I purchased the first version of you in a small music shop in Cape Cod. We shared so many walks in Prospect Park where I’d hold you against my chest, which looked a lot different back then. You helped me find a slice of my voice that you harmonized to.
The second one of you was found in an even smaller shop in the west village where I had no idea I’d fall in love with a hybrid of you called banjolele. We had good times. Remember when we met that human peddling a recumbent bicycle in Washington Square Park. He listened to us softly sing together until I grew too shy to form words. He told us about his existence living in a commune in Staten Island and we almost took that ferry the following Friday to join up!
Pancetta #3, you are larger and I often bring you on stages and in bars where, even though you are underage, they still let you in. You’ve become like medicine for me, lifting my breaths to an audible moan when I am sad. You were an impulse buy, but perhaps the others before you were as well. You remind me to wake because you whisper your tunes in my ear. When I combine my fingers with your strings, I forget about all my scars.
Thank you for existing. All three of you and the others out there finding homes all over the world.
I have given away my yell. Do you know how often I swallow seeds made of improper chokes? What‽ Let me pause a moment and rip up the shards of filament groping my tonsils.
Rebel, no one can be trusted these days, so I must speak to you in metaphor. Therefore, I’ve disconnected the wires holding me down like a well-trained dominatrix. These wires once connected me to you. And the one in Florida. And the music maker somewhere in Canada. And how is anyone going to know what I am eating now or angry about?
More importantly, how will I know how LIKED I am if there is no thumb beside my words to press and remind me I am good.
Rebel, I play my ukelele and title chords I don’t know the names of. One is titled G-invert. Another is called C misbehaves and walks, slowly, out of the room.
Rebel, when I play these chords, no one is listening but the mice hiding inside the walls of this Brooklyn apartment. Or the 3 year-old who lives with his folks on the top floor and he just may knock and ask to sit beside me. What I am trying to say is that this music is echoing like instrumental dust into my rooms and no one is telling me to continue. No one is telling me I am out of tune.
So…..if we do not share our latest WIN or fancy MEAL, does it still exist? Did it really happen?
Rebel, how many friends do you have. Now, write that number down. Tell me their middle names. And can you list their allergies and what pills they prefer. Do you know which ones used to be happy and which ones are visiting versions of “god” each week to find the answers? Now when you have that number down, how many of those friends have seen your home? How many of them know what keeps you indoors sometimes. How many have you shared a meal with or pot of tea?
We seem to be collecting friends these days. Last week, I overheard someone say:
I have 400 likes! And I’m nearing a thousand friends! Hashtag (#) LUCKY! (This was all spoken)
Rebel, I have a friend who lives in Minnesota who (sometimes) sits beside me when I poem; this friend is you. I have a friend in Brooklyn who has fed me when I cried so hard my body lost track of all its salt. It could only bend and barely stand. WAIT……
What defines “friend?”
Social media confuses us to believe a friend is someone who LIKES our outbursts. But how many of them rub our backs when we are engulfed in panic. How many will warm up a meal because rent removed all the money from skinny bank account and nourishment is just as necessary as breathing.
Rebel, I told someone something and they told some others to get more LIKES and now I fear that this earth has turned into a giant game of telephone.
Things are becoming twisted like intricate tree branches and perhaps I was born in the wrong time period. Perhaps I was meant to live in a time when privacy was encouraged, and not a hinderance from making “connections” with others.
Will I disappear if I stop pressing things onto computer screens?
Will people forget I am a poet? Will I forget I am a poet? Will the humans forget I am here?
Rebel, I am battling the war of privacy in my head. Here, within this screen, I feel ok. I know you are reading. And so is my Dad. And maybe my pen pal.
I promise never to include a LIKE button. I want to remove the LIKE button and ask that you share words. Images. Questions. Or if you like something, let it push you outside. Let it call your friend so you can share your thoughts with them through voice contact. Let it tear out a piece of paper that you can fill up with your unraveled letters.
We are spending too much time on these screens. And not enough time with the humans who give us something to respond to.
I’m looking forward to cracking open some words and seeing what exists inside the guts….
