virginia woolfs down
the weight of blue salt water,
new room of her own
the weight of blue salt water,
new room of her own
Dear Writers. Dear Artists. Dear Music Makers. Dear Scientists. Dear Teachers. Dear Humans who recognize that it is not always easy to exist in this world.
So, years ago I met a magical beam of light called Peggy Dyer. She is a photographer, teacher, yogi, friend, inspirational rainbow.
I can spend chapters telling you all about her magic, but this is not about that. This is about helping her get her home back.
She is asking for a little help. We all need it eventually, so we might as well do what we can to connect each other. Here are her words:
7 years ago I was homeless, living out of my 1983 Toyota Dolphin. Life has been an extraordinary adventure these past several years finding my way back to my feet.
5 years ago this lovely little cottage became home through the generosity of some friends. I’ve managed to bring it all back together, my business is back on track and I’ve had the great fortune over these past few years to continue to make my living as a photographer, teacher and continuing my healing community project, One Million Faces.
Just when things were leveling out, a completely unexpected encounter left me on the verge of homelessness again. The encounter was one of love, and of course a love that was founded upon faith and trust, and it was undeserved and I fell and fell hard and as a result I nearly lost my stability again.
Now I have an opportunity to purchase my tiny home, and there’s a deadline and I need a little help from all my friends to get the down payment together by May 1st.
Through my art that I love and give my entire being to, I invite people to share their messages with the world, to speak their truth. I love watching people light up and I shine most when I’m creating art and community at the same time.
But now I speak my truth and am asking my community to help me purchase my permanent home, to make this dream come true for me.
|Event Type:||Poetry and storytelling (FREE!)|
|Event Date and Time:||
April 13, 2016
7:30 PM – 8:30 PM
An evening of music, comedy, dancing, performance art & theatre celebrating LGBTQ performers. In April, Queer Art Organics will feature Trae Durica, Charlotte Marchant & John J. Trause.
161A Chrystie Street
New York, NY 10002
A scraping of light can be seen from the distance. Everyone else calls it moon’s glow, but she knows better.
“Restless Death Syndrome,” she whispers to her lover who looks quite similar to the others who came before.
“W-what might that be?”
“Cadavers of dreams. You know, like….archaic fiddle tunes.”
She collects ribcage and spine, thighs and distended belly into what could be described as a tightened fist, and rolls over without comment. She removes one part [of body] in order to make room for what was always there.
“Long tailed hopping mouse,” she moans. “Japanese river otter. Elephant bird. Mascarene coot. Sassafras Hesperia.”
Suddenly, she is engulfed in the flames of her tears. Third degree burns singeing her blood.
first published by great weather for MEDIA
You have a difficult time committing to your reflection.
On a Friday, you notice the posture of your neck and you want to file a restraining order against the skin which has begun to rebel in a grilled-cheese-melting-out-of-the-bread sort of way.
Eight months ago, you gave away your full-length mirror to the woman around the corner who said it had “been awhile since she had taken notice of her bottom parts.” Now, sometimes you miss knowing the exact pattern of your cellulite behind your thighs.
You wish your hair was shorter. Straighter, yet more queer. You imagine it darker. Lighter. Streaked like the young ones do. When you walk, before all the passing windows remind you otherwise, you imagine yourself more boyish, younger, less crumpled.
You are eighteen, when you fall in love for what you think is the first time and decide to add another hole to your body. You pierce your eyebrow to match hers. She wears thick rings, several at a time. You are still figuring out the blur of your identity, so you do the same. Your skin is not strong enough to handle the weight, so the skin flap covering the jewelry gets thinner and thinner. Then, one day after a fight with her or yourself (who remembers), you rip the rings out. You don’t remember blood; you barely remember her now.
You often forget to clip your toenails. You have a difficult time remembering your body that far down.
If this were a movie, your love match would look at all your scars and ask for the stories. While Arcade Fire played in the background. Or Devotchka. Or Boy George. You’d point and lift and reveal as though this were a moment of foreplay. As though your scars are sexy. As though each pale slur is a love letter or romantic elegy.
Your teeth remind you of your adolescent rebellion. You wish you had an addiction to floss, and not to late night jelly beans. You told a lover once that you used to wear braces. They were convinced you meant on your legs.
“What do you mean you’re an atheist? Clearly you’re a Jew. I mean, your nose.” This was spoken by a co-worker. Or lover. It might have been a student. Or a cashier at the corner bodega. You never let anyone touch it. For years, you feared it was unstable and could collapse at any time. I mean, the drugs. I mean, the smells of trauma you collected in there.
