Saturday, July 18, 2009

Portland Update 4

Last night we had the luck of eating at Navarre in Portland. Navarre recently got voted the best restuarant of the year in Portland, so we thought we'd give it a try. The first shocker, for me, was that there was no line to get in on a Friday night. I told jim that if it had been silly new york, you wouldn't be able to get a table for 3 years after such a review. We also, shockingly, got into the new Harry Potter movie (the theatre wasn't even full!) and for seven dollars to boot!

There is this thing I love about Oregon. New York is so hard everywhere. Everything is hard, so that when you come to Oregon, you still have NY standards and problems stuck in your head, so you feel blessed when say; all the poets are super nice or it's easy to get into a movie. I wouldn't give up that struggle that is NY for anything, but it is nice to escape for awhile.

Anyway, Navarre has a menu of small dishes (kind of tapa size) with many, many different choices. You have to order by checking your choices with a magic marker. The choices were a bit overwhelming. I had the salami plate, au gratin, salad, bread with 'grass' olive oil. Jim had buffalo, cavier, and beet greens with gruyere. I have to say that the food was probably the best I've ever tasted (outside of new mexican and my husband's). The ingredients were so fresh (a very oregon thing). But, disappointly, the service was absolutely horrible. We felt ignored most of the dinner. They forgot to bring all of our dishes. We had to wait 15 minutes for desert and I had to go up to the cash register to ask to pay the bill. They had 2 waitresses for a completely full place (about 25 tables) and no busboy.


I will be offline for a few days. During this time, I will be reading Duncan/Levertov Letters. I got an amazing letter from the Portland poet Michael Weaver a few days back. In it, Michael notes (info I didn't know) that Levertov is dismissive (at first) of Eigner's abilities. I have to go research this for myself. Ordinarily, I would be pissed at Levertov, someone who I have idolized for years. I have always respected, not only her poetry, but her activism, her close friendships with Duncan and Rukeyser, and her questioning of feminism. I am not mad, though, as her potential Eigner comments fit into my 'evil plan.' The idea of the Eigner book just doesn't go away. I constantly question my ability to make something worthwhile. I know that there are so many other living poets/people who lived with Eigner and they are much more capable of speaking than me. However, I do think that because I have cerebral palsy and am intimately aware of the prejudices, I have a different perspective.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Portland Update 3

From Steve Fama, I stand corrected on funky Spicerean notes: Everson knew Spicer, Norma knew Duncan (which I knew, but wanted to be safe) and Killian didn't know Spicer. For those who don't know the actual origin of this game, my husband taught it to me today - it's Erdo's number - with a hat over the 'O.' For the record, my grandfather had a Erdo # of 1.


Today at the farmer's market, we scored berries (blue and ras), a chunk of fish, fresh artichokes, berry havarti, pickles, fresh tomato and cucumber, and chipotle pesto. We ate at South Park - which we recommend highly! The best food, service, atmosphe, and cocktails.


Here is today's bus story: There was a couple waiting for the bus downtown. The man was pouring a Colt 45 into a big gulp plastic cup. I just glanced at him and he yelled at me, 'You're just jealous!!" The bus ran out of gas!!! I am not joking. Luckily, another #12 came quickly. I met the most beautiful woman with three absolutely charming children 6,8, and 15. But, she didn't have a lot of money and this made me very sad. Dear Maryrose, we remain committed to TRIMET, even though it drives us nuts. Now, I want a car - but too late. Neither of us have licences (it's a long, boring story). But, I'll just say it's not from drunk driving (we WALK HOME drunk, thank you very much!) Now, we have become stubbornly opposed to getting our licenses (or perhaps just lazy).

As a last note: Please buy the new Peaches and Bats. The magazine is fabulous and so is Sam!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Grumpy Portland Part 2

A couple glasses of wine and a visit to the public pool (tho not in that order) have put me in a better mood. On Pg. 165-166 of the Spicer bio, Ellingham and Killian write:A victim of cerebral palsy, Eigner had been in a wheelchair all his life. Perhaps that's my problem -- I'm a victim of cerebral palsy. They do admit to Eigner's cheeky side tho; (Quote from Eigner) "He asked me if I knew Josphine Miles, and the idea amused me, like a branch of Poets in Wheelchairs Anonymous.


Here is our bus report from today. My bike lost it's breaks. So, they make a good idea to put bikes on the front oF buses. We waited 15 minutes for our bus to go to the bike shop. But, the driver tells us, in the most impassively voice humanly possible, only 2 bikes on the front of the bus. So I say, well, the kid's bike is small, we'll just bring it on the bus. Driver says, 'no' and drives away. I just can't get my way on these damn buses!


