Yesterday Laynie Browne and Bernadette Mayer read at Segue. I forgot to take out my notebook during Laynie’s reading, but I loved that she was reading from a book called The Desires of Letters that was a response to Bernadette’s The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters. She ended her reading with a “micro-play” that she had written collaboratively with Bernadette, enlisting several readers from the audience so that the room had a kind of quadrophenic effect. It was splendid.
So was Bernadette’s reading. She read some epigrams, and a long piece she had read at the Guggenheim, and selections from the new complete Studying Hunger, and some hypnogogic/hypnopompic writing. I wrote some lines down:
My mind’s become digital. Oy vey.
shoelessness and paleontology
philosophy and clams that live
an appropriate sense of wonder
my dog Hector never wore shoes
Philosophy chicks kiss better than paleontology chicks
What does “actually” actually mean?
What does it mean for a soul to have no shoes? Does it mean my soul lacks support?
Maybe my soul needs an inner sole.
I always thought the soul was a giant communion wafer in the middle of your body.
Was that my sleep or everybody’s?
Time is getting more animal
Tjere is a monkey in the parking lot. Oh boy. I can’t predict everything.
There is something peculiar about the girl. Besides being me, she may have only one eye or something.
Ocean: not a good name.
Aggressively soothe the butter
I feel like naming some druids.
The collision of hemisected man and woman.
Xerox half of $45.
Need during school lunch song
penis and embassy
like twisted-up slinkies
chicken with many-colored O-shaped flags
Listening to her I was once again aware of how crucial her writing and thinking have been to me. Happy birthday, Bernadette: you are a Titan.
In a post on Harriet with the same name, Eileen Myles writes:
My title for this post refers to an invite I received from a poet friend who is celebrating her menopause. I bet there will be some poem reading happening at her party, but a lot of talk about female bodies as well so what does this have to do with the craft of poetry. I’ve thrown the gauntlet down with that question and it won’t happen, my answer, till after the poetry month is over. So we’ll just have to see. I’ll see. And I’ll try and make it that you’ll see too. With of course considerations for privacy. The invite said women and transgendered people only. Is this starting to constitute political poetry. I don’t think you necessarily have to think of it that way. But it’s somewhat embodied. Don’t you think a book is an embodiment. That’s the part I resist. But I’m excited about this and other group non-group ways of being a poet. It’s all of us bellying up to the bar in a multitude of ways. What does a poet give – to herself and anyone else. Does she only and always give poetry. A poet gives widely in a multitude of ways. I’ve used that word twice. Multitude. There now I’ve done it again.
I’m the poet who will be having that menopause party, this coming Friday. If you are female or trans and my friend and you didn’t get an invite, it was an oversight. If you would like to come, send me an email and I will send you the details.
Some people seem to think the idea of a menopause party is quite bizarre. It’s actually more common than one might think. Google returned “about 4,170 results.” I mean why not? Baby showers, weddings, birthday parties, quinceañeras, coming-of-age days, wedding anniversaries, and funerals all celebrate major life passages, so why not menopause? It’s not a big secret anymore, people, and in my experience it’s TOTALLY FUCKING GREAT.
So the party is Friday evening, and then Saturday is my seventh wedding anniversary, for what it’s worth. No presents, please. Everything is just… too funny!
an immense bowl of smoldering lace
Wouldn’t you like to know?
The resonances of my semi-hysterical laughter lap at the edges of the known universe.
That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.