Saturday, May 31, 2008

interview with PhillySound poet Ish Klein 

(self portrait photo of Ish Klein)

When I finally win the lottery I so faithfully play each week to feel connected to my white trash family, my friends will still remain my greatest fortune. Sounds corny you say? I don't care! My friends are a highly energized creative bunch of fucking geniuses who stay up all night bent over their pads of paper, hammers, paint, and whatever it is they drink and smoke to keep attuned. I'm with them on all accounts, and feel an almost morbid devotion to our lives, but it's good and Loving! The drive to tax our creative cells and transmorph shit into gold is what's the better part of coming to this warring, greedy, murderous planet. FLIP THE SWITCH ON!

Ish Klein is a dear friend who tirelessly CREATES! Films, puppets, poems, sewing, hammering, creating solar systems in her kitchen with string and metal strung over the cabinets and table. I'm a fan of everything she does! She slowly moulds puppets from scraps of garbage, and gives them names, and lives with them, developing their personalities and tastes in music and food. Her dedication is surreal in the best sense of the word, meaning Super Real. The Real-Real, I like to think. (Something Cid Corman and I argued about more than once, he thinking Fantasy, me thinking The Authentic World!) She then builds them a set design and films them into life, these films which always excite their audience!

She's honest and candid, and this makes for GODDAMNED GOOD interviewing! I'm sure you'll enjoy learning more about one of my beautiful, amazing friends in true sanity, ISH KLEIN!

SPRING 2008, Philadelphia!

Ish you make puppets which eventually wind up in the films you make. You make them by hand from things you find on the street, and other places where people are discarding fabric, buttons, etc. How do you connect with your father in this, considering that he made a living as a garbage man when you were a kid?

Yes. It's true I make puppets with stuff that I find or with old clothes that have worn out.

My dad was a garbage man and then he fixed garbage trucks and eventually he would sell garbage trucks. My world has always been comprised of beloved so-called trash.

I guess I developed an appreciation for discarded objects through him because he'd always come home with this or that and say, "the stuff people throw away, tsk, tsk, tsk." He seemed to care about metal objects.

He would like to find bicycles and parts for machines; he is a Car Freak and as such was always looking in junk yards for parts and stuff. He was riding bikes with my sister once and had her be the lookout while he hopped a fence for a distributor cap (or some such thing). He got arrested and my sister had to call my mom. Apparently he mouthed off to the policewoman who pursued him. I admire his commitment to completing machines. I like to find missing pieces to things. I'm good at finding things that people need or have lost or want.

He was/is committed to machines, older machines but I like to make animals. That's a difference. I love animals. And I am interested in spiritualizing matter. I love the puppets, I'm making a kingdom for them.

The cast-off world is the freest one. Nobody powerful is paying attention so you can do what you want.

That is what I like and love. It connects me with him. It's one of many connections we have.

Your latest puppet creation is exciting, a dolphin named Herman Silica. The dorsal fin of a dolphin helps stabilize swimming, but with your dolphin there is a patch of jewels in place of the dorsal fin. Do you mind telling us about these jewels? Where did you find all the pieces to create him, and any films in mind for him to star in yet?

These jewels represent the ten spheres or planets with their corresponding colors. 1=crown (white), 2=wisdom (silver, grey), 3=understanding (indigo), 4=mercy (blue), 5=severity/will (red), 6=beauty/love (yellow), 7=eternity (green), 8=Splendour (orange), 9=foundation (purple), 10=Kingdom/earth (green, brownish red, brownish blue, and black).

I found 3 of these beads on 21st street; they were on a piece of a broken charm bracelet. The other stuff I just found on my travels when I'm looking down. They are qualities that Herman possesses and shares. There is a mirror in his mouth so that everyone can see themselves in him.

Yes he is slated to be in a new movie, he will be a sky guide for Mir and Kosmi (my two spacedogs) Dottie Lasky is going to help me make the video. I don't know exactly what the plot will be. Maybe it will be a wild ride through the strings and membranes of space. I'm not sure yet because I'm still making the set in my apartment.

It makes me happy that you and Dorothea Lasky are making a film together, two of my favorite artists and poets! It's also a perfect match because you both have a similar sense of the world and the fantastic.

