Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thursday Night: Eileen Myles & Donald Deeley 

This Thursday, October 1st at 8pm
at Temple University Center City
1515 Market St, Room 222

Eileen Myles
Donald Deeley

will read from their work.

- R Eckes

Monday, September 28, 2009

California Love 

Yeah, California. Earlier this month, I delivered poems face-to-face with members of the West Coast po-tribe for the first time in my life. I couldn't have asked for more. It was energizing and inspiring. The active engagement & sincere generosity that Conrad & I experienced will certainly manifest itself in some form of wonderful magic in future days. It was great to meet so many folks who I've only known through their writing, as well as seeing a number of old friends. So, first and simply, to all the SF & LA peoples that came out- THANK YOU.

Our 9/11 reading for Small Press Traffic was in the California College of the Arts. Samantha Giles is the new Executive Director for SPT. She made everything happen that night, including one of the best intros I've ever gotten. Andrew Kenower did a great job with the sound. He recorded our readings, which you can listen to here-

Frank Sherlock & CAConrad on A Voice Box.

The next day, SPT partnered w/ Nonsite Collective to host talk-lab/play-shop/discussion (aka an atypical "workshop"), where we talked about macro-SOMAtics, spatial practices & psychogeography in relation to The City Real & Imagined: Philadelphia Poems. The Nonsite Collective is doing important work, bringing some brilliant & interesting writers around a table to not just listen, but engage & continue the conversations that are launching new & evolving ideas. Some of the people who made it a great discussion were Rob Halpern, Taylor Brady, Wendy Kramer, Lauren Levin, Samantha Giles, David Buuck, Erika Staitie & Tonya Hollis. And it was a great pleasure to finally meet Stephen Vincent, who took the photo above. He also did haptics for each of us as we spoke.

CAConrad Haptic (<<<<<<<<left)


Frank Sherlock Haptic>>>>right)

David Buuck warned us that our stay in LA would be full of boar tongue & other offbeat meats provided by our Poetic Research Bureau hosts, Ara Sirinyan & Joseph Mosconi. Given that we're vegetarians, we decided to eat as much as we could before we got to Los Angeles. But our fears were unfounded. Joseph & Ara were incredibly generous and accommodating. They even took us to an "only in LA" kind of place- a beer garden that grilled the best Vietnamese veggie sandwiches we'd ever had. Awesome.

The PRB is a great space. If you visit Los Angeles, definitely check it out. It's a bookstore/theater space across from the landmark Seeley's furniture store. It was great to meet some of the LA poets I'd only known in print, as well as seeing some faces from Philadelphia, like
Chris Natale Peditto who goes back to the days of the Bacchanal. Brian Kim Stefans was also in the house- someone we've missed since his move out west.

A lot of us partied back at Ara's house post-reading late into the night. Sadly, we only spent 24 hours in Los Angeles, but I definitely want to get back soon to explore the city. Despite the dissing from the occasional East Coaster, I find LA to be one of the more interesting cities in America. Because its framework has yet to be defined, it continues to grow in unexpected directions.

A special thanks to Carol Mirakove, Jen Benka, David Buuck & Ara Sirinyan for having us.

Philly LOVE,

Frank Sherlock

Friday, September 25, 2009

This Saturday Night at Chapterhouse 

This Saturday, September 26th at 8pm
at Chapterhouse Cafe, 620 S. 9th St.

Come listen to


read from their work.

For more info, click here.

- R Eckes

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Carol Mirakove and Jen Benka have THE MOST amazing tree I have ever met in my life! Well, I say THEY HAVE, meaning that it's right next to their home in Oakland, in fact it's so huge you can see it from many blocks away. Jen said pointing, "Yeah, see that giant tree over there? That's where we live." When she said that I had this image of them living up in the tree towering over Oakland.

There's a hertz exchange that I like to do with trees, and I've been doing this for many years, but have NEVER encountered such a jolt as I did with the 120 foot redwood growing next to Carol and Jen's bedroom window, NEVER experienced anything like this before, EVER. It was my first morning in San Francisco when in town with Frank Sherlock last week for a reading. Actually Frank was arriving later that day.

But I did, just I've done many times over the years, plant my feet firmly in line with my shoulders, and lean with BOTH HANDS into the bark of the tree, head down, between the arms, chin touching chest. Usually this is a calm, pleasant experience, feeling the entrance through my left hand, filling me, and any excess frequency put back into the tree through my right hand. It's usually a 15 to 20 minute meditation. But AS SOON AS my chin touched my chest BANG, I felt filled, and kind of queasy. I climbed back up the back steps to their balcony and sat in a wicker chair to steady my dizziness. A blue bird landed on a railing right next to where I was sitting, and chirped. I mimicked the chirp and the bird hopped closer, then hopped to the floor of the balcony and came within a few inches of my feet, turning her head to look up at me. Then flew off. Was her visit related to the shock of ingesting and fucking with the hertz of a tree I clearly knew nothing about, clearly was fucking with something much bigger and wiser and older than any other I have exchanged with in the past?

