A poetry mixtape

large_550_tmp_2F1408396883978-ucvv0g3o1beghkt9-dbaa4373a4d6c57ad31daab7538ec363_2FLITA45-034_CoverMorning High was the B-side track on Lizzie Mercier Descloux’s “Fire” single. Lizzie reads Arthur Rimbaud’s poem “Matinée d’ivresse” in French as Patti Smith reads it in English. Composition by Bill Laswell. Click here to listen.

 

 

 

 

 

Kroesen

Artist Jill Kroeson’s “I Really Want to Bomb You” features Fred Smith from Television on Bass. And that’s perhaps the least interesting thing about the song! Trigger warning? Click here to listen.

 

 

 

 

 

R-554781-1334352950.jpeg

 

“Purple Lips” was the second song on 1981’s Drama in Exile. Oddly, the song does not appear on 1983’s re-recorded release of the same name. Click here to listen.

 

 

 

 

ed-366__05404.1407170848.1280.1280

 

The Outer Darkness is the third volume of Sun Ra and his Arkestra’s Space Poetry series, a collection of previously “lost” Sun Ra recordings. “The Outer Darkness Part 2” is read by Arkestra keyboardist June Tyson. Click here to listen.

Groundlessness

The dog I’m watching humped a husky at the park. Both the husky and the shepherd, “my” dog, stared at me, horrified. The next time I criticize myself for not being grounded I will meditate on this image.

I’ve fallen in love with this shepherd, even though he ate the cat food and dropped diarrhea all over his person’s light gray almost white carpet. This dog’s a “traveling pooper,” which, if you’re not a pet-care professional, means he keeps walking as he shits. I counted fourteen shit splats. After hours in panic mode, crying, sopping up shit with vinegar, terrified I’d have to pay for an expensive new carpet, I got it all out. The carpet looks brand new. I still expected to lose this recurring gig with my new shepherd love once his person learned what’d happened. The owner’s response was not to blame me, however. Instead, she said, “Thanks for the cleanup. Seems the cat food is too rich for his stomach.”

When I think “Why am I like this?” I do not allow myself to answer.

I’ve been saying “yes” to every opportunity. That Shonda Rhimes thing, just say “yes.” Obviously I need to be more in the moment. Except now I forget to eat and sleep and write and kiss my girlfriend because I’m too busy yes-ing.

I once overheard a woman tell a friend, “We don’t say ‘no’ in our house.” That woman had a five year old son. A five year old son who never hears “no.”

In other news, the cat I’m watching is very Bauhaus.

P_20170610_174229

Everything I’ve Ever

Tiny block that wasn’t a Lego but was mixed in with the Legos. Yard of velour. Press-out cardboard coins from math book. Bag of rhinestones. Candy pacifier. Frozen olive loaf sandwich. Puff-paint. Candle the shape of a hand with wicks on all five fingertips. Monopoly dog. Espresso mug. Handpainted castle. All of the soda cans in the soda machine. Wad of dollar bills (three days a week). Blank tape, high fidelity. No Alternative. Seedy weed. Buick Century. Box of wine. Chocolate Ex-Lax. Twenty dollar bill. Polyester zip-up. Camel Cash. Marshmallow bags. Vital wheat gluten. Machinedrum. Tank of gas on turnpike. Methadone wafer. E-mail password. Philly girl’s wallet. Sparkly stickers. Louisana Purchase card. First generation Ipod Photo (two). Keybumps. Swiss army knife (pink for women). Leash for children. Champagne flute. Maine Coon cat. Caitlin’s expired driver’s license. Klonopin. Trent Reznor’s poolside gargoyle (two). Morning Italian bread delivery. Tiny palm tree. Red Cross hotel voucher. Nitrile glove. Decorative outdoor lamp. Headless gingerbread body. Individual tampon. Dodge Ram. Boots without holes. Fizzy drink. Fred Meyer gift card. High-quality flannel shirt. Talk of Texas okra pickles (hot). Boss Metal Zone. Obsidian chunk. Credit increase. Heirloom tomato. Bouillon pack. Bottle of lube. Lighters. New Seasons sandwich. Nine of spades.

