Saturday, September 27, 2008

Voter Registration Deadline: OCT 6

Please make sure you are registered to vote in the November election. The deadline to be registered in Pennsylvania is Monday, October 6th. You can register online here.

Spread the word.

"If we aren't willing to pay a price for our values, if we aren't willing to make some sacrifices in order to realize them, then we should ask ourselves whether we truly believe in them at all. By these standards at least, it sometimes appears that Americans today value nothing so much as being rich, thin, young, famous, safe, and entertained. We say we value the legacy we leave the next generation and then saddle that generation with mountains of debt. We say we believe in equal opportunity but then stand idle while millions of American children languish in poverty. We insist that we value family, but then structure our economy and organize our lives so as to ensure that our families get less and less of our time. And yet a part of us knows better . . ."

--Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

some Old News

The Evening Bulletin, Monday, May 7, 1923:


Tells Ministers’ Meeting They're Needed to Probe Vice Conditions

the mayor’s text was “Women in Politics”

and he called upon women of the city, as well as

the men, to throw aside their lethargy in matters

political, to register, and to vote, to keep out of

power the old “combine.” according to Mayor

Moore, women “can help us materially in dope

cases, and in tracing other forms of vice. other

cities have women working in this capacity and

there is no reason why we should not.” with women

in politics, “not gang women,” he declared,

there will be less overlording of men or groups

of men whose only goal is wealth.


neighborhood watches

another guy brags his mother was a mother

before she had babies, tidy streets broke from

her hands, one man attached to a motor car,

another to a motion picture house. what’s showing?

at is-a-bella’s, COUNTER GIRL WANTED.

she rides a bike, gets honked at, gets told

to get off the road. the neighborhood watches.

if tragedy strikes who will pay your mortgage.

oh watches never worked on me, mom says,

i don’t buy them. me neither, i say. but what’s

difficult about watching reruns is the policeman

between my sister’s legs looking out. he’s got

my eyes and winks, nodding to the neighborhood

north—watch out over there, he says, they’re

animals, you know, you gotta treat em like animals . . .

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Boog City Fest, NYC, 9/18-21

This weekend I go to the big city to read my poems as part
of the 2nd Annual Boog City Poetry and Music Festival.
Looking forward to hearing things I haven't heard before
and meeting new people and catching up with friends
and just being in New York.

I'll be reading on Saturday at 2:30pm at Cakeshop,
152 Ludlow St, Manhattan, NYC

For the full schedule of events, look here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

David Foster Wallace

Saturday night, standing with some friends outside Brian Kim Stefans’ going-away party, drinking beer, I learned that David Foster Wallace had killed himself. Someone mentioned it, a bunch of us said no way, and then Brian confirmed it for us; and Will and Abbi and I looked at each other, offguard, unsure what to say, and then clearly disappointed as we grasped for an explanation. It was an odd buzzkill – the news was unexpected but so was the fact of its impact – why was this such a buzzkill? None of us knew David Foster Wallace; we’d only read his books. Somehow I must have assumed that Wallace was on my team in some way – and I suppose I do so with many living writers whose books leave a lasting impression on me, regardless of whether or not I’ve met them. It must be that by having invested myself in their writing, unconsciously I imagine we are moving through the same real world together, and because we share the world, because we can see it from similar angles, we will all be here a good while finding our way through it. So of course no one’s jumping overboard; we’re in it together; we’re forever overhead.

I found a transcription of a commencement speech Wallace gave at Kenyon University in 2005 – I highly, highly recommend it. Here’s a snippet of it:

"As I'm sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now). Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about quote the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.

"This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in: the head. They shoot the terrible master. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger.

"And I submit that this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out."

Read the whole thing here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

poetry out loud this wknd

Tonight at 7:30 a bunch of us - which includes you if you come - will read Ted Berrigan poems aloud at Elfreth's Alley. This is called the Urchin Series, which is CA Conrad's idea. A few weeks ago we read Mina Loy poems at 2nd and Market - it was a good time.

Tomorrow at 8 at Chapterhouse Cafe, 9th & Bainbridge:
Lewis Warsh, Michael S. Hennessey, and Brian Carpenter
will read from their work.

Get there at 7:45 if you want a seat.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Reading This Thursday Night

This Thursday night, 9/11, I will read poems at the The RUBA club, which is 418 Green Street, Northern Liberties, along with Dorothea Lasky, Ish Klein, Jenn McCreary and Frank Sherlock. This is part of the Live Arts/Fringe Festival Late Night Cabaret. Doors open at 9, poems begin at 10 - gotta be 21 to get in. Come buy me a beer.