Portland + Los Angeles
The American poet Norman Dubie says that what gives poetry so much freedom is that no one gets rich off writing it. Passion, and expressive language, drive poems into the world. 
Poetry is unique among artforms because it uses as its medium the building blocks of all communication, and, more or less, the building blocks of thought: language. Poetry uses language to communicate something that is beyond language, which is weird and causes things to be at once both what they are and so very much more than they are. 
At its most minimal, language speaks to us on two levels: it communicates raw info and it communicates contextual feelings and directions about that info. In the 1960s and ’70s, Aram Saroyan was mining this linguistic landscape to much notoriety — and infamy. His poem, “lighght,” exploded the idea of what a poem even is. 
And as the tattoo here illuminates, it’s still exploding ideas right down to the skin. This left hand belongs to another poet, Zachary Schomburg, who writes notes on his hands when he’s not collaborating and touring with musicians and filmmakers and making the sincerest surrealist books since sliced pages.

Portland Los Angeles

The American poet Norman Dubie says that what gives poetry so much freedom is that no one gets rich off writing it. Passion, and expressive language, drive poems into the world. 

Poetry is unique among artforms because it uses as its medium the building blocks of all communication, and, more or less, the building blocks of thought: language. Poetry uses language to communicate something that is beyond language, which is weird and causes things to be at once both what they are and so very much more than they are. 

At its most minimal, language speaks to us on two levels: it communicates raw info and it communicates contextual feelings and directions about that info. In the 1960s and ’70s, Aram Saroyan was mining this linguistic landscape to much notoriety — and infamy. His poem, “lighght,” exploded the idea of what a poem even is. 

And as the tattoo here illuminates, it’s still exploding ideas right down to the skin. This left hand belongs to another poet, Zachary Schomburg, who writes notes on his hands when he’s not collaborating and touring with musicians and filmmakers and making the sincerest surrealist books since sliced pages.


Huntington, Long Island, New York
"We were together. I forget the rest." 
Poppa Whitman, you were the great things of these United States from before they were united. Thanks for being a voice and an example to those of us making our own way. Are you my angel?

Huntington, Long Island, New York

"We were together. I forget the rest."

Poppa Whitman, you were the great things of these United States from before they were united. Thanks for being a voice and an example to those of us making our own way. Are you my angel?


Life loves the liver of it. —Maya Angelou 

Life loves the liver of it. —Maya Angelou 


New York City, 1966

Frank O’Hara, “Having a Coke with You.” 


Portland, ORINTERVIEW: DANNIEL SCHOONEBEEK
Danniel Schoonebeek’s poems take back roads and veins to an American place filled with secrets in your ear. Where the barn behind you is lit with the most eerie Gregory Crewdson-like light.  
Last Saturday Ace New York hosted Bound by Chance. Danniel wasn’t there, but his words were. People used them to make stories and bound those stories into pamphlets. Tonight, Danniel reads from his book in Portland at Crema Coffee + Bakery before he sails back home to Brooklyn. It’s going to be an after hours poetry party. 
You recently completed a poetry tour in support of your first book, American Barricade (YesYes Books). Independent musicians tour all the time to support themselves. What was the experience like as a poet?
When I was seventeen I left high school and toured in a van with four other guys. We were a band, I was the drummer, and we toured the country for a few months, living in the van with our instruments. What’s startling to me is that I did this again ten years later. This time I was alone, I was reading my poems and not hitting a snare, and I took the trains across America instead of riding in a van. The tours were alike in that they were both these depleting, chaotic bursts in which you learn more about yourself than you knew was possible. You aren’t working hard enough are the words I came away with when I was seventeen. Our last date on that tour was at CBGB’s, and there was this holy feeling like we’d arrived. But nobody gave a shit about our songs, not the bands, not the people. I think that experience taught me that you have to demand to be heard, like a list of demands is heard in a hostage situation, and that list of demands is work. 
The tour I just finished leaves me to this day with jubilee. In some ways it was like playing a chess match against my own life. I’d just been kicked out of my apartment, I’d just been laid off, the love life was in the gutter. I booked the tour myself, no agents, no help from my publisher. I needed to see if a poet could do it alone. Friends came out to read and see me off, let me sleep on their floors. Strangers opened their doors to me, handed me their keys, helped me hunt down venues. These people are part of my life now, and they handed me small tokens along the way, tchotchkes and mementos, a little scratch some nights. The trains are their own crash course in how much American disgust you can tolerate within yourself. If you don’t have the constitution within yourself to wash your hair in the sink on a moving train, or deal with drunks, or fall asleep hungry on a dinner of tic-tacs, don’t get on the trains. But there was something unbelievable about waking up on the train, feeling like shit, drinking a styrofoam cup of coffee, and watching the landscape of America peel away outside while you’re surrounded by all these families and drifters and bulleting your way to a poetry reading in a different city each night. It was like not being a citizen anymore. 
I’m finishing a book about this last tour and that’ll come out soon. I’m working with two editors who are challenging the work and pushing it in directions I’m thrilled about. I can’t say who yet, but it’s coming. It’s called C’est La Guerre. 
[[MORE]]