Another similarity is that you both have unusual voices, both on the high side. And you both have gotten a lot of shit about your voices from others over the years, sometimes from other "artists", accusing you both of being childish for the way you sound. I know you're familiar with the attacks Dottie received MERE DAYS after her first book was published, attacks from self-proclaimed "feminists" who didn't attack her work or her book, but THE SOUND OF HER VOICE, saying that she was childish, and this led them to claim that her voice was attracting the wrong kind of men, and that she didn't know how to behave herself around men. It was incredibly vicious and stupid, and wound up saying nothing real about Dottie. In fact in the end it said volumes more about the limitations and mindless brutality of her attackers, not to mention the obvious envy and jealousy, attacking her right after the release of her first book.

Tell us about your experiences with your voice and being attacked for it, BUT ALSO TELL US about how amazing your voice has been for you! Your voice truly is a unique experience, and you're doing voice-over work. You're proof that being different can sometimes be nothing but a gift!

Well, it's true that people have made fun of my voice pretty much since I can remember, for some reason I never processed that my voice was all the off beat, so I took it personally. I absorbed that fact that the world is full of mean people who will reject you for whatever reason. I also absorbed, unfortunately, that I am somehow a bad person who inspires meanness in others. Those are two by-products of ridicule: self-doubt and alienation.

Nowadays I tell myself that if someone mocks me for something I can't control it's just their own limited self that can't deal with anomalies or let wild things grow and I think it's too bad for them. I do not want to be a replicant, my goal is to actually be myself. Replicant mindsets oppress me.

Regarding recent developments in connecting with my voice: I like to voice my puppets. When I see them in a video and they have my voice I like my voice because I love my puppets. Also I've been singing more. I like to sing at work, ("Get Happy" songs from "The Fantasticks", various Kinks songs etc.) and I sing when I ride my bike and stuff like that. Freedom activities.

You have an episode of your You Tube show THE BOO SHOW where you read, "I'M AMAZING, I'M A FIREMAN!" one of my favorite poems! That's the episode with Superdog I believe.

Tell us about THE BOO SHOW and how the concept came to you. And please tell us too about your amazing crew of friends who help produce the show.

Thank you! The Boo Show was created with the intention of sharing things that I find completely inspiring. It's for everyone absolutely everyone but I hope for the show to be a comfort or companion to people who may feel all alone. Boo! is like a ghost sound or a little friend or a shock. Mainly it's a fun time. I have a fun time.

Scott R. Johnston, pretty much my best friend, does all the lights and sound and camera stuff and he edits it. Andrew Geller helps with mysterious technical stuff and he is the wise old young person who bails us out. Marc Brodzik of Woodshop Films lets us use his studio and equipment. It's his world, we just appear and vanish and pay him back with our love. He is a lovable man. We're all kind of an extended family.

Each of us is committed to our own art. Scott is a burlesque luminary and he also makes videos and draws and brings people together, Andrew is a super talented editor and he shoots rock bands and Marc is an artist (painting and design) and is angling to be a media mogul.

I met Marc and Andrew through Scott. The Historical Meetings. The place was an actual wood shop back then. Scott and I used to visit Marc. As I recall it seemed like there was always a motorcross video on. There was a bit where this guy broke his teeth riding and his friend had to pull out the stumps with pliers. I don't know why I'm bringing that up. Maybe it has something to do with friends helping each other out.

You and Scott were also in the MUSICAL EXTRAVAGANZA Spidermania! Tell us about this. It was one of my favorite musicals of all time, and I LOVE musicals! The costumes and music were terrific! You wrote your own lines I think? It's something I've talked about with friends who love musicals, and they WANT TO SEE IT. Will it be playing anytime again, soon, you think?

Yes. Beth Kellner is a huge fan of Spiderman. She and Scott are a couple and they merged their talents and came up with Spidermania. It played at Saint Marins and the Fringe Festival last year, I think it was last year. I'm glad you liked it, it was a magical time, it had everything: videos, burlesque, Jimi Mooney singing, Beth singing, a Big Band and wild fight scenes.

