an excerpt from my book “meant to wake up feeling”

Books are meant to be read! So, read this short excerpt from my book, “meant to wake up feeling and then, buy the book to read the rest!       (feel free to leave a review!!!)

 

from “zoned body”:

 

those are not freckles

but dust

from convulsing stars

how to be a rebel

Scuff knees with the scent of tongue drapery and teeth ovation

Bury a bellow in the third mountain you climb and remove two twigs, a rock and the tip of your finger for emphasis

Place first name on griddle and burn the sounds away. You are now ________.

Pierce your wrists to one another as a statement of all the times you forgot to arrest yourself for _______ and definitely ________. Call your body a prison and your sentence:  life without parol.

Fondle a sentence in a book you’ve never heard of & then misquote it, knowing you are intentionally William S. Burroughs’ing it into a new configuration

Remain because all those others told you not to with their laws and restrictions, bans on marriage and placards and rallies against your body

Remain because of that time J. B. threw a three-piece dissected bee at you in seventh grade because you were inadequate and unformed

Remain because your body can be reintroduced to itself…..just watch

Hi

Hi

Don’t I know you from—-

No

a moment on your mouth.

I was asked to write about the state of your mouth.

(and by asked, I mean, compelled)

I was asked compelled to write about the state of your mouth and the adjectives that arrive are: earth-bound, orchestral, hungry, polite, southern, like a pastry.

I was compelled to write about the state of your mouth as though it is a kingdom. A nation of skin and exhales. A confederation of spit and jaws.

I was compelled to write about the state of your mouth as though it contained rivers, bicoastal oceans, twelve reservoirs and a creek to wade in.

Your mouth is a compilation of love letters.

Your mouth is a completed volume of encyclopedias, the kind delivered to one’s door and full of illuminating photographs and unchartered territories.

Your mouth is an unlocked secret.

Your mouth is a mailbox, delivering care packages full of rice crispy treats and home-baked cookies and licorice and books and black ink pens and decoder rings.

I was compelled.

I was enthralled.

I was deliberate.

When I signed up (without end date) to study the correspondence, the choreography of the movement of you.

WORKSHOP ALERT: Hey, all you WORD SLINGERS, let’s talk about writing!!!

Poetry Teachers NYC is excited to host another great workshop. This time, it doesn’t matter where you live. You don’t even need to get dressed!! Just sign up and sign on and join us.

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY: 12- 1:30pm 

SIGN UP NOW: https://www.poetryteachersnyc.com/product/lets-talk-form-w-dan-dissinger-aimee-herman-megan-dibello/

This two day online workshop (1.5hrs each day), will explore the language, style, and forms of our poems. Student will be encouraged to share their work and provide feedback to other participants. This class encourages Poets of all levels, because even though we all mature differently as Poets, with a supportive community of writers, we tend to grow more confidently. Not only will we write and workshop our poems, but we will also be looking at texts from, Claudia Rankine’s Citizen” and Dodie Bellamy’s TV Sutras, amongst others. This class will challenge you to maneuver, speak your words, pose questions about what succeeds, and what may need more bones.

Be ready to not only sharpen and/reawaken your creative selves, but to become part of a growing community of supportive artists.

We look forward to meeting you!

Notes:

1. We will email everyone the link to the class the day of, so be sure to check your email. If you have any questions please email us: info@poetryteachersnyc.com
2. Make sure your computer has a had a recent Flash update
3. Make sure your computer has a camera and audio for the class

what do you live for?

(Inspired by my students. Inspired by the writers who don’t even know they are writers, until they write.)

*

I live for that line. The combination of words that, when placed together, shake and stir minds. Knowing words are already there, waiting and breathing. Bones breaking and forming until. Until I pluck them from books or mouths and create a combination that unlocks everything.

I live for the moment all my veins and twists make sense to me. The moment my body speaks back in a dialect I can finally understand.

I live for my father, who never closed his door to me, even when I was at my worst.

I live for the book I haven’t read yet.

I live for the books I haven’t written yet.

I live for the moments I have yet to experience. And the art I’ve yet to see. And the border crossings I’ve yet to cross.

I live for my passport, which one day I will fill up.

I live to free the parts of me I have put on hold. To give them time and space to speak up. To give my body and mind a chance to re-introduce itself.

Yeah. I live for that.

what fruit are you?

On the 4 train headed toward Utica, Brooklyn, I look up and notice an ad.

How to describe what should never be described? How to describe an advertisement that shames bodies and attempts to capitalize on a woman’s parts? How to imprint media’s peer pressure module to coax a woman to…..

OK.

For the low, low, CRAZY price of $3,900.

White woman in white tank top holds two clementines between white fingers against chest.

MADE IN NEW YORK, it says.

Same white woman in white tank top holds two grapefruit, one in each white hand, against chest.

“For other body modification, we also do liposuction, tummy tucks and Brazilian buttock lifts,” reads small print.

In the first photo with the clementines, the white woman is frowning. Her mouth is turned toward the floor as though an invisible wire had been threaded into each lip, causing it to droop.

In the second photograph with the grapefruit, the white woman is proudly showing off her white teeth. Her smile is large. Large like her breasts. After calling the phone number.

After emailing for more information.

After making an appointment and heading into the clinic to be cut into and accentuated.

I stare at this ad and then look around me to see if anyone else is noticing what I am noticing. How is this an emblem of NEW YORK, where we are a “melting pot” of so many types of bodies and minds and backgrounds and emotions.

Why would any of us want to pay the low, low CRAZY price of $3,900 to have a floatation device on our chests?

