and journals including Have a Nice NYC (Three Rooms Press, 2012), Maintenant, Marsh Hawk Press Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ambush Review, Sparring with Beatnik Ghosts, AND / OR, and Waymark. She is a founding editor at great weather for MEDIA.

Chavisa Woods is the author of two books of fiction, The Albino Album (Seven Stories Press, distributed by Random House, 2013) and Love Does Not Make Me Gentle or Kind (Fly by Night Press, 2009). Chavisa was the recipient of the 2013 Cobalt Prize for fiction and was a finalist (second nomination) for the 2013 Lambda Literary Award for fiction. She has appeared as a featured author at such notable venues as The Whitney Museum of American Art, City Lights Bookstore, Town Hall Seattle, The Brecht Forum, The Cervantes Institute, and St. Mark’s Poetry Project. Her writing has appeared in such publications as The Evergreen Review, New York Quarterly, The Brooklyn Rail, Cleaver Magazine, and Jadaliyya. Chavisa was the recipient of the 2009 Jerome Foundation award for emerging authors, and is currently completing her third work of full-length fiction. great weather for MEDIA thanks Chavisa for her hard work as our 2015 guest prose editor.

Hope to see you there!

fell in love with wood, strings and fingertips

Dear Pancetta,

I purchased the first version of you in a small music shop in Cape Cod. We shared so many walks in Prospect Park where I’d hold you against my chest, which looked a lot different back then. You helped me find a slice of my voice that you harmonized to.

The second one of you was found in an even smaller shop in the west village where I had no idea I’d fall in love with a hybrid of you called banjolele. We had good times. Remember when we met that human peddling a recumbent bicycle in Washington Square Park. He listened to us softly sing together until I grew too shy to form words. He told us about his existence living in a commune in Staten Island and we almost took that ferry the following Friday to join up!

Pancetta #3, you are larger and I often bring you on stages and in bars where, even though you are underage, they still let you in. You’ve become like medicine for me, lifting my breaths to an audible moan when I am sad. You were an impulse buy, but perhaps the others before you were as well. You remind me to wake because you whisper your tunes in my ear. When I combine my fingers with your strings, I forget about all my scars.

Thank you for existing. All three of you and the others out there finding homes all over the world.

Love, Aimee.

Join Poetry Teachers NYC and Talk About Writing!

Poetry Teachers NYC is starting a FREE online monthly Q&A session to bring local and international writers together to share a poem, discuss editing techniques, performance styles, or a new favorite poet. It doesn’t matter where you are! We are using the magic of technology to bridge the gap between tolls, border crossings, plane rides and passport necessity. Just get on your computer and join in on the conversation!

All are welcome to participate. Feel free to email us at info@poetryteachersnyc.com with any questions! Look forward to meeting you soon!


Feel free to invite writers!

Link to Event: https://plus.google.com/events/cmfs21maa09ehonp7sca628p09o

an affair with books

She handed me a book and asked me to read it to her/ It had the color blue melted into it like an improperly hidden secret/ I read until I lost speech due to lost spit due to lost air/ swallowed before and after every word.


My thirteenth lover refused to read anything outside of cereal boxes or street signs. We would make love in silence, moving only one-third of our bones. When she kissed me, I alphabetized my book collection in my head. Reread Baudelaire and Cesaire while she flapped her tongue against mine like a drowning victim.

She had no idea I was cheating on her with the volumes of books inside my imagination. She had no idea that the small moans exiting my mouth were for Sexton and Rumi and Giovanni and Baldwin.

One day, I slipped a poem beneath her pillow, cut up from a book I found on a stoop during a walk without her one Spring.

She barely noticed it, except that when she woke, she did mention an infiltration of noise in her sleep.

Usually, she dreamed in mute and beige.

Soon after, we broke up due to the fact that kissing can only last so long before one aches for an index and bibliography. I left her for a writer who drank shots of ink and licked me with stained tongue. We wrote novels with our bodies. We made love on abandoned train tracks and defrosted the language of seventeen poets onto each other’s skin.

It only lasted a summer. Until I met a novelist. With a vocabulary stretching past seventy-three states.


MY DAD WROTE A BOOK or there is no deadline on starting again

Throughout my life, my dad and I have lifted metaphorical weights together to strengthen our imaginations. As a kid, we’d listen to old radio shows like The Shadow or Suspense! and allow our minds to get lost in the sound effects arriving from the tiny speakers of the radio. When we’d be driving somewhere, we’d make up our own stories, even creating voices for our characters.

He always encouraged me to be creative; this led me to become a poet without any thought of ‘a back-up plan’.

My father never encouraged me away from my dreams, even if they seemed too whimsical.

Almost every time we speak, he asks: Did you send any poems out today? Did you write?

At the age of almost 75, my father has a “six-pack” imagination. This led him to pen his very first novel. For years, he woke early or remained up late to write. In his mind, these words were for my sister and I; however, after reading it and being extremely riveted, I encouraged him to publish it.

My father has run companies, worked as a used car salesman, sold chocolate-shaped ties to department stores. He never imagined he’d write a book one day. Yet, he’s already begun writing another! We see someone over 70 and forget they still have life in them. We assume they are tired; we assume they have lived their dreams out already. How wrong we are…….

On April 15th, in Brooklyn, NY, I get to help celebrate this immense accomplishment with my dad, Martin Herman. If you are in the NYC or tri-state area, I encourage you to come as well. It will be an evening celebrating his new book, The Jefferson FilesThis book spans over a century and is a murder mystery historical fiction adventure starting with the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, a crime, a hidden diary, and an extremely curious and persistent college student.

Come join in on the celebration, which will also feature mixed media poet, Todd Anderson. There WILL B books for sale! Buy a copy. Buy two. Get one signed by this brand new author!

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

61 Local

61 Bergen Street, Brooklyn