Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Chris Stroffolino and his band CONTINUOUS PEASANT make the East Coast tour!!!! 

(posted here by CAConrad, the following is from their press release)

Moral Values Tour 2005

This summer, Continuous Peasant is touring the U.S. and Canada
to support our second album, INTENTIONAL GROUNDING,
due for release in late June on Good Forks Records
http://www.goodforks.com; or http://www.continuouspeasant.com

June 5 @ The Manhattan Room
Philadelphia, PA
w/Adam Arcuragi, David Copenhafer
9 p.m.

The band will also be doing shows in Blatimore, Brooklyn, Albany and Cambridge. AND, Chris Stroffolino will be giving a poetry reading June 8th at St. Mark's Poetry Project in NY.

Friday, May 27, 2005


Please read this and tell others!

This was sent to me by Nicole McEwan, and contains pages of continuously updated information and news items surrounding the scandal. Take time to browse the categories, including the one marked NEWS, which collects all and any articles written on the memo, including any Washington responses to the memo (or should we say Washington deflections?). This is especially helpful for those who still believe the war was (is) okay.

The TAKE ACTION section is very thorough and helpful.

Also, go to the very bottom of the page where you can find a flyer in Adobe which you can download. It's very small, in red, and says, "Go here for images to use in linking to this site." It's a really good flyer!


Thanks Nicole.

posted by CAConrad

Thursday, May 26, 2005


This is the first time I've posted a poem to our blog, but I have this new one that I'm pretty sure is finished. You don't need to know this, but I want to tell it, and that is that "the end of suffering" is something I remember my grandfather saying when I was a kid. In fact my memory of him is very much part of this poem.

When I was a kid (9 and 10) I spent a good part of the summer in Iowa with my mother's family, and I spent as much time as I could around my grandfather. He and his buddies from work were always drinking beer and fixing cars, and constantly talking about the DuPont factory where they worked. There was one conversation I remember quite well, one fellow bitching about the union dues, and my grandfather lit into him, talking about what their lives were like before the union. He referred to the day they finally got their hard-won union as the end of suffering.

And I remember my grandfather talking to me about what you do and don't do at work, and how you need your union, and how you need to preserve space in your life to relax. And how you MAKE your employer give you proper compensation for your time because your time is precious, and time at work is time away from your family and friends. And I think about all the different things he told me (I could go on and on for pages about him and the things he said), but what this poem is about is the disappearance of my grandfather's structures.

This poem is a sudden step back, gasping at everything that's gone now for workers in this country. My grandfather simply wouldn't believe it if you woke him from his grave. He was SO CONVINCED that working people had made their mark for good! He was CERTAIN that people had learned how to share and be there for one another.

I'm not saying that this poem is for my grandfather, because he wouldn't want it, just like he wouldn't want this world we now have. We've only just started to live in this new world with all the exoskeletal securities stripped away, and it's clear that Social Security is the obvious next cut of meat to be taken. There's not a week that goes by that I don't talk with someone else who is just as surprised and unsure of what to do as I am. And there's also not a week that goes by where I don't speak with someone who is in complete denial of what we've lost, and continue to lose every single day in this country.

These things are also always on my mind lately because I'm in an anthology coming out next month called EVERYTHING I HAVE IS BLUE. It's a groundbreaking anthology, a collection of writing by and about working class gay men. More and more I see how important this anthology is when I see the queer community looking like a permanent Key West holiday. We are living in a time where invisibility of the true faces is the norm, and I feel like doing nothing but fighting that invisibility factor.

Signal and Sway
by CAConrad

and we
get to

concentration has
the Love even
saying Magic with

i fail the
end of
with you

bought 10 years
ago by
younger man
same name


teeth ahead

an invitation
to the fist

so adorable
looking for

excuse me
i meant to
say fuck you

knives coming
down when
you’re trying
to eat it

is it the
emotional distance
of the waitress
you come for?

aria of snail
ticking smaller
in the sound
breathing louder
in the light

how long
can we believe
this world
belongs to us?

is it a
toilet or
grave being

he answers
by asking
is it a cartoon
or fiction?

Sunday, May 22, 2005


(all information below is from the hard working folks at THE GLOBAL WOMEN'S STRIKE)

Did you know that Bush's "No Child Left Behind Act" requires schools to give students' home phone numbers & addresses to the military and that you have the right to Opt Out – refuse to have the school release that info?

Be part of a growing national movement to Opt Out!