The truth is, you like your nipples, even though they are over-dramatic and highly caffeinated. You just wish they lived on top of a mole hill, rather than a mountain.
You can’t really remember much about the state of your vagina. (See stanza three). You feel the hair, when you’re in the mood to touch yourself. You know it’s appropriately sized. You know about its unconfirmed mood and anxiety disorder. You still don’t know how to approach it.
You are eleven. Or twelve. Maybe ten. Your orthodontist, who had a fetish for onions and rubber, yells at your small lips. “I need you to open wider,” he growls. You tell him you are making the largest circle you can and that if he is insistent on mouth-shaming, he should speak to your mother who gave them to you.
A magazine tells you that those who are most symmetrical are considered beautiful. All you can think of are butterflies. You learn from several lovers that your breasts are not the same. And that one thigh seems fatter than the other. And your hair grows longer on one side. And even your nostrils are not proportionate. You want to know why balance is so desired. Even uniforms have flaws. You grow tired trying to figure out ways to even yourself out.
On a Saturday, you are laying naked against a woman who asks you what your favorite body part on yourself is. You remain silent for what feels like three and a half days, but she is patient. She alphabetizes her list and you start to panic that you cannot even think of a bone on your body you don’t feel infuriated toward. Finally, you say, “my back” because you’ve forgotten what it looks like. Because your mirror is too tall to even see it. Because you’ve stopped turning around. She smiles, pleased that you had decided on something. Some part of you which you could call beautiful or at least preferred.
Your internet is down, so there is nothing left to do but count all the moles on your body. You give them names like Pre-cancerous and Harold. You connect them, creating shapes on your flesh. Your forearm looks like a heart monitor, rising and falling. Your thighs have flat-lined. You find three-quarters of the alphabet on your face. Some people call them beauty marks, but they just look like potholes to you. Punctuation marks. Reminders of how little you protect yourself.
It is evening and the air is roasted dark. You know it’s still there, but you cannot see it. You lay on your hands, so you cannot feel around. You can hear the nearby hissing of your mirror, two rooms away. You feel words on your tongue, keeping you up. You try to swallow them, but they are dry and thick. Gristle. When you sleep, you dream of symmetry. Of calendars. Of paved roads. Here, in the night, is when you get to leave your reflection behind. Here, is when you are everything else and nothing, before you become what you always were in the morning, when the sun wakes.
Sometimes we pick up a book at the exact moment when those words were truly meant to be read.
Last summer, the inspirational oil painter in Seattle called Lindsay, reminded me of a writer called Richard Brautigan. I asked Lindsay to recommend one of his books to me and after reading that (The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966), I couldn’t stop myself from reading more of his prose and poetry.
Since then, I have been writing letters. To Richard. On pieces of paper, receipts, blank pages in books I happen to be reading, in my notebook, on benches, on the palm of my hand when there is nothing else and I don’t want to forget my words to him.
These letters are sometimes inspired by his words, but often they are just a one-way conversation about what I may be thinking at the time: death, loss, love, poverty, gender dislocation, an old crosley radio, a stolen meditation pillow and the moon.
On Tuesday, March 29, I will present some of these letters alongside the brilliantly marvelous singer/songwriter/magical wonder called Rivky.
WHERE? Dixon Place located at 161 Chrystie St./ NYC
Dear Richard Brautigan is an epistolary musical adventure to the Beat writer from one poet to another on how to remain; how to be human amidst the traumas of war; gender dislocation; shattered love & expired lives.
Aimee Herman is a genderqueer writer, performance poet & teacher with two full length books of poems.
Rivky Gee cherishes her Yiddish roots & is seen performing for those on the periphery & in the underground Hassidic culture. Rivky’s work fuses together the new &the old world in the way that only NYC allows, in its effortless & electrifying contrapositions.
What is it like to date in new york city? Tonight, I grab my ukelele and some memories and tell you about it. Alongside some incredible poets and writers, celebrating what it is to be a writer in new york city!
Come to Cornelia Street Cafe located at 29 Cornelia Street /NYC at 6pm on March 25th.
$9 entrance (includes a beverage)
|Friday, Mar 25 – 6:00PM
NIGHT IN THE NAKED CITY 4: WISDOM WEARS NO CLOTHES
Eric Alter; Peter Carlaftes; Steve Dalachnsky; Thomas Fucaloro; Aimee Herman; Matthew Hupert; Jane Lecroy; Puma Perl; and George Wallace
4 is the number of the Emperor4 is the number of Wisdom
Hear wisdom & wit
from Poets of the Empire State