Now I'm chasing my blues away by writing ekphrastic poems based on Mark Ryden paintings. Freaky!
Zzzzzz*--eh, what's that? oh . . .
Okay! Sunday, also known as Three Hundred and Thirty Five Days Left Until NaPoWriMo, commenced with a trip to McNally Robinson, on Prince Street, where I took a photo of my chapbook on sale (huzzah! -- to be posted later), and purchased mad books:
Nameless Flowers--Gu Cheng
The Lichtenberg Figures--Ben Lerner
Sleeping With the Dictionary--Harryette Mullen
Father Said--Hal Sirowitz
Sublimation Point--Jason Schneiderman
Then I ran off to the Four-Faced Liar for the NaPoWriMo reading, which went round-robin style through four rounds of poems, with a break. It featured Shafer Hall, Sam Amadon, Rachel Shukert, Billy Merrell, Stephanie-Whose-Last-Name-I-Unfortunately-Do-Not-Remember, he who shall be known only as Mystery Matt (who are you, Mystery Matt?), and myself. I felt kind of off-kilter during the reading, but then, I've been feeling that way all week, and am beginning to think it's some sort of perverse off-season hibernation desire beginning to catch up with me. I've been trying to stave it off through furious knitting, but I'm beginning to think that only makes me yet more unbalanced.
Fade to Monday, where I work and knit and then go to Bowery Poetry Club for the release party for Jerome Sala's "Look Slimmer Instantly!," now out from Soft Skull Press. Many poem persons were there, those to whom I speak and those I know only by sight: Shanna Compton and Gary Sullivan and Jordan Davis and Erica Kaufman and Eddie Berrigan and Chris Martin and Nick Piombino and . . . it goeth on, most probably. But I was hunched over, knitting, like Madame LeFarge, and couldn't see much. Anyhoo, Twiglight, aka Chris Martin and Eddie Berrigan performed, giving us guitar-and-harmonica-and random lyrics stylings. Then we segued into a reading by Gary Sullivan, whose first poem was, I think, mostly a reading of bird calls. I recognized song sparrow (Maids, maids, maids, bring out your tea-kettle-ettle-ettles), and goldfinch (potato chip, potato chip) and there was also I think ovenbird and barred owl and a whole bunch of other ones I didn't know. It was pretty awesome. I had forgotten how on-target a lot of these word-translations of bird songs are. Once you learn the bird-song-translations (or transliterations), you never go back . . . you start hearing the birds' calls as words. My mornings are lousy, for instance, with birds yammering about tea-kettles. Gary read from other poems and then finished up with passages from his new comic book, Elsewhere.
Then Jerome Sala took the stage and read exclusively from the new book. "Poetry is advertising with a small a." The arguments between money, bullshit, and the sudden appearance of the Doublemint Twins. But my favorite poem was the last -- A Short History of White People. The last line (I think, I'll have to check against the book after work), was "but when the white people invaded, everyone could see them but themselves."