A community dialogue to launch a grassroots campaign to let students and parents know our right to "Opt Out" & to demand that money for war and prisons go instead to caregivers, youth and communities!

Monday May 23
Tabernacle United Church, 3700 Chestnut St. W. Phila
$3-$10 requested donation - No one turned away / Refreshments / Childcare & translation available

Keynote speaker Margaret Prescod anti-war, women’s rights & Black community activist; part of historic NYC fight for community control of schools; Pacifica Radio/LA host; US co-coordinator, Global Women's Strike

Panel of students, parents, military families, vets & others featuring Chester parents and students who kicked out Edison Corp. from running their schools; Montclair NJ students who got 80% of parents to opt out.

Video clips from Military Myths (by ROOTS & Paper Tiger TV) and Refusing to Kill (by Payday)

Speak Out: End the Twin Terrors of Poverty & War Raise your concerns, find out about saying NO to ROTC & other military recruitment; the “poverty draft” targeting youth of color, women & other low income communities; conditions in schools; the criminalization of survival; US efforts to destabilize Venezuela; US/ UN occupation of Haiti. Get sample Opt Out forms.

Coordinated by: Global Women's Strike/Phila, Payday (Refusing to Kill) Co-sponsors: AWOL Magazine, Central Ctte for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO), Every Mother is a Working Mother Network, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), National Youth & Militarism Program of AFSC, Survivors Take Action Against Abuse by Military Personnel (STAAAMP) Endorsers: Brandywine Peace Community, Centro Juan Antonio Corretjer, Centro Pedro Claver, Community Youth Organizing Cmpn, Military Families Speak Out, Peace Action Del Valley, Phila Student Union, PRAWN, Queers for Peace & Justice, Women's International League for Peace & Freedom/Phila

(POSTED by CAConrad)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

(CAConrad) saw this on Craig's List today and thought you or someone you know might be able to participate...interesting project. 

I'm a recent graduate of Temple University's Creative Writing Program and am seeking stories about others or your individual experiences with the condition known as 'synesthesia.' If you or someone you know has this condition, please e-mail me with your stories asap. To be brief, 'synesthesia' is basically the condition where one's senses are crossed or overlap, and so an individual is able to say, taste numbers or colors, hear color or shapes-- etc., there are many different types. The idea of the project is to investigate 'synesthesia' as a new or alternate way of thinking with regard to its relationship between consciousness and emotion. I'm very intrigued by synesthetic perception and what it can contribute to a new 'sense' of poetics. I hope you will help this project expand by sending me your stories of others or personal experiences with this condition. The condition is fairly rare, but I wanted to put it out to the community of Philadelphia in the hopes of flagging down or bringing these stories/insights forth. Please e-mail me yours and either include your name, the name of the individual you speak of, or both (if applicable) and send to:
Thank you so much for contributing to this poetry project, and I will keep you updated on its growth!
Karen Hannah

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Mix of . . . . 

First I wanted everyone to know that Joseph Massey's amazing EUREKA SLOUGH is now available for sale! I read the book before it was a book, and have to say that beautiful design and cover by Wendy Heldmann do their work at bringing the poems up to the senses. Way to go Joe!

Second... recently Will Esposito and Lauren Ireland mentioned I should check out the latest issue of the BOSTON REVIEW to read DOROTHEA LASKY'S poems. Thanks Will and Lauren, because you know how much we all enjoyed hearing Dorothea read at that final, and memorable La Tazza reading.

(have to admit that when I picked up a copy of the BOSTON REVIEW I cringed(!) seeing all the articles on religion, faith, blah blah blah. And mostly I cringed because I knew I'd read them, and fume! And so I have been! The best so far --or so it seems to me-- is the one by Lew Daly, "COMPASSION CAPITAL." But I just have to say, in light of all the infuriating conversation (or should I call it apology?) on Howard Dean's insistence for a Pro-Life Democratic plan, that I for one AIN'T buying it! NO WAY! And I'll tell you WHY! Because ALL of the homophobia I have personally endured over the years, and the many MANY stories from other queers have almost always been at the hands of Born Again Christians. When I first heard president Bush DARE say that those of faith have endured prejudice I wanted to scream, go running down the streets screaming, seriously, screaming! I mean, hey, no one's feeding you to the lions, now GET OUT OF MY GOVERNMENT! I'm not interested, now, or EVER, in participating in a calm discussion of these matters. There has been TOO MUCH violence, death, suicide or otherwise, for anyone to be forgiven at this point. It's bad enough I have to hear my family talk about Jesus every chance they get, I'm NOT putting up with an illegitimate president and his ridiculous constituency (or should I say congregation?)! Some of the most hateful, cruel people I have ever met are born again christians.) (as an aside from this aside, Mary Kalyna from the Global Women's Strike has just recently told me that the president's faith-based teen program on abstinence has (surprise, surprise) the HIGHEST rate of teen pregnancy in the country. More than the Planned Parenthood programs, birth control, self-esteem programs, etc.)