The poems you write have a lovely ability to at once feel very intimate—even small—while also having ragged edges that touch on archetypes that deal with American culture and values. What’s your creative process when you sit down to write? Do you have an agenda? A guiding principal?
I try to always keep myself unsettled. I hate flying, so I work on poems while I’m a mess in the sky. Or sometimes I’ll wear nothing but a blanket and wake up in winter and write in the kitchen. I always write poems if I have a nasty fever, or I like to cast out lines aloud if I’m standing, never longhand if I’m sitting. I write a lot in bed, the classic pose, we all do. I would like to write a poem while hanging upside down from the lintels of a doorway. So my process is to always throw a wrench in my process. I’m opposed to regimens, culturally and artistically, because they fail to do justice to the changing face of what composes them. American ways of life, as our culture defines them, always fail the people who are actually living their lives in America, never nuanced enough and always leaving someone locked outside. In the same way, I think having any guiding principal about poetry is a failure to language, how nuanced language is and how fast it changes and disrupts us. I try to always undermine myself, disrupt myself, refuse myself. The terrifying part for me is that undermining yourself, disrupting yourself, refusing yourself—these are also regimens that need to be undermined, disrupted, and refused.

Portland, OR

INTERVIEW: DANNIEL SCHOONEBEEK

Danniel Schoonebeek’s poems take back roads and veins to an American place filled with secrets in your ear. Where the barn behind you is lit with the most eerie Gregory Crewdson-like light.  

Last Saturday Ace New York hosted Bound by Chance. Danniel wasn’t there, but his words were. People used them to make stories and bound those stories into pamphlets. Tonight, Danniel reads from his book in Portland at Crema Coffee + Bakery before he sails back home to Brooklyn. It’s going to be an after hours poetry party. 

You recently completed a poetry tour in support of your first book, American Barricade (YesYes Books). Independent musicians tour all the time to support themselves. What was the experience like as a poet?

When I was seventeen I left high school and toured in a van with four other guys. We were a band, I was the drummer, and we toured the country for a few months, living in the van with our instruments. What’s startling to me is that I did this again ten years later. This time I was alone, I was reading my poems and not hitting a snare, and I took the trains across America instead of riding in a van. The tours were alike in that they were both these depleting, chaotic bursts in which you learn more about yourself than you knew was possible. You aren’t working hard enough are the words I came away with when I was seventeen. Our last date on that tour was at CBGB’s, and there was this holy feeling like we’d arrived. But nobody gave a shit about our songs, not the bands, not the people. I think that experience taught me that you have to demand to be heard, like a list of demands is heard in a hostage situation, and that list of demands is work. 

The tour I just finished leaves me to this day with jubilee. In some ways it was like playing a chess match against my own life. I’d just been kicked out of my apartment, I’d just been laid off, the love life was in the gutter. I booked the tour myself, no agents, no help from my publisher. I needed to see if a poet could do it alone. Friends came out to read and see me off, let me sleep on their floors. Strangers opened their doors to me, handed me their keys, helped me hunt down venues. These people are part of my life now, and they handed me small tokens along the way, tchotchkes and mementos, a little scratch some nights. The trains are their own crash course in how much American disgust you can tolerate within yourself. If you don’t have the constitution within yourself to wash your hair in the sink on a moving train, or deal with drunks, or fall asleep hungry on a dinner of tic-tacs, don’t get on the trains. But there was something unbelievable about waking up on the train, feeling like shit, drinking a styrofoam cup of coffee, and watching the landscape of America peel away outside while you’re surrounded by all these families and drifters and bulleting your way to a poetry reading in a different city each night. It was like not being a citizen anymore. 