Last night I had a splinter of dreams. One of them was waking at Jen and Carol's and walking out to the balcony to sit and stare up into the vast canopy of the giant redwood. Way up in the distance of the canopy I saw branches shifting and shaking, one at a time, as though something was falling and hitting them as it came down toward me. Here it was Jen Benka coming down one branch at a time, like a jungle gym. She jumped onto the balcony and breathed deeply to catch her breath. WOW, What's up? I asked. "Oh, this is how Carol and I work out now, we take turns climbing up the tree and gliding down." Gliding down? "Well, I didn't want to scare you so I came down on the branches, but yeah, we've learned to glide at yoga class, it's kind of great. You should try it sometime." I thought, WOW, Carol and Jen can fly, how fucking cool!

The other splinter of the dream was a news item on the radio that Elvis and two other men had escaped from prison, and one of the two men with him was and expert raft maker. And they had escaped from prison on a raft over a swift flowing river to the ocean. I went to the prison fence where the river started, to follow. The river though looked MORE LIKE water does when it runs in rivulets off your skin in the shower. It was a powerful flow of water, flowing over immense fields of thick buffalo grass, and it battered down the grass, but the water didn't have a groove of dirt, it glided over the surface of the earth, it was a ribbon of water. As soon as I threw myself into the water it carried me like a water ride at an amusement park. At one point the ribbon of water I was riding collided with another ribbon of water, and the force of this flung me high in the air, and balanced me for just a moment on the top of the roiling collision of water, then I was carried down into the ever more powerful body of combined ribbons, down a steep hill which emptied into the ocean. I could see Carol and Jen's tree in the distance. Later I heard another news item on the radio that a Chinese tanker had spotted bodies floating out at sea, and everyone assumed one of the dead was Elvis. NO, I thought!


Sunday, September 20, 2009


So Belgrade queers keep their blood in their bodies today. This is a good article, click, HERE, about Russian queer activist and organizer Nikolai Baev's support of Serbian queers. OH, and when you're finished reading this, at the bottom under "SEE ALSO" section, 2 other very good articles. Part of me is disappointed that the march didn't happen, but then again I feel incredibly SELFISH even thinking that considering that people were going to get their heads split open, LITERALLY! No bloody gay Sunday is a good day!


Friday, September 18, 2009

Serbia, SUNDAY 

Belgrade Pride will march in the streets for queer pride and tolerance this coming Sunday. This, despite graffiti PROMISING violence against the marchers. The Serbian Orthodox Church claims that it does not support the impending violence against the group, yet also has told the news that the march is akin to "Sodom and Gomorrah." Similarly, president Boris Tadic REFUSES to endorse the march, claiming to uphold Serbia's laws against discrimination. The violence is clearly sanctioned by both church and state indirectly, and if I had the money I'd be over there right now to march with them!

In fact if I had the money I'd fly over there with me the remaining members of the Philly Gay Mafia, the vicious, tough guys who used to patrol and protect our streets in the Philadelphia queer community back in the 1980s when violence against us was practically encouraged by police.

My hope is that the marchers are as ready as they possibly can be for what is about to happen to them. My hope too is that the government takes action to at the very least protect the marchers in their simple act of walking together in the streets. The violence to come has literally been written on the walls of Belgrade.

In solidarity with Belgrade Pride,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"But indeed a market like California is not good for Enron." --Kenneth Lay (he actually said that, isn't it great????) 

You REALLY DO leave it there! Your heart, in San Francisco! Go ahead, call me corny! OK, Ok, ok, yes.

So while I'm at it let me tell you something beautiful. Poetry is a door in a room of many doors, but it's the door I have walked through. One time I tried to find the way back out of it. It doesn't matter, that story of trying to find the way back. What DOES matter is, on the other side of the door of poetry the generosity of what can be seen to be tasted makes every evil moment of being alive WORTH IT!

Frank Sherlock and I were filled with it. DON'T SAY SHIT! NOT FILLED WITH SHIT! This is beautiful. It's beautiful, and it's what it was filling.

Stops filling sometime but I don't know when.

San Francisco, LA, great times & people!

It's hard to know WHERE to start thanking, so TO EVERYONE, MY LOVE!

Poetry REALLY IS family! I was RIGHT! I've been correcting OUT LOUD this whole notion of "poetry community" and I keep saying, "YEAH, BUT, we're less than gods but more than a registry, right? It's something like a family, so just say it is!"

The poetry FAMILY, we went to visit our poetry FAMILY in California! Aunts and Uncles, LOVE YOU!

p.s. (Mr. Rob Halpern posted this about our SPT & NONSITE talk.)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Ice Cream and Tree House Books 

If you go to The Franklin Fountain this month and order the SCHOOL HOUSE FLAVOR (apple, caramel, and oatmeal), you will be supporting TREE HOUSE BOOKS, a wonderful little place where I used to volunteer.

Tree House is a bookstore and artist venue that runs creative programs for kids and families. Its mission: to grow and sustain a community of readers, writers and thinkers in North Central Philadelphia. Check it out. More info here.

Franklin Fountain is 116 Market St.

Tree House Books is 1430 W. Susquehanna Ave.

-- R. Eckes

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