Third... latest issue of THE HAT is out! #6 and I'm not letting you know because I'm in it, but because I just received my contributor's copy and can't put it down! Such an honor to be published with so many fantastic poets! By the way, a gorgeous chunk of Magdalena Zurawski's brilliant book is in this issue as well, piece called "A Drugstore Comb." It's 200 pages and very much worth the $12! I'm reading it as if I were reading an anthology, and not unhappy with a single page yet (I'm in the middle of Maggie Nelson's poems, page 130 or so).


Friday, May 13, 2005

Springtide at the ICA 

The Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia has two new exhibts currently on display. One is a retrospective of the artist Richard Pettibone and the other exhibt features five artist in a show called Springtide.

To reflect on the works in the Springtide exhibition, five poets Susan Stewart, Alan Gilbert, Nick Flynn, Sharon Mesmer, and myself each wrote a new poem after the work of one of the artists in the show.

Here is the link of the poems Poetry Inspired by Springtide

Here is the link to my poem on work by Troy Brauntuch: Tom Devaney.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

say hello to the REAL Howard Dean!!!!!!! 

For about a month now I have been telling this story while giving poetry readings, most recently in San Francisco at the New Langton Arts Center.

It's 100% true by the way, and I say this because people always come up and ask if I'm SURE about this. Am I really SURE!?

About a month ago my friend Janet Mason was asked to be part of a group of women in Philadelphia to discuss the future of the Democrats with Howard Dean. She called me up after this meeting with great alarm in her voice. I had to ask her to repeat what she said, because it just didn't seem possible.

He literally said to this group of women in Philadelphia, "The Democrats must become a Pro-Life party in order to survive."

Wow. Take that into focus. It's a creepy thing to absorb, once you start to really examine all that this can entail in the way of sweeping aside so much hard won freedom.

"must become"

Really? "must become" ?

Who the HELL does that man think he is!? Coming to Philadelphia and saying this to women!

Benjamin Franklin was in his print shop in this same city more than two centuries ago, printing pages of the encyclopedia in the newspaper. While printing the A's he printed a segment on "Abortion." A group of feisty foremothers confronted him, telling him that Abortion is women's business. Not men's, but women's! (I know there's controversy that he made this up, and/or paraphrased the argument later, but whatever, someone said it....)

Howard Dean needs to acquaint himself with the voices of this country's foremothers. Frankly, Howard Dean can go to Hell, because I'm through, once and for all with his weak party.

Actually I feel I have not needed a last straw for Howard Dean and his pathetic party, but for those who HAVE needed a last straw, is this it?

Is it time for a third party, finally? A real third party? A party interested in confronting the many facts of how the environment is being devastated. That basic human needs in this country and abroad are becoming more and more difficult to attain. That raising yet another generation on the war machine has nothing but ghosts to offer, and more denial of suffering.

A third party who will openly discuss how Western values of efficiency are bringing us to the brink of emotional, spiritual, and creative starvation. The more efficient we become, the more brutal, it can be seen layer upon layer in the way we conduct ourselves across the globe.

Not for one second am I going to believe that this country is populated by stupid people. No way! The opposite is true. People, all kinds of people who are Americans are seriously being pushed to the edge of their patience with the conditions being created by a culture whose economy is based on survival by consumption, and all the political, human and other animal action and suffering which must go into such a system in order for that system to survive.

We can find our way OUT of this recklessness, but we can no longer fool ourselves and expect anything from Howard Dean and his sheep called the Democrats.

An opposing force needs strength and total belief in what is possible. A creative flip for the whole fucking mess to be given a new perspective. Nothing but brutal honesty of our brutality.

This third party already exists in the hearts and minds of millions and millions. Its shape is all that is needed.

