Wednesday, January 10, 2018

St. Mark's Poetry Project Marathon 2018


(Nope. As you can see--bro' been pokey...)
This is another one I doubted would see the light of day. But, rather than dwell on that issue, let’s get straight to the heart of the matter. As this was the first time in possibly 20 years that mi espousa mousa had graced me with her presence for the turn of the anum, I actually had company during my vigil. But also, being that most beings do not like to sit still for 10 hours, this one is a bit shorter. Like it matters.

That aside, this year’s particular crop was the one with the least amount of superstars in memory. But let’s not dwell on that either.

In the main, what was startlingly absent was the center of outraged polemic. Almost nothing about Trump; and even less about the #meToo movement. Far be it from me to criticize or attempt to offer insights on the slightest of non-evidence, but, best guess? — sometimes you find yourself so exhausted by events you simply withdraw into the world in which you find some measure of surcease, or at least control. Or, simply, what Bob Rosenthal (#34) said: “I want to avoid politics and embrace family…” Then again, all you’re guaranteed at a St. Mark’s poetry marathon is a bunch of disparate voices, frequently crying out in the wilderness… Often from a wilderness not farther away than Avenue D or Brooklyn Heights.

1. Bob Holman - Christmas Carol redux, “the invisible line”

2. Dave Morse - “dubbing”

3. David Kirschenbaum - (perhaps, something entitled “I am Wilder”…but for sure) “on transportation”

4. Rami Karim - “there needs to be a different word”

5. Jennifer Firestone - “to the poets”

6. Trace Peterson - “the other members with my ID”

7. Adeena Karasick - “Salomé” & “one for Johnny”

8. Nicole Sealey - in a sort of chanting song, “the first person who’ll live to be 100 has already been born”

9. Leila Ortiz - “I’m an apocalyptic punta”

10. Jennifer Bartlett - “dear Andrea” & “dear Jen”

11. Rachel Levitsky - “where it goes”

12. Omotara James - “self portrait as a queer block party”

13. Marcella Durand - “the green line the eats Mars” (…and something else)

14. Katy Lederer - “polar bodies” (sort of a sci-fi/surrealist excursion)

15. Lisa Jarnot - “a few more days”

16. Karen Weiser - (this might be something about, or for, Carolina Hershel [sp?], but uncertain)

17. Grey Vild - “M for Tea” (or “M4T” or “M40”—no idea—but might be some sort of appreciation of the guys you’d find on GRINDR, but whatever — really funny)

18. Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib - “…a poem about Popeye’s fried chicken…”

19. Avram Fefer - music

20. Anna Vitale - “it’s you and me”

21. Shelby Cook - “at the end of August”

22. Olivia Grayson - “I agree that the guy is a pretty heavy concept…”

23. Tracey McTague - (something about a trip to be Biblios [sp?] in Lebanon where, perhaps, “unknown goddesses survive”)

24. The Double Yews - this is Eleanor Naumen and Ellie (whose last name I didn’t get) singing, more or less poems, one of which was based on the melody of “Clementine”…

25. Andrew Durbin - “nothing good ever happened to me in Stuyvesant town” (short story)

26. Martha Wilson - as has been her want since the trumpocalypse, she appears in a suit with very long tie, orange makeup, and a bouffant to beat the band. This time, she ‘sings’ two songs: one based on the melody of “tea for two” and the other entitled “the coming of the solid state”

27. Sarah Schulman - this is something she calls a murder mystery… “Five days of July 2017”

28. Elizabeth Willis - “take this poem”

29. Jameson Fitzpatrick - “boys in the woods”

30. Fran DeMusz - “dance with reaper”

31. Jaye Bartell - music

32. Dawn Lundy Martin - (things she’s obsessed with) “mother at 83”

33. Purvi Shah - with reference to being an “anti-colonial revolutionary in India”— “if they ask you who you are, say you are a rebel”

34. Bob Rosenthal - “I want to avoid politics and embrace family…”

35. Don Yorty - song

36. The Washington Squares  -  Best musical cameo, this faux folk group, which dates from 1983, still epitomize 1980s’ meta-referential irony…which we need a lot more of today. As far as can be told, this is three quarters of the original group (composed of various denizens of Post-Punk/New Wave downtown groups) who haven’t played together since 1994 — not that it matters. With acoustic guitars, striped sailor shirts, berets and sunglasses, if they are not the last beatniks on the planet they should be.

