Upcoming reading

NEURONAUTIC INSTITUTE PRESENTS…….

Poetry in Zoomland…..April 22nd at 7pm EST

featuring:

Aimee Herman

Nicca Ray

Mike Topp

Hosting and curated by Matthew Hupert

I am looking forward to reading poems I haven’t written yet. I hope you join me. There is also an open mic!

This is a great monthly reading series that used to be housed at KGB bar in NYC. Due to the pandemic KGB and so many other venues that have supported and encouraged poetry over the years is really struggling. Below is a link to donate (if you are able):


https://fundly.com/literary-landmark-kgb-bar-nyc-aid

This reading will be streaming live on FB LIVE the NeuroNautic Institute / NeuroNautic Press page
(https://www.facebook.com/NeuroNautic-Institute-Neuronautic-Press-109548260772346/)

this is how to remove yourself from a body

Thank you to Kendra Allen and The Boiler for choosing my poetic essay for runner-up for The Boiler Prize. The Boiler is a great, online journal that celebrates creative work that “turns up the heat, whistles, and stands up to pressure.”

A little about this poem. I keep going back to a moment in a classroom with a teacher who told me to move on from writing about the body. Clearly I must have other things to write about, no? What I tell my students is that sometimes we have to keep writing about the same thing until it feels like it has said all it needs to say. We never tell people to stop writing about love. I mean, aren’t there enough love poems to last us another few centuries? Love takes on all sorts of shapes, smells, attitudes, textures, after-tastes. There is no ONE WAY of love.

So here is my body. It is over forty years old and I barely know it. I know I have mistreated it. I know I forget to ask it what it needs, wants. I have difficulty forgiving it. That is to say, I have difficulty forgiving myself. My body and I are strangers, therefore, the writing of it continues. By writing about my body, I am learning it as it is forgiving me.

There are stories inside my body I am afraid of. They are impolite and not exactly appropriate as conversational interludes. Sometimes I think about cutting up the years off my body, but I’ve got enough potholes, and even what haunts me makes me me. No?

So as my therapist has been suggesting and encouraging me: let go of metaphors and just say it. But I’ve still got retraining to do.

For instance, I am sad most days. This pandemic has given me an excuse to play hide n-go seek with myself. Wait. That looks like a metaphor. Let me try again. This pandemic has given me an excuse to be alone, to isolate. Most days, I wait for the clock to tell me the day is over.

I digress. If you are still reading, what I am trying to say is: there is no story inside the body that doesn’t deserve a voice, a notebook to scream into, a place to exhale all its blood and shiver. I am still forming. I am still deciding who I am. I am still removing myself from this body, sometimes. I am still learning how to survive being in it.

Read more here: THE BOILER

Did you know……birds fall silent in the mechanical sea?

great weather for MEDIA is celebrating their newest anthology and I get to join them tonight, as I read my short story published in their anthology, Birds Fall Silent in the Mechanical Sea.

Wednesday, September 25th: great weather for MEDIA book party
61 Local / 61 Bergen St. in Brooklyn 
7-9pm
Also featuring: Matthew Hupert, Steve Dalachinsky, Yuko Otomo, Billy Cancel, Isa Guzman, Oliver Baer, Tatyana Muradov, and Erik Richmond.

A “Hairy” Performance at Muffins Variety Show!!

It’s been a loooong time since I’ve done any sort of performance art, but I dug into my musty suitcase of handmade costumes and I am excited to perform a movement, Burlesque’y, drag, political, (what other words can I use to describe this so you will come), funny, silly, sexy piece at:

MUFFINS IN THE WINDOW, NYC’s longest-running variety show.

When? Thursday, June 20th at 7:30pm sharp!

Where? Dixon Place located at 161 Chrystie St in NYC

Also featuring: Trae Durica (swoon), Lambie, Ethan Cohen, and Wae Messed.

 

June 6th….a reading from “Everything Grows”

Looking forward to being a guest at St Francis de Sales Catholic Church on Thursday, June 6th to read from “Everything Grows“. The event begins at 7pm.

St Francis de Sales Catholic Church

135 East 96th Street

New York, NY 10128

Books available for sale at event. Light refreshments will be served.

Suggested donation – $10 cash only (proceeds benefit Ali Forney Center)

(just) visiting?

You are in your body. The simplest sentence with the most complicated meaning. You are never in your body.

The room is packed full of spandex and sweat, prayer flags and meaningful art, tattoos and body hair. You kindly ask your muscles to wake, knowing they’ve been in a slumber for months (maybe years).

The teacher begins with Mary Oliver and you realize you are in the right place at the right time for the first time in over four years.

Oliver wrote, “When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder/if I have made of my life something/particular, and real./I don’t want to find myself sighing and/frightened,/or full of argument./I don’t want to end up simply having visited/this world.”

Whenever you do yoga, it’s like you are on a first date with your body. You are tentative, yet bold. You want to push, you want to run away with this body that is suddenly impressing you, you want to hide.

The teacher reminds you to breathe. You wonder how long it has been since you’ve let your lungs free.

You contemplate the particularities of your life. Are you just visiting? What is the shape of it? How involved are you, really? Are you just visiting?

So you empty your pockets. Words fall out and you decide to create a cut-up of your meandering thoughts. Your brain is like a puzzle and you’ve been wondering for years if one piece is missing.