There is a dvd of it floating around. There were also videos that were made specifically for the show and I think they are on myspace or youtube. Maybe if you Google Spidermania they will appear. Beth and Scott did all the costumes and there was Jay Davidson's big band. It was really quite an event.

Yes, I wrote some of the stuff for the Spiderman Roast and I was also the Vulture who is a mutant (I'm not sure if the Vulture is a super hero, it's unclear to me.) I will ask Beth and Scott if they plan to post Spidermania on Youtube.

Beth is working on two different projects one called "Kroftwerks" and a Spock Opera so I don't know if she's going to revive the show. But who knows? if there's public demand, it could easily be revived.

Tell us what you're now working on? And also please tell us about your newly finished, beautiful long poem UNION! It's in three parts: one in water, one on land, one in air.

Right now I'm trying to put together some type of narrative for Herman, Kosmi and Mir. And I'm working on poems and trying to stay inspired.

Thank you for liking Union! It's not really one poem. Each poem is sort of a step towards Union! It's really more of a desire for Union! It begins in water because of times when I thought I was drowned but I came back to life. It ends with the poem Act I: Against Death. That poem is a reminder that I am a result of other forces beyond my ego and they have some ownership of my territory.

I recently read that to transcend death one must become an animal (I think) because animals do not seem to know they are going to die. I don't know how this can be proved but I have been just experimenting with imagining myself as an animal where I have magic strength and am at home in the wild with God. So I guess that's another thing I'm working on: changing into a new animal.

Where did you read that "animals do not seem to know they are going to die"? The opposite has always seemed to be true to me, and it's been my experience that they are more in touch with the natural process of death than we human animals. The very fact that animals live in fear of death from predators. Or how dogs for instance will go into the woods to die alone, knowing they are dying. When I was a kid growing up in the country we had an old dog who did that, and it was explained to me that she knew she was dying and wanted to be alone. And the pigs on my aunt's farm took it hard when watching a piglet die, I remember that well. There are so many stories I've heard about animals knowing death was coming, or how they acted upon finding a dead cub or other member of the flock, herd, family. I'm just curious about this information you say, only because it's been in my interest in my life to learn from animals about HOW TO die. I feel as a human animal that I'm a bit handicapped for death's approach. Death pisses me off, and will piss me off while I'm dying, I'm sure.

I mis-paraphrased it. Here is the quote from the book Green Hermeticism: Alchemy and Ecology, "Art is possession by animal spirits. If consciousness itself arises from an awareness of death unknown to animals, then all human culture must begin with the magic of becoming animal to defeat death."

I guess the assertion is debatable.

Probably animals are not preoccupied with death as humans are and maybe they do not question the validity of their behavior as humans do (I don't think that's bad). I'm sure animals know when they are going to die.

As an aside, do you know if Mercury is still in retrograde and/or where I could find out this information?

Thanks for clearing that up about the quote, and Mercury will be retrograde May 26th to June 19th. There are online calendars for retrograde schedules. The one I turn to the most is Astro Profile because they take the time to consult the ephemeris as deeply as possible, not just showing the actual retrograde cycle, but also which days leading up to and following the cycle are most vulnerable, and they even highlight in red the erratic days. Many people FEAR Mercury Retrograde, and while I don't look forward to it because arguments and drama can be draining, it's a time when I know I try to be quiet. Trying to be quiet doesn't always work of course, but, it's at least a time for us to build on listening, and thinking before speaking, something most of us need (I KNOW I DO!). ALSO, it's a time to WRITE! Lots of writing, endless writing it seems, can be done during this cycle.

Tell us about your Love for Philadelphia, from being someone who has lived in different places. What inspires you most about our city?

I am inspired by the friends I've met here. I moved here with my friend John; we needed an affordable place, we'd come lastly from Chelsea outside of East Boston which was a bit of a crack neighborhood at the time. It had it's good points (an old timer community who invited us into their piano bar, what a great place that was!) but too many things were happening that were threatening our lives and happiness.

Before that I lived in Tuscon Arizona, before that Paris, before that Iowa City, before that Queens, before that rural Tennessee before that Brooklyn, before that New York City and before that Long Beach New York. They all have good qualities and I guess I kind of feel formed most by the New York of the eighties but that place doesn't exist anymore.