I'll be reading in the next Spare Room Reading. Here's the info:

Jennifer Bartlett
Sarah Mangold
Lindsey Boldt

Saturday, July 25
4:00 pm

4903 SE Rural (south of Woodstock, between 39th and 52nd)
for directions, or other information:

NOTE: This is a house reading and potluck hosted by Maryrose Larkin and Eric Matchett; all are welcome.
Parking is on the south side of Rural, or in the driveway.

We suggest not taking the bus, if you value your sanity.

Crab report from Portland

Yes, I'm cranky!

I have been reading Jack Spicer's biography -- eating it really at 50 + pages a day - I'm usually a slow reader. Last night, I had a dream that I was in Paris and carrying the book around. I went into J Crew (yes, in Paris) and gave them my credit card - I think you had to get a credit card to get in there. My card was bad, so they said,;'we'll have to take your book away.' I FREAKED out and ran out of the store. It was raining and my book got wet. This is the third dream 'in which I was a poet' in two weeks. I also dreamt that Eileen Myles was my boss at the Department of Education and that I was trying to write a poem like Mei Mei Berssenbrugge writes a poem - with collage pieces all over the table.

I'm exploring the idea of whether every writing poet today can claim they know Spicer by six degrees of separation. I'm still working on the rules. My primary idea is to connect the people through intimate relationships - not sexual - meaning long friendship, relative, mentor or other. I've found out that Jack and I are pretty close. Here are some lists I made last night which I'm not sure are accurate:

Lee Bartlett
Bill Everson
Robert Duncan
Jack Spicer

Norma Cole
Robert Duncan
Jack Spicer

Lisa Jarnot
Kevin KIillian
Jack Spicer

Monday, July 13, 2009

Portland Update 2

Portland is starting to grate on my nerves a little. We have to take public transportation and, regardless of what people say, many normal Portlanders don't seem to 'bus it.' Either that or there are just an unusual amount of insane people per capita. Today, on bus#1 I asked a young man for directions..he wouldn't even look at me. I was sitting right next to him and kept saying 'excuse me, excuse.' He just continued to stare at his text messaging. Ruda! He had a pierced cheek and was a hipster (as compared to a hippy). I felt like saying - 'Look Mr. I've lived in Williamsburg since you were in fifth grade - so don't be giving me attitude.'

Because I didn't give the boy a talking too, I was all worked into a tizzy. On bus #2 a woman stared talking about - oh look at the handicapped woman! She's not handicapped now - look she's not even drooling. I had my ipod on and attempted to ignore her, but she was persistent. I told her, 'Look, I know you are psycotic, but could you please leave me alone.' She said, 'You don't even know what that means because you're.,...' and she made so-called mentally disabled faces and waved her arms. I said, 'Fuck you, lady.' And then, 'I'll have you know, I'm a professor.' To wit, she just stared and I got off the bus. Geesh, the insane people in Brooklyn just talk to themselves! I'm not even she was totally insane because she reacted to my comments. Boy, I wish the so-called able-bodied folk out there were more aware of this stuff that goes on. It's nuts! It's still painful even though I have a good job and she's just a woman who spends her time riding the bus making fun of 'the disabled.'


Last night, I saw the poets Farrah Field and Jared White as per the Spare Room reading series. I also got to spend time with the fabulous Maryrose Larkin. I enjoyed Farrah and Jared's work. I particularly enjoyed an unpublished work that Farrah read - a mystery. poetry, novel, sort-of thing about 2 (or 3) girls who ran away from their mother who I think Farrah said was involved in orgies...or was it orges. Anyway, it was great! It reminded my of the Vivian Girls for some strange reason. I also looked up Farrah's fake syllabi on her blog, which are fabulous too.


If you happen to still be reading this dribble, chances are that you have corresponded with me at some point. If so, I have tried to sell you electronics or asked you to take a chinese class with me recently. Know that this is not me, it's actually little elves that broke into my hotmail and hacked it and think I can get you to buy a wide-screen TV. Joke's on them - I can't even get a poem in FENCE, let alone sell someone Chinese language lessons. Anyway, I am in the process of so-called archiving all these hotmail letters so that I can close the account. O it's a tedious affair. If there are any techies out there who know how to archive hotmail, give me a ring.


Finally, on TV, they are listing the new rules in Seattle for washing your car.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Portland Update

Last night we had dinner with the poet Sam Lohmann and were treated to a new issue of Peaches and Bats. I am trying really hard not to like Portland, but it just isn't working - I love it here. I am spending my days compiling lists of why I like Portland and why I like Brooklyn. I had the worse Spring (nearly) humanly possible - and I thought there would be no hope for a happy summer...and yet. Things I don't like about Portland are relaxed laws and a bad economy make for a big sex worker trade - which I'm not too keen on. Yes, I'm one of those conservative feminists who think women should make art or a cure for AIDS rather than using their bodies to entertain (largely married) men. O, but that's just me! I also am discouraged by the amount of 'homeless' teenagers.