I’m finishing a book about this last tour and that’ll come out soon. I’m working with two editors who are challenging the work and pushing it in directions I’m thrilled about. I can’t say who yet, but it’s coming. It’s called C’est La Guerre

Read More


Somewhere
a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
rising
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its glass cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
coming
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her–
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.

Spring
by Mary Oliver


Downtown Los Angeles, California
A show we’ve anticipated for quite some time opened nearby our new house lately. We found ourselves there with an old friend, Brian who wrote about his time there and shared it with us to share with you. How nice.
Last Thursday was the opening of “The Mothership, In Our Details are the Maps of Existence” at Dilettante in Downtown Los Angeles. I don’t have a nice camera, so I used the 10-megapixel Nikon Coolpix L20 I bought as a throw-away on a trip to Prague in 2010. According to the official description, “The Mothership is a vessel that guides and carries smaller vessels … a symbol of the collective conscience form, which we, as individuals, draw creativity and inspiration from.” The show, which features work from a selection of female artists, is intended as a celebration of that vessel. 
A giant spider made of Swarovski Crystals greets us just inside the door. This is Eye Walker by Amanda Charchian.  I ask Amanda what her piece is about, and she sighs, then responds “It’s based on a Native American myth about the eye walker. It’s about magic.  Good magic — white magic. Sympathetic magic.” When I ask Amanda if she got frustrated stringing together all the little crystals, she stares, deadpan. “No. It’s a meditative process.”

Next to the spider, a bunch of glitter-coated knives are stuck into the wall. This isGiving in to All My Best Qualities by Lola Rose Thompson. Lola and Amanda went to Otis around the same time; they are good friends.

Lola steals my camera to take a picture of Amanda with the glittery knives. Lola is not pictured, but she is also very good-looking.

I run into my friend Shane who tells me that “The stuff upstairs is really dope,” so we go upstairs.  The stuff up there is really dope. 
 
From the balcony, I see this dude examining the piece on the floor.  I go downstairs to talk to him.  His name is Jack.  I ask Jack about his feelings on the piece.  Jack thinks for a moment and replies, “It made me feel like a jazz riff. It’s a dancey piece, like a bunch of movement on the floor.” The piece is called Jazz Riff #1 by Lita Albuquerque.

This is Single Camera by Alia Shawkat. Alia says it was inspired by "a really bad audition I had one time. This guy," she points to the man painted red in the upper right corner, "he hated me. He was a producer. And this woman over here is a producer, that’s why she’s holding ‘CONTENT’." 

Artist and event organizer Carly Jo Morgan stressed that she did not curate by selecting specific works. "I picked women who inspire me, gave out the theme, and let them go." Carly is herself currently a mothership.

I find Jacqueline Suskin of the Poem Store. You have seen her in the galleries and farmers’ markets of Los Angeles. On the wall behind her is her piece The Poet & The Timber Baron. I ask Jacqueline to write a poem about this show. Here is what she wrote:
 

Downtown Los Angeles, California

A show we’ve anticipated for quite some time opened nearby our new house lately. We found ourselves there with an old friend, Brian who wrote about his time there and shared it with us to share with you. How nice.

Last Thursday was the opening of “The Mothership, In Our Details are the Maps of Existence” at Dilettante in Downtown Los Angeles. I don’t have a nice camera, so I used the 10-megapixel Nikon Coolpix L20 I bought as a throw-away on a trip to Prague in 2010. According to the official description, “The Mothership is a vessel that guides and carries smaller vessels … a symbol of the collective conscience form, which we, as individuals, draw creativity and inspiration from.” The show, which features work from a selection of female artists, is intended as a celebration of that vessel. 

A giant spider made of Swarovski Crystals greets us just inside the door. This is Eye Walker by Amanda Charchian.  I ask Amanda what her piece is about, and she sighs, then responds “It’s based on a Native American myth about the eye walker. It’s about magic.  Good magic — white magic. Sympathetic magic.” When I ask Amanda if she got frustrated stringing together all the little crystals, she stares, deadpan. “No. It’s a meditative process.”