Philadelphia is where I came into what I would consider my own power. So you can see I'm a late bloomer, I've heard that this is what happens in adolescence but for me it was in the mid (and post mid) thirties where you feel like the things you do will result a desired effect as opposed to living life as a death sentence; serving time instead of having time serve you. All this stuff happened in Philadelphia! And plus my friend John has also come into his own as a great comic book artist and has found an incredible partner so there is magic here; it stands to reason.


readers for this JUNE 9TH event include Monica McIntyre, Maleka Fruean, CAConrad, Victoria Pearson, Gweny Love, ALL DETAILS HERE! (posted by CAConrad)

Bob Perelman's "JOKE!" 

The recent Jerome Rothenberg event in Philadelphia is where he told his "joke" about younger poets, and you can listen or watch (MP3 or video) at this link:


You will want to use the link to the second day for the Rothenberg conversation and Q&A with Al Filries. Perelman appears about three quarters through, or more. BUT PLEASE LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE CONVERSATION AND Q&A, it's TERRIFIC! (In particular I liked Lee Ann Brown’s question for Rothenberg, you’ll want to hear this entire event!)

But when Bob Perelman tells his "joke" Rothenberg is talking about the fact that having been involved with poetry for a very long time that it's hard for him to keep in touch with everything that’s going on now. He then says to Perelman sitting close by that after his own generation, and Bob's generation, that the newer poets… And then Bob finishes Rothenberg’s sentence for him with, "--you mean that they all write alike!"

I was sitting in that room with the rest of the audience. There was a gasp, and I know that it wasn't my gasp alone!

Rothenberg then shakes his head and laughs nervously and says NO NO NO NO, they don’t all write alike, that's not what I'm saying!

And then Al Filreis says, "You heard it here first, Bob Perelman says you all write alike, that's P-E-R-E-L-M-A-N."

Bob takes the microphone at that point, and the first thing he says is that he was just JOKING when he said younger poets all write alike. Then it's forgotten.

But not forgotten.

I remember very clearly the tone he used, which is why it was an arrow strike. But maybe that WAS part of the "joke." ? I listened to it again online just the other night, and it was pretty much fashioned like a quick, pointed statement.

Could it be that the reaction he was feeling from the rest of the audience, and Rothenberg's reaction, and Filreis's reaction, made him turn it into a joke?

Am I accusing Bob Perelman of lying? Well, maybe a white lie. A save-face lie.

BUT MAYBE HE'S NOT LYING. OK, maybe it WAS a joke.

Let's suppose it WAS a joke. HOW is such a joke funny, and who was it funny for I ask? Why would it be funny? Is it funny because it's something he has heard before and he DOES NOT AGREE with it but is MOCKINGLY saying younger poets all write alike IN DEFENSE of younger poets?

Is Bob Perelman the GREAT champion of younger poets? Is he coming to the rescue by making a joke of the joke of others who are ACTUALLY NOT joking?

And who are these others, if there are others?

Hmmm. Who is saying such things in Perelman's presence that would upset him so much he feels compelled to joke TO DEFEND YOUNGER POETS!? Is Bob Perelman thinking, "Well, they’re simply NOT reading younger poets if they think THAT!"

Because clearly, in my mind, SOMEONE is NOT reading younger poets if they think that, because I read a lot of poets my age and younger, and there's NO WAY I would ever say we're all writing alike! But WHO is thinking this, and saying this out loud in front of Bob Perelman? We need to THANK Bob of course for making that "joke" on our behalf. AND SO PUBLICLY I want add, into a microphone while the video camera and sound equipment was mowing down his sound particles to SEND HIS BRAVE message to those who would DARE attack the younger poets!

What is ACTUALLY funny about the joke for me is how over the years I've defended Bob and his friends when people have said that the LANGUAGE Poets all write alike. This is something I've heard consistently. I heard it when I was a teenager before I knew who they were and what they were thinking and writing. Lucky for me I've always been someone who wants to check out what everyone is being such a Hater about.