Join me in the community room on the third floor of the Suffern Village Hall. Located at 61 Washington Avenue in Suffern, NY.
Doors and sign-ups will open at 7:30 PM; poetry will start at 8:00 PM.
Poems, amazing people, fun, and delicious food and drink. And books for sale!
I am excited to be part of MAKE MUSIC NEW YORK! A celebration of summer and sounds. I will be performing ukelele-drenched poems alongside Barbara Ann Branca, Matthew Hubert, and Robert Gibbons from 6-9pm. There will be an open mic as well!
Come to Fort Tryon Park / Washington Heights/Inwood for music and poetry starting at 2pm
It happens sometimes. Our eyes gather up steam from the humans we house our bodies beside. There are the ghosts of those who claimed us first and led us to learn what we like and need. All of the movements on our skin are evidence of these loves and all the books read and songs sung and diagnoses and dreams.
Seven years ago, I took notice of my cervix on a small television screen in a clinic in Boulder, Colorado. It took many years before I could find the instrumentation of that trauma.
Seventeen years of falling in love. Each time different. Each human a different shape, gender, gathering of cells and stories. Each time louder and sturdier and what happens when you leave behind one for another.
On the day before Valentine’s Day on a snowy Thursday, I gathered up my ukelele and held my neck up by double-windsor tie. Took a deep breath and poem’d on the logistics of letting go and the memory of pixelated loves. At The Inspired Word Stuck on Cupid: St. Valentine’s Poetry/Music Show.
this poem is for all the ones who let me love them and the one(s) I still search for.
Here is an experimental poem I’ve been working on. Spliced in a bit of Prince as well. And my uke.
I think about love so often, I wonder if it is the reason my lungs have recently staged a collapse. Now, I own an inhaler, offering up steroids to my breath canal. I am still searching for my voice and love and ways in which I can understand both.
clouds drip away from the sun/ crowd of branches like/ skinny shivers of/ summer’s left behind. One does not needto travel six hours to arrive at an end, but there is something about this clean air that allows room to gasp away these ghosts in my luggage.
On a Saturday night, a human with hair hungry like mine, screams out the intoxicated wails of alligators, drunk on the lust of wine.
I sing about home, harmonizing with the experimental strums of ukeleles and guitar chords.
There is so much beauty in being alone. And this does not need to be about loneliness. In fact, I am surrounded by an audience of stimulants. That grass darting out from beneath layers of snow like green, spiky freckles. That sexy hippie at food co-op. The flavor of this farmer’s market feast. This laughter, contagious and marvelous. An unzipped secret from front pocket because the space is safe now and so are the ones beside me.
On a Monday, I gather inside a room full of queers and activists. I share a story from my past, no longer present but still a part of me. Suddenly, there is a dialogue. Embrace of collarbones and tears. This is why we speak. This is why we create. This is why we travel.
This is an excerpted piece entitled, “Dear Freud”, from a magical evening fusing various poets, musicians and artists together into one room to celebrate the magic of poetry and sound. It was at the Pomegranate Gallery in NYC, put together by Poetry Teachers NYC.
I am so proud to be a part of Poetry Teachers NYC, which is an organization interested in creating spaces for creative folks to perform, translate, and represent their own versions of language. We host poetry workshops and performance series all over NYC. Our next workshop will be through Bowery Arts & Sciences. Our workshops will consist of 3 Teachers: Dan Dissinger, Aimee Herman, and Megan DiBello. We will focus on a student Reviving old work, Reacting to other students work, as well as Reviewing what they have learned not only in the workshop, but from each other. Class is open to all levels of writing. The classes will consist of discussion, writing, reading, craft, critique, editing, and performance technique. Sundays from 12PM-2PM, 1.5hrs. (starting Dec. 1st) Tickets $99
Thank you to the wonderful storyteller and poet, Phillip Giambri, for videotaping this performance celebrating the new anthology, “The Understanding Between Foxes And Light” published by the NYC press: great weather for Media.
It was a warm Sunday at the Parkside Lounge in New York City on August 28, 2013 and love was slung within the chords and poetics of dug-out memories.