Anne Carson and Floating Gender

Annual-Lecture-2013-Carson-20130927-028.jpg
Photo source: Hammer Museum

Anne Carson is a Gemini. The sign of Gemini is represented by The Twins and ruled by the planet Mercury. Mercury is the heart of the word mercurial, a term used to describe people who are erratic and unpredictable. Gemini is also an air sign, and air is the element that rules thought patterns and communication. It is said that people born under the sign of Gemini are natural writers and teachers, albeit a touch difficult to follow.

Anne Carson is a poet, writer, multi-linguist, professor of the classics, a feminist and a genius.

In a Paris Review interview with Will Aitken (no date listed), Carson reflects on gender:

“I guess I’ve never felt entirely female, but then probably lots of people don’t. But I think that at different times in my life I located myself in different places on the gender spectrum, and for many years, throughout my thirties which is when I did that pilgrimage, I didn’t have any connection to the female gender. I wouldn’t say I exactly felt like a man, but when you’re talking about yourself you only have these two options. There’s no word for the “floating” gender in which we would all like to rest. The neuter comes up in the unbearable poem, the neuter gender, but that doesn’t really capture it because you don’t feel neuter, you feel just wrong. Wrong vis-à-vis the gender you’re supposed to be in, wrong vis-à-vis the other one, and so what are you?”

fountain-of-fertility-tivoli-b1
Artemis. Source: Lactating Fountains of Italy

 

Eileen Myles – An American Poem

 

I was born in Boston in
1949. I never wanted
this fact to be known, in
fact I’ve spent the better
half of my adult life
trying to sweep my early
years under the carpet
and have a life that
was clearly just mine
and independent of
the historic fate of
my family. Can you
imagine what it was
like to be one of them,
to be built like them,
to talk like them
to have the benefits
of being born into such
a wealthy and powerful
American family. I went
to the best schools,
had all kinds of tutors
and trainers, traveled
widely, met the famous,
the controversial, and
the not-so-admirable
and I knew from
a very early age that
if there were ever any
possibility of escaping
the collective fate of this famous
Boston family I would
take that route and
I have. I hopped
on an Amtrak to New
York in the early
‘70s and I guess
you could say
my hidden years
began. I thought
Well I’ll be a poet.
What could be more
foolish and obscure.
I became a lesbian.
Every woman in my
family looks like
a dyke but it’s really
stepping off the flag
when you become one.
While holding this ignominious
pose I have seen and
I have learned and
I am beginning to think
there is no escaping
history. A woman I
am currently having
an affair with said
you know  you look
like a Kennedy. I felt
the blood rising in my
cheeks. People have
always laughed at
my Boston accent
confusing “large” for
“lodge,” “party”
for “potty.” But
when this unsuspecting
woman invoked for
the first time my
family name
I knew the jig
was up. Yes, I am,
I am a Kennedy.
My attempts to remain
obscure have not served
me well. Starting as
a humble poet I
quickly climbed to the
top of my profession
assuming a position of
leadership and honor.
It is right that a
woman should call
me out now. Yes,
I am a Kennedy.
And I await
your orders.
You are the New Americans.
The homeless are wandering
the streets of our nation’s
greatest city. Homeless
men with AIDS are among
them. Is that right?
That there are no homes
for the homeless, that
there is no free medical
help for these men. And women.
That they get the message
—as they are dying—
that this is not their home?
And how are your
teeth today? Can
you afford to fix them?
How high is your rent?
If art is the highest
and most honest form
of communication of
our times and the young
artist is no longer able
to move here to speak
to her time…Yes, I could,
but that was 15 years ago
and remember—as I must
I am a Kennedy.
Shouldn’t we all be Kennedys?
This nation’s greatest city
is home of the business-
man and home of the
rich artist. People with
beautiful teeth who are not
on the streets. What shall
we do about this dilemma?
Listen, I have been educated.
I have learned about Western
Civilization. Do you know
what the message of Western
Civilization is? I am alone.
Am I alone tonight?
I don’t think so. Am I
the only one with bleeding gums
tonight. Am I the only
homosexual in this room
tonight. Am I the only
one whose friends have
died, are dying now.
And my art can’t
be supported until it is
gigantic, bigger than
everyone else’s, confirming
the audience’s feeling that they are
alone. That they alone
are good, deserved
to buy the tickets
to see this Art.
Are working,
are healthy, should
survive, and are
normal. Are you
normal tonight? Everyone
here, are we all normal.
It is not normal for
me to be a Kennedy.
But I am no longer
ashamed, no longer
alone. I am not
alone tonight because
we are all Kennedys.
And I am your President.