Eventually I had read enough and was prepared enough to confront this statement, "What are you talking about!? Who have you read!? What have you read!?" Not once did one of these parrots have an answer which led me to believe that they had ACTUALLY read a single LANGUAGE Poet! They were merely repeating some bullshit statement their bullshit poetry workshop leaders (who ALSO I'M SURE did not read ANYTHING by a single LANGUAGE Poet!) had said.

BECAUSE, REALLY, if you think they all write alike have you actually READ THEM? If you sat down with poems by Armantrout, Silliman, Pearson, and Hejinian, and there were no names on the poems, you would know who wrote what, or at least would notice these to be four very distinct voices. Poetry is a tea party to some, it seems! A fancy luxury instead of indispensable investigation! I say it seems to be this to those who would make such ridiculous statements about LANGUAGE Poets for being LAZY readers and half-assed, half-interested poets! And now I also say it to those ill-read gossips behind Bob Perelman's "joke."

In the end younger poets must learn to persevere, like the LANGUAGE Poets have, because I FOR ONE feel poets of my generation and younger are writing some pretty damned HOT poems! I wouldn't trade this time with any other!



Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When the Dead Don't Die 

One of our greatest Americans has returned to the earth this past Friday. Utah Phillips was 73 years old. The storyteller, folk singer, comedian, activist and radical historian asked not to be embalmed, and requested to be buried in an untreated wooden box.

If you get the chance, please take the time to watch/listen to his interview with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman here.

It'll be worth every minute if you can take a little Utah with you!

- Frank Sherlock


My friend Wendell Rickets is an American expatriate living in Italy, and he's been very busy translating Italian newspapers for his blog about the neo-con government over there. Click HERE to read for yourself.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008


(Soma)tic Poetry Workshops. In this frantic, routine-driven world we need freedom from regimented poetry writing, and a healthy dose of walking the space between Soma (spirit) and Somatic (body). Using gemstones, trees, and the city itself, we will create deliberate, sustained physical manipulations to generate language to write our poems. Every thing is new every time we embark, and opening our minds to having that freedom in our lives everyday to write poems is what these workshops are about. CAConrad's book (Soma)tic Midge (FAUX Press) was written after eating and living with a single color for a day. Poem samples, as well as a link to his monthly (Soma)tic Poetry Exercises can be found HERE. Poetry is for everyBody, therefore everyBody is welcome!

We will meet at Logan's Circle fountain (on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway & 19th Street in Philadelphia) at noon to discuss poetry we're reading, or whatever we want to talk about concerning poetry. Then at 1:08 we will get started with the workshop, which will last to about 5pm or so.

Sign-up for ALL 4 SUNDAYS is ONLY $108
or take one or more for $27 a class
The 4 Sundays are July 6, 13, 20, 27

Sign-up DEADLINE is June 22nd, or until there are enough slots filled.
Write to CAConrad at CAConrad13@aol.com with
---dates you will be attending
---your phone number (this is in case it is raining on workshop day and we need to meet indoors)


(posted by CAConrad)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Much Like You SHARK by Logan Ryan Smith 

"I find myself larger than I am and floating in oxygen and light

a drinker
and lover of the dark"

--from the book, by Logan Ryan Smith


"how quick I am despite my heavy conscience" he writes much later in the poem. It's been a long time since I've read and liked a poem, or anything, where the poet/writer compares themselves with non-human animals to find the world to see themselves. Usually there's an endless listing of similes, which make me cringe and stop reading.

This could be set to music, I think, with the poet reading, better than most poems around. It begs for such a thing to happen. Here's a favorite color passage:

"in the water garden
of our bodies
the red sometimes
takes over the blue
and the vessels
still move"

A HUGE FAN of Smith's book THE SINGERS, I was excited to see this PDF available from Dusie on Goodreads.com, and am glad to have given it a nice, slow, drink. And the water in this poem is part blood, and blood of the poem is like all blood, the PH of ocean water, thus.... How many samples are too many samples? I mean, do people get angry if you use too many? Well, I want to use one more, even though the whole poem awaits to be sampled, frankly, but its readers:

"but I’ll speak now
I’ll speak for you and me
since it’ll one day be our innards
they’ll be judging:

I cannot claim that I didn’t know better
and I never meant to hurt a thing
but I cannot explain
than you can cause time to stop

Time to stop.

oh how I just wanted things to slow down"

OK, so, can you HEAR it set to music with me now? You would have to be tone deaf to not hear it, and if you are tone deaf I'm sad for you.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

OMG! how fucking ridiculous! 