Speaking of fiesty children - last night we were walking home and Jeff asked us if we were going to stay in the' Whole Milk Motel.' I was like, 'huh?' He said, 'No, Hotel Motel - you know where your poems are!' O, he meant Reb Livingston's No Tell Motel and he thought we could go 'stay' there with mommy's poems. Then, without another word, he turned to his father and said, 'Dad, what did you mean when you said George Bush tortured all those people?'

I have lost the capability to write so-called poems. I just finished reading Brainard's 'I Remember.' I made my own attempt at remembering and quickly found that I didn't really want to remember anything.

In his interview on Bookslut CA Conrad has the best quote EVER! 'It's safe for me to say that I haven't just been ridiculed in this life, but have been persecuted at times, ruthlessly so, but I'm finding ways to live with this fact so that I'm not consumed and destroyed.' Yes, CA, that's kind of the narrative of many of our existences. You're right on the money.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Collection of Silence

I had the honor of, before leaving New York, participating in Eileen Myles' Collection of Silence. The Collection of Silence was Eileen Myles wonderful collaboration where artists, poets, performers, monks, and school children would come together to 'perform' simutaniously and in silence. The performance was supposed to take place outside in the courtyard of the Hispanic Society, but rain drove the event (at least temporarily inside).

I was in Charles Bernstein's group with one poet more fabulous than the other - Frank Sherlock, CA Conrad, and Danny Snelson. My first reaction in starting was that I wasn't going to be able to maintain silence without laughing. Charles was so absolutely funny, I couldn't even stand near him - although I did glance him reading a certain point with the lovely drag queen. The task was a little daunting for me, and yet important. I found out so much about my body, my reading style, my poems. I felt so akeward reading silently. The power of the word seemed so tried to the verbal. Reading the poems over and over silently quickly became painful and tedious. Words started to blur. I felt useless. At one point I started reading Charles poem!

I felt much happier as a spectator. I took a break and wondered the rooms. The two events that caught my eye the most were the monks and Monica de la Torre's 'film.' The monks were meditating, but they were facing very funny objects (I can't remember what they were) but I remember thinking 'gee, it must be more difficult to meditate looking at x.' One of the monks charmed me because he was older and appeared to have fallen sound asleep! I, then, followed strange white dots into the library. Monica's 'film' was impeccable. Part of the reason it worked so well is that it fit perfectly into the containment of the small library. Everyone was wearing white. Monica was walking around with headphones and posters that said stuff about language. A performer was playing with a guitar with a large white dot over it. They seemed so focused. The effect was, in that, it was LIKE a real film.

But, the beauty in such an immense event is watching all over little ticks - behaviours or misbehaviours of a mass of people attempting to co-exist silently, for even a short period of time. For better or worse, one of my favorite incidents was a guard TALKING ON A CELL PHONE! I glared at him and he got off. But, I started laughing too because I couldn't believe how oblivious people can be! It definitely didn't harm the performance, in fact it added to it in a fashion because it was so human.

After that, I came to the stairs and all my poet guys were going outside - it was really hot in the building. I thought that everyone was giving up but I realized that I was walking into an outside of silence. It took me awhile to realize that my group was in the bottom of the courtyard, reading from the statues, where I joined them. Slowly, slowly, each group moved outside. Time moved toward that breaking note. Finally, Eileen waved, the opera singer began his one note. It started small and became ear crushingly loud. I can't begin to describe the beauty of it. And the realization that we all talk far too much.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Portland Update

Today, a visit to the Japanese garden... you can hear my reading from Segue at Penn Sound here.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Hello From the Great NorthWest

Today is our sixth day in the NorthWest. Other Jen & I took a quick trip up North. We did learn that Seattle is a city full of rules, particularly surrounding 'adult beverages.' Other Jen got carded for trying to buy water in the liquor store. Other random rules that you might want to watch out for in Seattle are - you can't drink in a strip bar, you can't be naked in a strip bar, you can't take a child into a bar , even if the bar is actually a restuarant - in fact if you are under 21, you can't be 500 feet near alcohol, you can't be a surrogate mother, you can't buy booze on Sunday, and you can't get married if you're gay - although there are strange rumors of many microsoft mail-order russian brides running around.

I did make it to the more than fabulous Open Books. Even though they were closed, the fine folks let me in. They had Black Sparrow first printings of Eigner books for $12, beat that with a stick! Also, Duncan's Collected Essays, The Spicer biography, Marcella Durand's Traffic and Weather, and Joe Brainard's I Remember. Tomorrow, a full report from the Japanese Tea Garden.

Tonight, on the phone, my father used the word 'google.' I said, 'Who taught you that word?' He said, ' O, I've known it for almost a year!'