This blog post’s title is a paraphrase of Xie Xiangnan poem in Iron Moon. I was going to do a Coward on this book and a number of other scare quotes working class scare quotes collections but started working 6 days a week.
Thursday, June 21 @ 7 | Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop | w/Jill Magi & Marty Cain. Driving w/Marty. Looking forward to talking w/Jill. Laboris an important book to me. FB Stuff.
Info for the Detroit reading above. It’s a rad format. And I got to bring potluck dishes too — “and to eat our bread together by the sweat of our brows” — cool. BUT WHAT WILL I COOK? & I’ll be driving through Canada, so I can’t bring food from the States, can I? Please advise. FB Stuff.
I’ve been meaning to write about my state of mind when it comes to these reading journals.
I lost my tongue. I don’t know when. Perhaps it was three years ago. I didn’t know how to talk about poetry anymore, so I stopped. And poetry was just a bird fluttering around in my glued mouth. It depressed me. I was depressed. And mostly I stopped corresponding with most people. Secretly I hoped that the silence would lead to clarity but the silence just led to silence. So these journals are not about me showing off my fluency. They’re more self therapy. They are embarrassing. Full of ums, ahs, and incomplete thoughts. You can hear me swallow and sweat. So if I let the embarrassing fly, I’m hoping wholer words and thoughts will follow. But, also, this is just one part of my life. I do stuff like eat good food and take hikes and love Cheryl. Don’t worry! Just trying to be accurate.
One thing I didn’t add to this journal was immigration court records I’ve been reading on account of some work I’m doing. Maybe next time. Long story short: the monolingualism of the courts is killing people. They essentially say to detainees filing for asylum who are often suffering PTSD and usually have few resources and no lawyers, “Please write a long report on all your trauma in English. Gather corroborating accounts in English. If you can’t write in English, get a translator. If the accounts aren’t in English or translated by a certified translator, we will throw them out.” It’s a farce.
Edric Mesmer flies under the radar online (by choice, I think) and is omnipresent in Buffalo as a poet, curator, archivist, and kind human. I was flush w/happyness to be part of his chapette series–the Buffalo Ochre Papers. I’d stuck around long enough to be a Buffalo poet. Just in time to leave. Edric brought Moldy Donuts to my going away reading. And that’s part of what the Ochre Papers are–an occasional publication, marking poetry in its place and time. So you got to be somewhere Edric will be and Edric shows up all over the place in Buffalo. Edric, lots of love.
It was a bittersweet night. Allison Cardon and Adam Wilkins gave blisteringly good readings, ethically and poetically alive. Many ppl I respect and lv in the room. And folks doing work I wanted to be able to stick around and watch grow and pitch in when I can. I’d started considering what a local poetics could be, one that took into account the messy intersections of and contradictions in friendships, social presence, and attempts to intervene in and reimagine civic life (insert essay on the landscape of Buffalo i.e. visions of social and economic justice v the authoritarian, racist, river eating vision of Buffalo’s republican oligarchy and neoliberal dem allies). Some of those poems made it into Moldy. Now I’ve moved. Tongo Eisen-Martin’s speaker says, in brackets, “[a stack of money starts talking from four cities away].” Well, a stack of money started talking from eight counties away after the faucet shut off from the university. We’re in Ithaca now. I’ve got a lot of moldy donuts and mixed feelings about being on the move again. Hit me up. What’s going on w/you?