37. Tom Savage - “tulip frenzy (for John Ashbury)”

38. Brendan Lorber - “if your house was on fire and you could remove just one thing…” (I also appear to have written “Capt. Ahab in rehab” which I have no explanation)

39. Abigail Child - “we know T word” (or “we no T word”?—which makes less sense, from a manuscript on war)

40. Alan Felsenthal - “the altar of alterity” (unsure of transcription)

41. Camille Rankine - “this is what I do instead of dying”

42. Chia-Lun Chang - “English (is not yours)”

43. Ed Askew Band - music

44. John Godfrey - (Yogi Berra quotes)

45. Jayson P. Smith - (Pisces moon?) “To disembark”

46. Steve Cannon - the legendary founder of the East village performance art poetry/whatever scene called tribes does his thing, this time at the keyboards with a gal on the mike onstage and some other musicians

47. Wo Chan - “at nature”

48. Joey de Jesus - something about HR 4900, with respect to taking over the Puerto Rican economy…

49. M. Lamar  - looking as much like a reincarnation of Prince (circa 1985), Lamar chords the keys and keens and croons

50. Brenda Coultas - “in the poppy fields”

51. Patricia Spears-Jones - perhaps the most political bit today (outside the thing about Puerto Rico) and in a nod to George Carlin, her intro notes the use of “the seven words the CDC says you can’t use…”: The titles are — “the Lacanian Tick[sp?]” and “the curse on us all”

52. Foamola — what more can I say?

53. Gillian McCain -  

54. Chavisa Woods - “seven gifts”

55. DJ Ashtrae - (about utopia)

56. Edmund Berrigan

57. Sensation Play - this is the new Jon S Hall musical experiment

58. Mike Lala - “points of return”

59. Candace Williams - “principles of value” and “black sonnet”

60. Erica Hunt & Marty Ehrlich - for a change, each does their own thing instead of one together, so Erica does “sorrow song” and Marty wails on the sax

61. Farnoosh Fathi - (it might be “dinner to drama in the spiders diaper” but your guess is as good as mine)

62. Joan La Barbara - the legendary vocalist or John Cage lives up to her reputation and defies age

63. Yvonne Rainer - as I recall, she was lip-syncing to a tape of something she’d made but now that I think about it, I can’t remember what

64. Jason Hwang - the master violin player instead of treating us to melody plays with the instrument’s extreme capacities

65. Bruce Andrews & Sally Silvers - the dynamic duo of words in motion maintain the strain, without straining, literally, because for Bruce, is like falling off a log, and for Sally it’s logrolling…

66. CA Conrad - not only does he get the birthday song and celebrate his 30th anniversary of vegetarianism, and come fresh from doing Carol card readings in the back room… But also… “Sounds of extinct animals” (no, I don’t know whether he made them or that was the title; tossup)

67. Edgar Oliver - the poet/playwright of the old East village scene… With a voice that sounds like it was marinated in velvet butter or 1940s Château LaFitte, or something, his eccentric cameos, observed from quotidian experience, freeze-frame a day with uncanny accuracy and insight

68. Jonas Mekas - the fact that he still here is enough for applause, dammit!

69. Joseph Keckler - the Maestro uncorks another miniature of Opera and pop, this time getting a laugh along with the tingle

70. Charity Coleman - “everything’s what you wanted it to be” & “hi, you don’t know me but we are on a transformational journey together”

71. Ariana Reines - “rats”

72. Jennifer Monson - dance

73. Penny Arcade - instead of her usual lament of her lost East village past in the gentrification of the present penny actually sounds happy to still be here

74. Aldrin Valdez - “my grandfather’s photograph”

75. Anne Tardos - “…dedicated to George Orwell…” and is about the aforementioned seven words

76. Elliott Sharp - “I figured the way things are going right now we could all use a little blues so here’s some Mississippi Fred McDowell…” And, of course, he shreds it, as usual

77. Anne Waldman & Fast Speaking Music - “patriarchus (for John Ashbury)” and another number

78. Anselm Berrigan - “poems self-consciously composed of first lines”

79. Masha Tupitsyn - “lost highway” (one of my favorites of the day, a story, yes, but seen in hallucinatory flashes, perhaps what one might see out of a car windscreen while driving through the American West of Disney, Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson…)

80. Yoshiko Chuma - in the old days, I remember there was this composer named Butch who did these things called ‘conductances’. I’m not sure if her as the dancer or the choreographer was more prominent tonight, but I don’t care; she can stand on my piano bench anytime she likes…)

81. John Yau - “if you are over 65” (a reprise from last year and even more howlingly funny)

82. Pierre Joris & Nicole Peyrafitte - so… There is this man (Pierre)…and there’s this bird (Nicole)…and? “tuesday morning cormorant”

83. Yvonne Meier

84. John Giorno - not ageless, but gracefully, does not go gentle into…whatever, this is a reprise, sure, but kinda apt for all that

85. Steve Earle - his autobio is taking forever, true, but if this snippet about the first time meeting Townes Van Zandt and hanging out with him is a fair sample then well worth the wait

86. Tammy Faye Starlite - the queen of scenes is on a Rolling Stones kick right now (having seen her elsewhere do both "You Got the Silver" and "Cocksucker Blues") and so goes the vamp sans amp (acoustic accompaniment by Steve) of "Sympathy for the Devil" (which may or may not apply as social commentary, as you may)