Here are two poems I read at Parkside Lounge at an evening celebrating the great poet, John Sinclair.
Several years ago, a poet said to me: Write the poem that will get you in trouble. So, I immediately thought about the first time. Freshman year of high school. I was still practicing Sylvia Plath’s name on my tongue. I was falling in love with Bob Dylan and Lou Reed and I had enough sadness to melt the sun into a puddle of tears. I read a poem of mine in front of a room full of strangers during a school assembly. Teachers who did not know me started worrying for my life. The guidance counselor called me in. Everyone worried about me and my safety. Do you want to hurt yourself? Do you have a plan?
I had no idea the power of words until that moment. I didn’t exactly get in trouble, but I did get noticed.
There was that time I thought I hated men, so I wrote a poem that would taint my breath for years. It was one of the first poems I ever read at an open mic. Strangers called me angry.
The one I wrote about the only boy I ever loved. It didn’t get me in trouble, but those words haunted my palms for years.
I’ve written poems that have outed my sexuality, my identity, various jobs I’ve accrued that I’ve left off resumes. I was never looking to get into trouble. Instead, I just wanted to feel heard. Like that first time at the assembly when finally people started to see me.
Words clarify the blurriness of our existence.
I smuggle poems all the time: in my pocket, against my hips, stuck to my cracked heels. I’ve swallowed so many that I have a permanent ache in my gut. I’m not looking to harass anyone’s eyes or brains. I’m only looking to cause a commotion with your one-way thoughts. I want to twist your mind into questioning what you think has only one answer to.
OK, maybe I am looking into getting in just a little bit of trouble.
Writing is solitary. As it happens, there is no audience. It arrives. It is birthed, pushed, coughed, sneezed, puked out and then when (and if) one is ready, it is given away. Spoken off ledges, stages, bar stools and stoops.
I have a difficult making (and keeping) friends. I have a hard time remaining present and kind in relationships (this has dramatically changed). I don’t always know the proper way to exist.
I hate labels, though occasionally wear one to rip off and count the hairs pulled.
One label I do not mind inked into my battered wrist: poet.
On October 15th, I am so immensely pleased to celebrate some poems that were published in a book, meant to wake up feeling, pressed and ISBN’d by great great great weather for media.
I invite everyone to celebrate along with me at The Parkside Lounge located at 317 E. Houston St./NYC from 8-10pm. There will be books for sale!
I will be joined by Pancetta Bruschetta Rivera Herman III (the ukelele), the marvelously thought-provoking mixed-media superstar poet, Todd Anderson and the breathtakingly talented Staten Island band, Yeti.
Aimee Herman and Megan DiBello @ DUMBO Arts Festival, Brooklyn
Come to The Parkside Lounge today located at 317 E. Houston in NYC from 4-6pm for an open mic featuring the dynamic and magnificent Megan DiBello and I as we storm the stage with our collaborative poetics. This is a great performance series that happens every Sunday. They ask for a $2 donation and it is a 2 drink minimum (they have soda and coffee and tea if you are not inclined to drink). It is 21 and over.
A little about us:
Megan DiBello founded Poetry Teachers NYC in 2010. She holds an M.F.A from Naropa University, in Writing & Poetics and a B.A. from Marymount Manhattan College. Megan is also a Literacy Partners Volunteer Tutor. She has been published in Fact-Similie, Flanour Foundry, The Bathroom, & Monkey Puzzle Press. Megan has performed at theWhite Box Gallery, The Bowery Poetry Club, The HOWL Festival, The Socrates Sculpture Park, The Center of Book Arts, and the upcoming DUMBO Arts Festival. Her first hybrid book is entitled, Voyeur Without A Title
Aimee Herman is in the latest issue of The Understanding Between Foxes and Light. Aimee is also a faculty member with PTNYC and absolutely in love with creating spaces for other poets and creative folks to shed their own language. She is a marvelous poet who will crush your soul and feed it back to you.
$2 donation to this fantastic local press (They do this EVERY SUNDAY!). Two drink minimum (any drink–with or w/o booze attached)Open mic first. Bring your poems, your dissected words!I’m featured alongside Terri Muuss, who is the author of Over Exposed and former host of the Manhattan poetry series Poetry at the Pulse. As a motivational speaker, life coach and social worker, Muuss specializes in the use of the arts as a healing mechanism for trauma.