Eileen Myles, “An American Poem” from Not Me, published by Semiotext(e). Copyright © 1991 by Eileen Myles.   

Mdardara For People Who Can Only Do One Thing at a Time

Mdardara is a Lebanese lentil and rice pilaf with caramelized onions. It’s vegan and legitimately the best tasting thing in the entire world. I used to make this dish in a single pot but my brain has since short-circuited. Now I cook everything separately and combine it all at the end.

Servings: YOU DO YOU

  • 3 large purple onions (if you’re not a caramelized onion lifer like me, use small or medium onions)
  • 1 cup of brown lentils (rinsed)
  • 1 cup of basmati rice
  • 1 cup of veggie broth (I like the Better than Boullion No Chicken base)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon of cumin, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander, ground
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil (for caramelizing the onions)
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil (you can sub olive oil if you want)
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • salt (to taste)
  • Half of a lemon
  • pinch of sugar

CARAMELIZING ONIONS THE NIKKI WAY (45 minutes)

  1. Slice the onions! Try to shoot for slices that are 1/8 of an inch thick.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large (12″ or larger) pan over medium-low heat. I like cast iron pans.
  3. Put onions in the pan. Try to spread them out across the bottom so they aren’t stacked way high.
  4. If you’re using a cast iron, stir and flip the onions every 10-15 minutes. If you’re using any other kind of pan, stir the onions every 5-10 minutes with a wooden spoon. Be sure to scrape and stir the onion muck that sticks to bottom of the pan, no matter the pan material. It’s gonna stick and that needs to be okay with you.
  5. After 30 minutes, sprinkle a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt into the onion pile, then stir again.
  6. After 45 minutes, the onions should be a cool combination of soft and crispy. Add a little water to the pan to deglaze, then scrape everything out of the pan. You’re done!

MAKE RICE

If you have an electric pressure cooker, follow these instructions to cook the rice. Seriously! Do it! Use broth for more flavor. Otherwise:

  1. Rinse the rice in a strainer. Use cold water!
  2. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 clove of chopped garlic into a pot at the same time. It’s not good to let the oil get really hot before adding garlic!
  3. Turn on medium-high heat. When the oil starts to sizzle, pour in uncooked rice. Stir it all together for about 2 minutes, or until the rice starts to look translucent. Don’t burn it! Keep stirring!
  4. Add 1 and 1/2 cups of water or broth and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil.
  5. When the water starts boiling, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and reduce heat to low.
  6. Simmer on low for about 25 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.

MAKE LENTILS

Combine 1 cup of lentils, 2 cups water, cumin, and coriander. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 25 minutes uncovered. The lentils may still be a bit firm at the end, but that’s okay.

MAKE MAGIC

  1. Grab a big pot or pan that can hold everything. It can be the pan in which you caramelized those beautiful onions.
  2. Add in cooked lentils. Turn on the heat, medium-low.
  3. Add cooked rice.
  4. Add onions.
  5. Stir stir stir! Let it heat up together for a few minutes. If the lentils were still a little tough, you can add some water and cook it all together a little longer. Do what you have to do, you know? It’s going to be SO GOOD.
  6. Squeeze half a lemon in it!!! More if you’re nasty. Stir it up.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste. I usually skip the salt but I love black pepper.
  8. Serve to people you love or are learning to love.