Maria Raha forwarded this to me today:

In an interview with the political newspaper Politico and the Internet portal Yahoo, Bush also said he gave up golf in 2003 out of respect for U.S. soldiers killed in the war, which has now lasted more than five years.

(posted by CAConrad)

silent auction at Poetry Project 

The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church
Silent Art Auction Fundraiser (& Book Sale)

Saturday, May 24, 2-7pm - $15
(performances, wine and snacks included in admission)

131 E. 10th St. (& 2nd Ave.)

Please join us for our 3rd biennial Silent Art Auction Fundraiser! View work from established and emerging visual artists. Enjoy live performances and readings at the top of each hour (3, 4, 5, & 6 pm) on the Sanctuary stage. Shop for rare and signed books and printed matter. Purvey the activity from the (free) wine bar on the balcony, then outbid your friends and fellow enthusiasts on your favorite works of art.

Performances by Richard Hell; Jeni Olin; Bruce Andrews and Sally Silvers; Franklin Bruno; and Legends (Elizabeth Reddin, Raquel Vogl and James Loman).

Participating artists and writers include: Yvonne Jacquette, Suzan Frecon, Pamela Lawton, Emilie Clark, Etel Adnan, Susan Bee, Star Black, Rackstraw Downes, Simone Fattal, Vincent Katz, Vivien Bittencourt, Beka Goedde, Brenda Iijima, George Schneeman, Anne Waldman, Erica Svec, Christopher Warrington, Zach Wollard, Bill Berkson, Andrei Codrescu, Maureen Owen, Michael Friedman, Yuko Otomo, Steve Dalachinsky, Stephen Rosenthal, Reg E. Gaines, Robert Creeley, James Franklin, Richard Hell, Emily XYZ, Ted Greenwald, Hal Saulson, Mimi Gross, Legs McNeil, Jennifer Osborne, Ken Mikolowski, Ron Padgett, Ed Ruscha, Will Yackulic, Jim Dine, Fielding Dawson, Donna Brook, Simon Pettet, Steve Carey, May Pang, Henry Edwards, Terry Southern, Michael Cooper, Mick Rock, Baron Wolman, Lee Friedlander, Eve Babitz, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Clark Coolidge, Alice Notley, Lewis Warsh, Bernadette Mayer, Peter Schjeldahl, Richard O'Russa, David Abel, Amiri Baraka, Allen Ginsberg, Greg Fuchs, Alison Collins, Nate Ethier, Anne Tardos, KB Jones, Andrew Mister, Elizabeth Zechel, Patricia Spears Jones, Hannah Weiner, Ted Berrigan & Fairfield Porter, Alfred Leslie, Justin Theroux, Marc Andre Robinson, Veselovsky Pitts, Geoffrey Hendricks, Elizabeth Robinson & Fran Herndon, Karl Klingbiel, Oren Slor, Nick Piombino, Jack Collom, Erica Wessmann, Danny Fields, Kate Simon, Yoko Ono, Kiki Smith, Phong Bui, Basil King, Elizabeth Castagna & Edwin Torres, Debra Jenks, Jeffrey Wright, Chris Felver, Tony Fitzpatrick, Hank O'Neal, and more t.b.a. PLUS: bid on a tarot reading with CAConrad, bid to compose a collaborative poem with Ted Greenwald, bid on a hypnosis session with Maggie Dubris, and more otherworldly experiences!

Visit our online auction database. We are adding items everyday!

If you can’t make the party, please contact us at 212-674-0910 or info@poetryproject.com for information on proxy bidding. Every dollar earned will benefit the continuance of the Poetry Project!

(posted by CAConrad)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

RUDE GIRL, by John Sakkis 

What a strange and beautiful book. If this is Ophelia of Hamlet's Ophelia, she has new songs, new life. She rises out of her drowning. The voices, especially of Ophelia and Ophelio are sometimes different genders of the same body, but maybe that's me seeing what's not there. What's marvelous is that Sakkis's sublime, sensual minimalism gives the reader a lot of room to be in the poem, which is why I shouldn't say much more than that. Say less, is what I should do. But I like the play off of RUDE BOY, the edgy delinquents, feeling their way in the world THEIR WAY!