(That said, for anyone reading this, my intention is not to shame or dig at those who have chosen a breast enlargement. That is your right and your body and your money. I just think about how advertisements are crafted and the thoughts these images can leave us with.)

*

When I was in seventh and eighth grade, I stuffed my bra.

That’s not one-hundred percent accurate. I stuffed my undershirt, because I didn’t wear a bra until I was in high school.

My chest was flat like Delaware. Like North Dakota. Like the table I eat my breakfast, lunch, dinner on. My best friends called me: Mosquito Bites because…..(well, I think you get it).

I wanted a chest because they had a chest and so did Janet Jackson, who I had a deep crush on (a crush that extended to her brother, Michael as well).

I wanted a chest because I thought if I didn’t have one, something was wrong with me.

Because of Media. MTV. Billboards. Basically everyone around me telling me what a “woman” should like like.

This is what I was thinking about, upon seeing this advert on the subway.

I was also thinking that I certainly have altered my appearance to look/feel a certain way.

Would I pay the low, low, CRAZY price of $3,900 for any of these changes?

Every month, I dye my hair from what used to be titled dirty blond, to RED. I pay anywhere from $6-$12 for various tubes and developers.

That’s……..it.

When I first noticed this ad, I thought: What fruit would I want against my chest?

Kiwi? Lychee? Grape?

There is no hidden meaning to this ad and perhaps that is why I feel so impelled to write on it. Small breasts make you sad; big tits will make you happy.

How many other people have looked at this ad and wondered about their inadequacies? How many people eyeing this suddenly wondered if the fruit beneath their shirts were no longer good enough?

How many people?

How many other ads are just like this on other trains, over highways, interrupting television shows and in magazines?

How many?

What fruit are you?

what it is to lose

When I was thirty-four, I lost my mind. It had been ten years since the last time, and I found myself ransacking my bedroom for the map—torn up and burnt—which would guide me toward my bearings.

Outside, the air was gathering up its new identity. Its nametag of Winter had been removed and thrown away; it was now calling itself Spring. The yellow daffodils, though beautiful, were just confusing to me. All I could see and feel was emptiness.

The last time, which was not the first time, I was twenty-four.Aimee Herman hair

The first time, which may have not been the first, was when I was newly sixteen.

I have lost my wallet once, dropped during a bike ride in Boulder, Colorado. But a considerate Samaritan returned it to me, several hours later. They knocked on my front door and handed it to me.

I lost my favorite red scarf somewhere in the Museum of Natural History during the first week of January. Then, I found it near the photo booth by the bathrooms. A few months later, I lost it for good somewhere in the halls of a community college.

Losing a mind is tricky. You can’t exactly retrace your steps or ask a friend to ask their friends to keep an eye out for it. You certainly can’t put up fliers or ask the subway conductor to make an announcement:

“EXCUSE ME, PASSENGERS, A LOST MIND, WEIGHING IN AT ABOUT THREE POUNDS WAS LAST SEEN IN CROWN HEIGHTS, BROOKLYN WEARING A NAVY BLUE SHIRT. PLEASE CONTACT LOCAL AUTHORITIES IF YOU LOCATE THIS MIND.”

When I lost my mind at sixteen, my mother found me. I was sliced up and unconscious. My mind slowly crawled its way out of my body. I was gathered up and sent to stay in a hospital for twenty-one days.

I was confused how I would retrieve my mind in a place that caused me to lose it even further. It grew blurry and the signal was weakening. I was around others that encouraged me to remain lost. I was given tiny capsules to swallow that slurred my mind into curious shapes. My appetite, that I coveted, was lost as well. It simply vanished, leaving me bony, translucent and weak.

Six years ago, I lost a brown, corduroy cap, which I had borrowed from my then-girlfriend. I left it somewhere between a thrift store dressing room and a bike ride throughout downtown Denver. That night, when I told her of this loss, she cried. It had been in her life for a long time, with memories stitched into the fabric, visible only to her. She asked me to go and look for it. By then, it was nighttime and all the lights had been turned off, but I jumped on my bike and began retracing my steps. I begged the moon to point me toward the direction of this hat, but it was barely a sliver of light that night. When I got home, we mourned the loss of her hat and slept in silence.

When I lost my mind at thirty-four, it was due to various factors colliding. It felt like a gang-bang of bad news. I had lost my partner, then my therapist, and the dark in me was growing like persistent ivy all throughout my body. I could feel my sense of direction weakening. Food, which once gave me such pleasure, was making me sick. I couldn’t chew. My skin was beginning to show imprints of my wandering mind. My white skin with old scars was turning red with new scars. My tongue was no longer being utilized and my spit dried up. I may have stopped swallowing; what was there to swallow?

One day, on my thirty-fourth year, I awoke deciding to no longer search for it. My mind was gone and I could feel myself slowly slink away, like a snake slithering out of its skin. But I was not looking to regrow anything. Instead, I was ready to disintegrate.

When I was somewhere between eight and ten, I lost a moccasin in a brook behind my best friend’s house that we weren’t allowed to wander in, so I couldn’t tell anyone of my loss. I can’t remember how I explained my arrival that night with one bare foot. I can’t recall if anyone even noticed.

When I lost my mind, no one asked me if I wanted help looking for it. People don’t tend to talk about this kind of loss.

I got it back. My mind. My skin of scars. No more new ones though. I’ve given up on the pills, so I’m free from the side effects. I’ve got my appetite and my voice back. I wouldn’t say I feel complete ease that I’ll never lose track of my mind, but I’ve hoarded enough maps to make sure I’ll at least find my way back to it sooner, if it tries to bail again.