Where we might expect sympathy, Scott delivers cruelty. Confusing the scene even further is the description of “the building burst[ing] like a ballerina,” and injured bystanders with skin torn “open as a hymnal.”
My poem “Days After” is featured on LEVELER this week alongside some commentary from their editors.
“From the beginning to the end it is also the ring in which the fate of his poetry is to be fought for.”
“The poems are littered with incredibly unfashionable references (think Bacchus, Babylon, and fishwives) as the seabed is littered with amphorae, but Scott is probably right to see the beauty in these forgotten, encrusted tropes.”
“The more you read Scott, the easier it is to see the doubt under the faith, the revulsion inside the desire. As if to acknowledge this tension, and to explain it, he has written one of the most convincing recent poetical apologias. It is unsurpassable in its #sorrynotsorry earnestness…”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY USAGI
This is my top Tumblr post of all time, and it’s Usagi’s birthday again, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY USAGI!
POPSICKLE V RUNDOWN OF RUNDOWNS FROM A RUNDOWN HANGDOWN
Goddamn. That shit was all of it. So many people in that space and all the words in the air bouncing off of hearts and digging into brainmeats and all the sweat and all the love and all that dirty sun coming through that big dirty window. Goddamn is really the only word that keeps flashing in front of me. Goddamn beautiful. Goddamn majestic. Goddamn loving. Goddamn attentive. Goddamn true. Goddamn infectious. Goddamn delicate. Goddamn brawn.
I got my ass to DUMBO early, so I marched myself to the area where there were a gang of folks watching the World Cup on huge screens. Everyone was oooooooing and ahhhhhhing watching the game but I was watching them. Moving in unison, like a thousand-limbed beast. It was something. I walked my way back up to where the event was going to be and found a loading dock to park myself at. I watched Erika Anderson walk by, called out her name, and she—I am so goddamn proud of her—KEPT RIGHT ON WALKING. There was a crew of Asian construction workers sitting on the curb on their break eating a meal and watching the game on one guy’s phone and I fell in love with them, with their ease, with their love for one another.
Right around then Matty “Champ” Nelson rolled by on his bike and I called out to him and he stopped and we hugged and we sat on that dock and smoked a couple of cigarettes and talked about the day and the night before and the three million years of life and love we both want. We decided to go inside and say hello and inside I saw Erika again and told her she’s gotten real-real good about ignoring men on the streets calling out to her. Then Matty and I decided to go get coffees and we ran into Kalli Mathios—who is becoming one of my favorite people—and we all sauntered into this joint to get coffees and a guy in there was cooking all the bacon on a grill and it smelled like heaven and a hangover in the joint and I felt swoons in me and saw it happen to M and K, too.
Then everything starts to sizzle like the bacon and blur like a hangover.
THINGS I CAN CURRENTLY RECALL:
—Jessica Freeman and Samantha Kiel showing up and being fucking awesome, as always.
—Niina Pollari and JD Scott were incredible and kind and loving hosts.
—The space itself—Forgotten Works Studios—was beautiful and dark and strange.
—Not once throughout a very long and hot day did I see ANYONE pull any diva shit.
—So blown away by every goddamn reader. So much beauty. So much grace.
—Always so good to hang with my homie TOBIAS MOTHERFUCKING CARROLL
—Joe Riippi is still Joe Riippi, and nobody else can be Joe Riippi.
—Peter BD rapped and slayed and shouted me out. I feel precious and special.
—Eric “Little Brother Sunshine” Nelson rocked a wicker throne and owned it. OWNED IT.
—Throughout the day as it got hotter and hotter, you could feel everyone’s breaths happen.
—Oscar Bruno d’Artois read like a beast from his phone and I still love him.
—Chris Fay was hilarious and great.
—Joey De Jesus was fucking rad and I would love to read more of his work.
—Got to hear pressmate Andrew Worthington read from his soon-out WALLS.
—Mike Lala busted out a chunk of GUN CABINET, which made me want the whole thing.
—Jason Cook in a suit[duh] and asked me to read later on after at Mellow Pages.
—Morgan Parker. Morgan Parker and 99 Problems. Morgan PARKER.
—LK MOTHERFUCKING SHOWBIZ.
—Matty introduced me and filled me with love and we hugged real hard.
—I wanted the room to know they were appreciated and loved. I told them so.
—JD gave me a purple popsicle and I felt like a newborn.
Like I said above—GODDAMN—it was a beautiful day.
Met up with Matty at Mellow Pages after and we ate tacos and drank Gatorade and waited for a new crowd to show up for a reading thrown by Jason Cook and his mighty Ampersand Books. People filed in. Matty and I were running on fumes and grilled chicken meat and electrolytes. I ended up reading first and I know what I read and I know how I read and I know I picked on a guy in the room and probably maybe miffed him a bit, but I was so spent and so full of love and light that ain’t a goddamn thing anyone was going to do would undo. Mali Scott read some fucking rad poems—sans mic!—and blew me away. Danniel Schoonebeek read some poems and made me think of Steven Jesse Bernstein and I got all misty about it and made sure to tell him outside that he had stirred that up in me. I hugged Matty and then I 23-skidoo’d my way home. I felt like I had been on the ocean all day, my equilibrium a little askew, my heart a little slow but full, and my head swimming in words and images and smiles and sweat.
That’s all I know.
To celebrate the end of National Poetry Month (& say hello to Beltane) birdsoflace has released my 2013 chapbook, FUNERALS & THRONES, as a free pdf. Tarot cards, love charms, violent angels.
& if you would like to rate it, here’s its home on Goodreads.
It’s almost April, which means AWP ‘14 in Seattle was nearly a month ago & that it’s probably a little late to share photos that most of you have seen already. Oh well. Tumblr will only let me share 10 photos, so here’s a condensation of memory. XOXO
Early on in my NYC life, I briefly dated someone who lived in Long Island City by the water, facing Manhattan. The building and the street (Center Blvd.) were so new, they didn’t even exist on Google Maps. It was this nascent, artificially constructed part of the city.
So I would venture out of the 21st St. G train & walk down to this single tower complex, hospitalesque, metallic, cold, the only creature like it rising out by the water. The relationship was brief—and volatile—one of the many themes pushing through Funerals & Thrones. This poem wasn’t in the chapbook itself, but released as a limited broadside for preorders via Birds of Lace.
Poems are supposed to tell their own stories, and I sometimes feel hesitant that if you say too much for the poem, it means it cannot do the work by itself. But in every tarot card present in F&T—there is a parallel to life, and to relationships, who exist either as my own or the transmutation of my narrator(s).
The Tower (XVI) is one of the most complex cards of the major arcana (in my opinion). "The Tower tells of quarrels, disruption, upheavals and the release of old ways. It can represent destruction and opposition and asks that you look at the fact that change must happen and that the more you fight change, the more difficult it can become—for it is only after the change (or destruction) that your enlightenment will come.
The Tower tarot card illustrates that neither the physical nor emotional structures we build are stable or permanent, but rather, can be destroyed suddenly, bringing with it the changes we attempted to avoid.”