Eternally optimistic,

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Universal Mother 

Hey Conrad,

Thanks for posting that "mom's salary index" link - I've been daydreaming about the $682.32 it claims I earn each week as a "mom." As for why slick newsguys would do that story... I mean, it's just a little "fun" story once-a-year, right? It's not like they're actually advocating universal health care - or even mandatory free health care for children - or something wacky like decent maternity (or paternity) leave in this country. That's the beauty of family values in this country - the government doesn't do much to actually support even their own narrow conception of family. We may get to write off $2000 a year as parents at taxtime, but boy, is that money gone a dozen times over before you blink an eye. Even when you're insured - which we are, thankfully - there are a million ways to be screwed over in terms of health care and beyond.

Speaking of mothers... My Babies' Mama has new work in How2. Check it out.

Chris McC

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Today I received two new books from Faux Press: Brandon Downing's Dark Brandon and David Larsen's The Thorn. Flipping through the books I can see both using graphic elements: hand writing, images (both look great) I can't wait to read them -- two writers I can't get enough of. Hats off and thanks to editor and publisher Jack Kimball!

On the back of Larsen's book the text reads:



Sunday, May 08, 2005


It's amazing how much unpaid labor mothers do for raising the future. After my flight home yesterday Frank and Heather picked me up, I had a bite to eat, then fell asleep, only to wake up in time for the late news featuring Mother's Day.

Channel 10 last night estimated that each mother does more than 130,000 dollars worth of unpaid work each year. WOW! That's amazing! For all you mothers reading this, here's a chart to figure out your own unpaid salary: Mom's Salary Index

It was almost SHOCKING to hear this report coming out of slick television reporters. It's a radical idea, it being a perspective which could realign an entire page filled with other perspectives. What are you worth? What are we worth? Are we allowed to know? Are we allowed to want our worth met? Can we ask for certain funds to be diverted? Like military spending for instance? Instead of killing people mothers have loved and raised, why not fund mothers instead? And writers and painters....

Is there not enough? Is there really and truly NOT enough that we can't share?

When the Global Women's Strike brought Nora Castaneda here from Venezuela, she was very clear to point out just how much unpaid work women do in this world. She helped institute a Social Security plan for house work and child care in her own country. And it's the only country this side of the Atlantic to do so successfully, with (democratically elected!) president Hugo Chavez backing the plan 100%!

Read an interview with Nora Castaneda: GWS Castaneda Interview

Read an additional page from the Global Women's Strike on Mothers: GWS on Mothers

Just days ago I was visiting my sister Rhonda and beautiful new niece Kendell Sky (one month old now). They are in Los Angeles, and my sister had just read a newspaper article on an alarming new study about the high levels of jet fuel in breast milk of mothers living in Los Angeles. How can we keep letting this world be taken for granted? We're like fish in a tank that's been slowly filling with shit and it's not being cleaned, not being cared for, ever, just filling with more and more shit. There's jet fuel in breast milk. I mean, there's jet fuel in breast milk. What I really mean is, there's jet fuel in breast milk.

And I fucking thought seriously about jet fuel in breast milk as my fucking plane was taking off and I have a sister breast feeding below! This is so fucking crazy! Tiny babies are drinking jet fuel, I mean...!

Rhonda and I were also talking about our mother shoplifting the entire time we were kids, and why she did it:

a) because she didn't have enough money.
b) because she was angry.

My mother wasn't a perfect mother, but she did provide for us, and would do so any way she could when times were tough. And she was pissed off that food cost so much, so she'd put a sirloin in her oversized shoulder bag, etc.

When I was a teen, and really started to understand what she was doing I would think about her bag, and how much "unpaid" food had gone into it. And I also liked to imagine her picking out the bag in Woolworths or wherever she bought it, looking at it, liking the color, but especially happy it was big enough for a canned ham.

Once when I was very young and saw her stealing some meat I asked her why she was stealing, and she answered that you can't steal food. That it's impossible to steal something we all need to survive. When I still didn't get it she said that if we had to pay for the air it would be the same thing. I remember taking a deep, deep breath, which seemed the thing to do.

Moms shoplifting food should be overlooked. I think every mothers day that moms should be allowed to go into the grocery store, load up carts of food and not have to pay. And law enforcement officers should be in the store the night before, to make certain the grocery store owners don't hide all the expensive cuts of meat, or fancy mustard.

Hey, we pay teachers in the school system, why not mothers, everyone's first teacher? This could be the beginning of a long list of who gets paid for what when moms don't, and if we all think about it we know it's true.

Happy Mother's Day,

Friday, May 06, 2005

the guns that haunted her.... 