This book is FREE (note that it's a PDF) so there's no reason to not read it NOW! Here's a favorite passage of mine from the voice of Ophelio:

I could Love
only a quarantine
of dialects
to the station
thin and cold surface
have their way
as if a wire
above the water
glancing back

To download the PDF, click HERE, PDF on the DURATION PRESS website. It would be GREAT to see this performed! But if I were directing it Ophelio would be a drag queen dressed in patent leather from head to toe. And a strawberry wig, not curly.


Sunday, May 11, 2008


Dear Barbara Bush, I've only recently seen footage of the destruction caused to your home on the beach in Kennebunkport when it was battered and flooded by the storm of 1991. Much of your husband's memorabilia for his presidential library was washed away or forever ruined. This is the home after all where he conducted his famous command post for his famous Gulf War. All his precious memories of war were gone forever, his giant presidential footprint suddenly blurred.

The footage I saw though is not just of your damaged home, but of you, and your husband picking through the wreckage. Do you remember when one of the reporters asked you and your husband what you intended to DO NEXT? You were both clearly irritated by the question. Your husband turned to the camera and snapped, "This is our HOME, it's our family home, we're going to rebuild!" And you? You added, "We need to pick up the pieces and go on." Do you remember that? Do you remember being in that home with your husband, and reporters, and feeling put upon by the idea that it was all over for you at Kennebunkport?

Do you remember what you said years later in Huston after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and many of that storm's victims were taking refuge in your state of Texas? Instead of thinking about your misfortune from years prior, and how you could lend an empathetic hand to the suffering citizens of your country who were literally ON THE FLOOR of the sports arena around you, you chose the most selfish, most wicked thing to say. Let me remind you:

What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.

With this deplorable, dismissive statement you make it very clear how devoid you are of sympathy, but more important, devoid of empathy. YOU are the wife and mother of presidents and you choose to lend no one your hand as you walk among them, their lives in shambles. YOU who could say such a thing gave birth to, and reared a son who would be nicknamed The Death Penalty Governor. But that's nothing of course compared to his one million dead in Iraq. Your son, the man Alexander Cockburn said would be "better if he claimed he'd been turned out on a mountainside in infancy and suckled by wolves."

Maybe Cockburn is right about the wolf mother. Your sons have all been treacherous scoundrels with S&L scams, stealing elections, torturing and bombing. But really you are no different from many of the other mothers and wives of American presidents. A country whose brutal murder, theft and enslavement has been given the revisionist fairy tale of rugged individualism. The PROUD American making the world safer and whiter and whiter and brighter.

But just the same, I look forward to your death Barbara Bush, and the deaths of all your wicked, racist, sexist, homophobic, Jesus Loving men. And I would tell you to go to Hell, but Hell is what you and your men have already brought us. So I'm not sure where to tell you to go, but I'd settle for anything off the planet, and THE SOONER THE BETTER!


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Jonathan Williams event THIS AUGUST in Philly! 

After the Jerome Rothernberg event at the Writers House the other day some of us drove over to Bartram's Garden to see the Franklina Tree, which Jonathan Williams sat beneath to write his famous poem in his New Directions book titled AN EAR IN BARTRAM'S TREE.

In honor of Jonathan's poems, Life, and his Love of Bartram's tree (named Franklina after his good friend Benjamin Franklin), we want to have a reading THIS AUGUST when the Franklinia is in bloom! Anyone interested in reading a Jonathan Williams poem should contact me at

Bartram's Garden is VERY EASY to get to (not sure which trolley leads to it at the moment, but I'll find out).

(photo is, L to R: Miranda Reality Torn Brown, Lee Ann Brown, CAConrad, Michael Hennessey, photo taken by Tony Torn)


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Mayday 2008 

If Longshoremen shut down 29 West Coast ports on Mayday to protest the Iraq War & nobody reports it, did it actually happen?

Of course it did! Read about it here.