Next to the spider, a bunch of glitter-coated knives are stuck into the wall. This isGiving in to All My Best Qualities by Lola Rose Thompson. Lola and Amanda went to Otis around the same time; they are good friends.

Lola steals my camera to take a picture of Amanda with the glittery knives. Lola is not pictured, but she is also very good-looking.

I run into my friend Shane who tells me that “The stuff upstairs is really dope,” so we go upstairs.  The stuff up there is really dope. 

From the balcony, I see this dude examining the piece on the floor.  I go downstairs to talk to him.  His name is Jack.  I ask Jack about his feelings on the piece.  Jack thinks for a moment and replies, “It made me feel like a jazz riff. It’s a dancey piece, like a bunch of movement on the floor.” The piece is called Jazz Riff #1 by Lita Albuquerque.

This is Single Camera by Alia Shawkat. Alia says it was inspired by "a really bad audition I had one time. This guy," she points to the man painted red in the upper right corner, "he hated me. He was a producer. And this woman over here is a producer, that’s why she’s holding ‘CONTENT’."

Artist and event organizer Carly Jo Morgan stressed that she did not curate by selecting specific works. "I picked women who inspire me, gave out the theme, and let them go." Carly is herself currently a mothership.

I find Jacqueline Suskin of the Poem Store. You have seen her in the galleries and farmers’ markets of Los Angeles. On the wall behind her is her piece The Poet & The Timber Baron. I ask Jacqueline to write a poem about this show. Here is what she wrote:

 


On surviving the winter: a poem paired with holistic remedies, shared by our dear friend and healer Yona Kanzen. With love from London.

The Guest House by Rumi
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. 
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honourably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. 
If you feel that you are getting a cold: 
Add water, a couple of cinnamon sticks, 1-2 pieces of cardamom and 2-3 cloves to a pot — bring it to a boil, simmer it for a couple of minutes and drink, you can add honey if you want. If there is any left in the pot you can keep it for a couple of days since it is concentrated, just add hot water and  drink.
If you suffer from common or severe colds:
Try taking one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and, clear the sinuses.
If you have a nasty cough:
Chop an onion place it in a jar, fill it up with honey and keep in the fridge for 24 hours then take a teaspoon of the liquid every few hours (it tastes horrible, but it works!).

On surviving the winter: a poem paired with holistic remedies, shared by our dear friend and healer Yona Kanzen. With love from London.

The Guest House by Rumi

This being human is a guest house. 
Every morning a new arrival. 

A joy, a depression, a meanness, 
some momentary awareness comes 
as an unexpected visitor. 

Welcome and entertain them all! 
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, 
who violently sweep your house 
empty of its furniture, 
still, treat each guest honourably. 
He may be clearing you out 
for some new delight. 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, 
meet them at the door laughing, 
and invite them in. 

Be grateful for whoever comes, 
because each has been sent 
as a guide from beyond. 

If you feel that you are getting a cold: 

Add water, a couple of cinnamon sticks, 1-2 pieces of cardamom and 2-3 cloves to a pot — bring it to a boil, simmer it for a couple of minutes and drink, you can add honey if you want. If there is any left in the pot you can keep it for a couple of days since it is concentrated, just add hot water and  drink.

If you suffer from common or severe colds:

Try taking one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and, clear the sinuses.

If you have a nasty cough:

Chop an onion place it in a jar, fill it up with honey and keep in the fridge for 24 hours then take a teaspoon of the liquid every few hours (it tastes horrible, but it works!).


"I write music with my mouth — first lyrics, then song, then rhythm."
Tato Laviera, Nuyorican Poets, RIP : 1951-2013

Photo by Rebecca Beard

"I write music with my mouth — first lyrics, then song, then rhythm."

Tato Laviera, Nuyorican Poets, RIP : 1951-2013


Photo by Rebecca Beard


Abraham Lincolnhis hand and penhe will be good butgod knows When
Long before he was first endorsed for presidency this day in Decatur at the 1860 Illinois Republican State Convention, Abe Lincoln was penning verse in his sum book.

Abraham Lincoln
his hand and pen
he will be good but
god knows When

Long before he was first endorsed for presidency this day in Decatur at the 1860 Illinois Republican State Convention, Abe Lincoln was penning verse in his sum book.


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