Hi. I'm in San Francisco right now at Maggie Zurawski's apartment. Her tiny poodle sitting near me (this dog is so sweet until you get him around other dogs...he finds the LARGEST dog he can, presses against him/her and growls a battle growl...hehehehehe, it's so damned funny!)

Yesterday I read with Wendy Kramer, which was much fun. Also a great party after where all kinds of San Francisco poets came to drink Kate's (Maggie's terrific new girlfriend) Cinco de Mayo punch!

(there are so many dynamite poets and others here I wish San Francisco was just a short bus trip from Philadelphia...)

Before the reading however we went to the SFMOMA to see the Robert Bechtle show, which was wonderful, but it was the unexpected JEREMY BLAKE: WINCHESTER exhibit that blew me away. Blew me away, the guns of ....

It's an extraordinary trilogy of films playing simultaneously about Sarah L. Winchester, heir to the Winchester guns manufacturing fortune. She was SO convinced the spirits of the dead killed by her family's weapons were haunting her that she had secret passages and rooms built into her house where she could escape. The actual house with all its secret hideaways is an hour outside San Francisco, and I'd like to visit one day but it's $30 to take the tour (that's just crazy!)!

How can I possibly do this film justice here? Oh, you know what I can't, but I'll tell you, I need to know WHY Sam Sheppard kept appearing on the 3rd (far right screen).

The 1st (far left screen) would have the house appear with sudden silhouettes of men and long guns, which would then shimmer and fade into the wood. This was truly creepy. The creep factor extended beyond horror films, since you are always aware that this family fortune was responsible for untold numbers of life taken. Sarah L. Winchester was not able to easily enjoy the mountains of money....

A man would appear with a bullet hole in his forehead, and a sudden stream of light would zig zag out of the wound and his eyes would fill with light. Soldiers would appear with dozens of bullet holes, these holes also streaming beams of light until they were a braid of disturbing brightness which would break into old cartoon characters shooting one another.

The idea of guilt from true blood money, and the awful beauty of transmorphing into light out of murder has never been translated quite so ... quite so what? It's an amazing piece of work. I wish I could see it over and over to focus on each screen ... but you get used to moving your eyes from one large screen to the other.

So happy to have seen this,

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Sharing Stories About Car Sharing in today's Inquirer 

Bravo to Emily Missner for her article in today's Philadelphia Inquirer on car sharing and specificallyPhillyCarShare. Link to Emily's article here -- CARSHARING.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Which way does your beard point tonight? 

Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an
hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?

(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the super-
market and feel absurd.)

Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees
Add shade to the shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely.

Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue
Automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?

Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what
America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you
Got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear
On the black waters of Lethe?

From the last section of A.G.’s "A Supermarket in California."

Reading more Ginsberg tonight. --TD

Monday, May 02, 2005

Re: Ginsberg Again 

Hey Chris, thanks for asking. I'm in L.A. right now with my sister and newborn niece, which is turning out to be a marvelous visit.

Anyway, I'm doing a little email and also wanted to see if anything new was on the blog. Thanks again to everyone who participated in the Ginsberg Q&A.

But Chris to your question:
as far as articles, etc., no, none that I know of. As you can see from Caroline Bergval and Maria Gillan, it's something being talked about quite a bit right now though.

My own experiences have been with individuals, as well as hearing stories. Well, hearing Maria Gillan talk while giving a reading in Philadelphia set my hair on fire. Her contribution to the Q&A were somewhat diplomatic --moreso than when I first heard her talk about this-- but I'm very glad she participated since her experience was direct from Naropa. Maybe one day (I'm sure it's coming) there will be written remarks (our PhillySound maybe one of the first) on this subject of Ginsberg. The heat that's building seems to be spreading, which is why I wanted to do this in the first place.

I'm glad too for the range of comments and opinions. It's my own personal opinion (as I've already made clear in my own entry to the Q&A) that most of what I hear is garbage, plain and simple. I am not convinced, and at this point doubt very much I will ever be convinced, that Ginsberg was the monster some want us to believe he was. Corso maybe, but not Ginsberg.

The one common remark being made since this Q&A post appeared is that we need to focus on Ginsberg's work, not all this bio. Okay, but this is important, in order to clear the way. Most especially if charges are being made against him which cannot be supported.

It must not have been easy being Ginsberg. I don't believe he ignored people except for the fact of needing some peace and quiet. When I heard him read in Philly years ago the tugging and pulling at him after the reading lasted longer than the reading. Anyway....


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