Also, a rant about the lack of media coverage here- link courtesy of Gina Myers.

- Frank Sherlock

The Corpse Resurrected! 

Exquisite Corpse: A Journal of Letters and Life refuses to die, much like its home base- the Crescent City. As Chairman Andrei Codrescu said of the first post-Katrina edition: "We festered, we raged, we contemplated suicide, and in the end, voted for life because we are a Corpse already and we hate to keep on dying, just like the ideals of the Republic."

This edition of the online journal is guest-edited by Bill Lavender.

Check it out here.

- Frank Sherlock

Monday, May 05, 2008


A few nights ago I had a dream that I dressed as a woman in order to marry Joe Massey, in order to be able to visit him in prison. I remember Joe saying something like, "No one's ever going to believe you're a woman," and he was right, and I had to spend a lot of time, an endless amount of time looking better. It was a disjointed jaunt this dream, but I do remember walking on the streets of Joe's California seaside town and no one paid us any mind, which was all we really needed, to pass.

Luckily Joe has recently found out that he is SAFE AND CLEAR! For those who don't know, our friend Mr. Massey had a bad trip with a pot brownie (MUST HAVE BEEN SOME POT BROWNIE!) and went to the hospital emergency room where the trip only slid downdowndown DOWN from there. The end result was that the police came, TAZED him, (how do you spell tazed? like with a tazer gun?) and took him away.

With a clean record under his belt and a good lawyer, and lots and lots of letters of support for the judge from his friends, Joe is NOT GOING TO HAVE TO write his Prison Poems, or Prison Journals, or whatever. And he needn't fear showers, or prison riots. Those one-piece orange suits are kind of cool though, but we can always get one of those for Joe to wear to readings, or the movies, or walks on the beach. And I DON'T HAVE TO SPEND HOURS AND HOURS plucking eyebrows and shaving my legs!

Your friend,

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Hi, thanks... 

Chris, thanks for letting me know. I think Gmail hates AOL, or, AOL hate Gmail. This keeps happening lately, and it makes me sad. I got an angry phone call from a friend who thought I was avoiding her. It's Gmail, I think. Or AOL, I think. Shit. Well. I don't know what to do. But THANKS Chris for letting me know. See you tomorrow! And for those who don't KNOW what we're doing tomorrow, click HERE! HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE, IT'S GOING TO BE TERRIFIC! Oh, and on Monday maybe you might want to come to THIS panel. See you soon, CAConrad

Hey Conrad! 

Hey there Conrad,

I've been trying to respond to yr last couple o' emails, & Jenn's tried to write to you, too, but the emails keep bouncing back...

Wanted to let you know we've been trying, though. See you tomorrow.


(P.S. Sorry for this on the public blog - not sure how else to get this message to you!)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Jerome Rothenberg event(s) 

If you missed THE AMAZING Jerome Rothenberg reading earlier this week at the Kelly Writers House, and the brunch of Q&A the next day, now you can SEE and HEAR it all! Click HERE for the details!

What an amazing Old Soul! I feel fortunate to have been there, and to have finally met this bountiful poet of the Ethnopoetics!
p.s. what do you think about Bob Perelman's "joke" in the "Discussion" Section? He said that younger poets "all write alike." It was said with sarcasm. Then he added that he was only joking. How is that a joke? Who thinks it's funny? Hmmmm, part of me thinks it's a safe form of critique, like, I'LL SAY IT, then retract it artfully by saying it's a joke. But HOW is it a joke? Is it a joke because he and his friends joke about such things? And if so, how do they joke about it? I'm not so sure it's a joke. I'm not so sure at all! THE ONLY FUNNY THING to me about is that it's EXACTLY what I've heard others say for years about Perelman and his friends. Not that I agree, in fact I've always DISAGREED, but yet it's FUNNY, since it's what Mr. Perelman now wants to claim (as a "joke" or not) about younger poets. But who? Which younger poets? JUST BECAUSE he said it was a joke doesn't mean I'm going to forget he said it, and said into a microphone for public record at that!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ready-To-Eat Individual Reviewed in Today's Times-Picayune 

Susan Larson reviewed Ready-To-Eat Individual today in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Check it out here.

- Frank Sherlock

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