Each time you try to understand how it got there, it changes shape. This eggplant. This deep winter storm sky on your left thigh. Color of your childhood bedroom before everything in you grew too dark to see. Maybe you fell in your sleep, emerged, all without remembering. The impact of dreams. Maybe your bones grew angry at your skin. A fight toward bruising. It would be beautiful if it wasn’t about a frozen blood clot. It could be an art exhibition. Ink blot or Rorschach investigation into mind. It could be a message from your knees. Your palms try to rub it away. This curious stain. This morse code of suffer. And in the morning when you wake, with ache on your fingertips, you look toward the bruise and it is gone.
Everyone else rubbed UV protectant onto skin, flirted shoulders with oncoming traffic and the wind while he walked to Prospect Park with suicide note and kerosene, giving himself back to the earth. There are days I think about setting my scars on fire to see what new shape I might melt into. There are days I grow numb trying to understand how far down the trees' roots go or why letters in an alphabet like LGBTQ make people so angry. Just yesterday, I breathed in eight million skin cells and the secret messages of squirrels. Everyone seems to be on a diet of hate these days; I just want to get through a day where tongues tie us into love letters not tombstones.
NIGHT IN THE NAKED CITY 6: Celebrating New York Poets @ Cornelia Street Cafe / 29 Cornelia St/ NYC 6pm-8pm $10 (which includes a drink)
I’m looking forward to reading a new poem and performing a new song about that time I met Lou Reed (what a dream) and he fondled my thumb. What a great line-up of poets: Eric Alter, Jane LeCroy, Steve Dalachinsky, Thomas Fucaloro, Obsidian, Puma Perl, George Wallace and Matthew Hupert (host, curator, and poet extraordinaire)
Let me start by saying that I always wanted to play the drums. But memory tells me that my mom/dad/both said: too loud, choose again. So I/they/none chose the clarinet. Upon reflection, it is a gorgeous instrument, which deserves far more respect than I gave it. But I wanted to play the drums and bash my palms against the rhythm. Gave up clarinet and found myself playing the only instrument I found myself actually good at………the radio.
Made a bunch of mixed tapes, figured out I could record I Love Lucy, A Different World, The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time on my tiny, black-and-white television onto a tape.
Cut to two decades later and I am playing an instrument again. Hello, ukelele.
Oh, one more thing. I’ve always wanted to be in a band. Like Green Day. Like Thompson Twins. Like ’til tuesday.
Then, David Lawton. And he said, hey, wanna? and here we are. And so is Zita Zenda. And of course, Starchilde.
We call ourselves……HYDROGEN JUNKBOX
Thank you to Kat Georges, of the marvelous three rooms press for taking this video.
HYDROGEN JUNKBOX PRESENTS: THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE
WHEN? Friday, February 16th Doors open 7pm/ Show promptly starts at 7:30pm
WHERE? Dixon Place 161 Chrystie St NYC
This show is FREE, but please support this excellent venue and purchase a drink or two.
Hydrogen Junkbox is a collective of poets and musicians looking to inspire, experiment and find new ways to rhythmically enhance poetry. They presents a night of NEW music and poetry exploring feminism, consent and the weaponry of words featuring very special guests: fantastic poet Liv Mammone and musician extraordinaire Davey Patterson.
HYDROGEN JUNKBOX IS:
Aimee Herman is a queer performance artist, teacher, poet, singer, ukulele player and cookie drum player.
David Lawton is a poet, actor, singer, ukulele player and cookie drum player. He is also co-editor of NYC small press great weather for MEDIA.
Starchilde plays synth, drums, and anything else you’ve got on hand. He makes magic with beats.
Zita Zenda is a director, poet and guitarist.
First published by great weather for MEDIA
Dear Holden Caulfield,
I lived inside your manic mind briefly, though long enough to feel hung-over and raw. There are good things, which come out of having terrible long-term memory. I forget endings of books, beginnings too. You won’t find me quoting movies or historical dates. I have gaps in my memory that I’ve simply grown accustomed to. Sometimes it’s better to forget; then, everything feels like an unexpected surprise.
So when I recently reread The Catcher in the Rye for the tenth+ time, I smiled and reacted to Salinger’s words as though I hadn’t digested them before. Of course, this is just like winter, right? Our bodies have to readjust to plummeting temperatures as though we’ve never felt negative degree Fahrenheit before. Snow—at least the first fall—is like an enchanted repainting of our landscape. We bury ourselves in it and slide down its slick ice. We create three-piece men with carrot noses out of its ingredients.
Everything that has existed can still have elements of surprise and newness.
I convinced myself my fractured memory was a fault, something to be embarrassed about. However, it allows me to find thrills in reruns. Forgetfulness has become like a cure for ennui.
There is simplicity in The Catcher in the Rye. There are no explosions or surprises. It’s kind of like a Frank O’Hara poem. We’re brought into the head of someone referencing people we don’t know, yet suddenly want to care about. Walking around New York City during hours I usually sleep through listening to jazz, drinking too much and searching for ways to feel alive.
I spent most of December too afraid of my blank imagination to write. Instead, I listened. I cried. I ate too much. I searched for meaning in the frigid air at Coney Island. Actually, Holden Caulfield came with me that day. It was Christmas. I was alone by choice and felt completely emptied of any tangible, creative thoughts. My mind was terribly, terribly dark. So I went toward the water because that is where the answers are. I could barely look up because the wind was so fierce and cold, but I listened to the music of the Atlantic, inhaling the salty air merged with Holden Caulfield’s alcoholic exhales. I collected shells and bought some stale donuts. I realized that sometimes what we write doesn’t always come out at the time we need it to, or in the way we want it. Each word is a shallot. A tiny onion with so many layers, that you sometimes need to keep peeling before its quite right.
When I finished the last page of Salinger’s book, I felt sad to leave Holden. I liked being in his head. Although it was in those last words that I became closer to finding my own. To being ready to try again. To write.
Sometimes, music comes in the form of a pill
a turquoise-and-white maraca of side-effects
and in its oblong, in its hard-to-swallow
you become who you were