You think about that young person you saw yesterday, her arms covered in travel stamps. You feel dizzy trying to conjure up where you are actually from, where home is, the antonym of visitor.

When the class is over, your eyes are blurry. Your entire being feels wrung out. You run into someone you used to know when you used to be someone else. She tells you she has absolutely nothing to complain about. You want to ask her what it feels like to feel this way.

Maybe you are just visiting. Maybe you have never left. Maybe you have never remained.

Later, you walk into the rain and feel the drench of mountain juice on your skin, as the sky turns fourteen shades of blue and green and it feels like a song you used to sing or one you’ve been thinking about writing.

How to be Uncomfortable

If you want to be uncomfortable, try on a brassiere at a store where the lighting in the dressing room reminds you every mistake you ever made.

Sew every inch of muscle and taste bud you castrated off your tongue because (at the time, you thought) biting it was better than making someone else uncomfortable or mad. Sometimes it is necessary to lose all your friends in order to stand up for the most important person in your life: you.

Break up with your therapist because you are finally learning how to take care of   Because you want to. Because it is not working out. Because unfortunately your bank account is on a juice cleanse and even $10 a week feels like  Because you are learning how to comfort your soul through meditation and contemplation and sometimes you just need to take a break from psychotherapy.

Share your art with strangers.

Share a meal with strangers.

Tell the truth. Recognize how often you don’t.

Travel to a land you used to know and relearn it as the person you are now.

Dear Universe (A Manifesto)

first published by great weather for MEDIA

 

Dear Universe, I want a full-time teaching job and at least two closets in my apartment and a complete understanding of the difference between effect and affect.

That time I asked my students to stare at each other for sixty seconds (insert laughter, discomfort and a continuous need to look away) and my student, who tried so hard to share his eyes with me, kept whispering how hard it is to look at someone who isn’t speaking. And when we shared our experiences afterward, I asked him the color of my eyes; he said silver. Dear Universe, I want to see the shiny in me too.

Dear Universe, when did you tell me that none of this would end, that brains congeal and there is only so much a scalpel can remove?

Dear Universe, I haven’t quite mastered the pronunciation of marriage and have decided to live alongside the Hadza to learn the importance of telling time through the movement of sky. Maybe I prefer monogamy with things that glow like Lyra or birds with indigestion.

I used to collect ants; scooped them up like cake crumbs and spelled out prayers with their slow-moving bodies. Dear Universe, can religion be that simple?

Dear Universe, when my ribs were the only cage I climbed into. Yes, can we go back to that?

One night when I ran out of things to hold, I gulped down enough street signs to make me feel like I understood what I was doing. Cut my tongue on their sharp edges and I still got lost. Dear Universe, my belly contains a GPS but it always brings me back to where I am afraid of going.

Dear Universe, there is a mouse living inside my oven, so I haven’t cooked anything proper in months. I rolled up a poem and set it on fire hoping the ashes of words would lead it elsewhere. Like that time I read Vera Pavlova and she led me out of that mental hospital. Sometimes we just need an extra map to free ourselves from borrowed kilns or bone breaks.

I want a backyard to plant dandelions and hyaloclastite. Universe, can you give me some land to roam against?

Somehow my wrists slipped their way out of midnight and I am collecting sharps again. Like a brushfire. Like a tic-tac toe board of blood and guts. Dear Universe, I don’t need any more band-aids; it’s surgery time.

Remember when guns sprayed water instead of organs? I left the country of my body because my passport expired and I lost the code to get in. Dear Universe, can you leave the back door open?

Catharsis

Thank you to Kofi Forson for such excellent, thought-challenging questions, when he interviewed me recently for GAINSAYER. Below is an excerpt. Click HERE for full article! 

In Conversation with Aimee Herman

on March 10, 2017 at 11:40 pm

Post-Inaugural Women’s March of 2017 set off a redirect in me first as an example of the post-popularizing of male id-ism and the resistance from women the world over. Aimee Herman, Brooklyn-based performance artist, poet, and educator, widely published in journals and anthologies including cream city review, BOMB, nerve lantern, Apogee and Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books), along with her several chapbooks.

We talk in search of an understanding of the appropriation, politicizing of profanity, confessional female lit and language as orgiastic and cathartic.

Kofi Forson: With respect to the new feminist how does she honor Michelle Obama as a sign of progress and maintain her sexual independence using for example Annie Sprinkle as inspiration?

Aimee Herman: I absolutely love that you are mentioning Annie Sprinkle and Michelle Obama in the same sentence. There are so many versions, flavors, and shapes to what a feminist is. A feminist as first lady. A feminist as sex worker. A feminist as educator. When we talk about language, it’s important to make room for as many interpretations as we can. And through these interpretations, it is just as important to question the meaning and significance behind these words. As I joined the thousands of humans marching in New York City, with my protest sign raised high, I took in the clever artistry of words and images everyone screamed out on cardboard. I thought about why we were all there. Now more than ever, we are fighting for more things than we can fit on these placards. We are defending our genitalia, our gender, our sexuality, our race, our class, our future. It’s frightening. And yet, I am empowered by the volume raised on so many voices. Of course there is that realization that our volume should have been raised this entire time.