November 17, 2014
from the initial shock
of the news of leslie feinberg’s
if i’m honest,
stone butch blues
put me on the path
to my current work
as a literary scholar.
how do you repay someone
for changing the course of your life?
for showing you what matters
and who matters to you?
i’ll never come close
to living a life
as leslie feinberg’s
but, as long as i live,
hir work will not be forgotten.
“Feinberg is survived by Pratt and an extended family of choice, as well as many friends, activists, and comrades around the world in struggle against oppression and for liberation.”
August 17, 2014
if you live in the metro detroit area,
and didn’t make it to one of the detroit city distillery
bottle releases & tastings this weekend,
then you missed out on the event
of the summer.
i’d been stalking DCD for a while
when fate sat me across from owner,
(apparent) front man, and detroit’s newest
most eligible bachelor,
at de la tierra,
a pop-up art show and dinner.
it was one of those moments of kismet when,
if you’re trying at all to be part of
what can only be called
detroit’s exploding food/booze/art scene,
you inevitably run into someone who’s doing something fabulous.
and so, a month or so later,
when i got the advance email
about DCD’s bloodline whiskey release,
i bought my ticket without a second thought.
no amount of coaxing could get my friends to come with,
so i flew solo to eastern market
rolling up to 2462 riopelle
a little more than
blasting amr diab
and circling twice for a parking spot.
i’ll spare you the details of the night in favor of the highlights:
the energy was palpable – just the right mix of smiles and buzz, allowing the chet baker and billie holiday to bleed into the evening without being oppressive.
the service was impeccable – i was seated at the bar and the bartenders were friendly and, frankly, rather attractive. (evan, in particular, was kinnered several times by this shameless shutter fly)
the company was fated – a fellow solo diner was seated next to me and turned out to be none other than the detroit foodie. it was the perfect pairing; i love to dissect the food and drinks at these shindigs, and it was great to be seated by someone who could (and would) happily keep up.
the morai were clearly looking out.
the food was on point – especially considering it was prepared (semi-legally?) in an alleyway in eastern market. it was three courses of food i typically would never have ordered, the unexpectedness of my enjoyment only multiplying its effect. chefs jesse knot and brad greenhill seriously delivered. (that brisket, bitch!)
the drinks were flawless, dahling – sugar house who? DCD has all the ambience and none of the pretension, the antique bar lending a subtle authenticity other “speakeasies” only wish they could buy. more importantly, the drinks were perfectly balanced* and will knock you down without you realizing it (though that blackthorn is not fucking around!) the stars were the detroit sidecar and the strawberry punch. seriously. who would ever have thought that whiskey and strawberry would go together? i just want to lay in a hammock with a growler of that shit, slowly pickling.
my life is such that these little outings of mine carry great importance to me. so it was lovely to not be disappointed and to leave happier than when i arrived (so much so i returned on saturday for the two faced blended bourbon bottle release & tasting). between the two nights, i dropped a dollar and left with ten bottles, two gifted to those who kept me company in my solitude (thanks TDF and haven!)
if this opening is any indication,
DCD is set to become
a detroit icon.
check it out, stat.
as you know,
i’m not blogging regularly these days and
am equally out of practice at editing down
the number of pics i take to weave into a post.
you’ll just have to settle for a disjointed photoessay.
*my only critique would be that they need bigger ice. my drinks got a tad too watery too fast. though i had a total of five in about three hours, so part of it was my inability to keep up.
July 19, 2014
it’s a minor talk,
reflecting on my time
as a writer in residence there.
whenever i give a talk,
whether i’m in the middle of writing it
or working on my delivery (practice makes perfect!)
i turn to poetry for courage and inspiration,
to calm the feeling that i just may
vomit at any moment.
today, i’ll post two of my faves.
because, if poetry is good for me,
it’s likely you could use some more in your diet.
i doubt i’ll ever be as good as these women
and certainly, today’s talk pales in comparison.
here’s hoping their obvious fearlessness is catching.
July 15, 2014
i don’t know how many of you have a soul mate,
someone who enters your life so naturally
that you can’t imagine that
they’d not been there
that person is veronica.
and we’ve been friends for a decade this summer.
as she revisits the place where our friendship began,
separated, i struggle to find the words that
do my feelings justice.
so i figured i’d steal someone else’s.
initially, i turned
to a book of poetry
a textbook from the study abroad where we met.
i thought i’d write here some of my favorites:
“the goat paths” by james stephens
since it calls to mind
the ireland i see
when i close
“a last confession” by w.b. yeats
on which i wrote a paper
talking about the homosexual imagery,
the first my professor had read in his career.
the essential “a disused shed in co. wexford” by derek mahon
but while important, i only ever really liked
the title and the second stanza.
“bread” by brendan kennelly
but that last line
is just way too erotic.
but while nostalgic
none were right
(or perhaps not)
i turned to the work of adrienne rich.
in honor of our friendship, past and present,
i give you sonnets i and iii from twenty-one love poems.
Whenever in this city, screens flicker
with pornography, with science-fiction vampires,
victimized hirelings bending to the lash,
we also have to walk . . . if simply as we walk
through the rainsoaked garbage, the tabloid cruelties
of our own neighborhoods.
We need to grasp our lives inseparable
from those rancid dreams, that blurt of metal, those disgraces,
and the red begonia perilously flashing
from a tenement sill six stories high,
or the long-legged young girls playing ball
in the junior highschool playground.
No one has imagined us. We want to live like trees,
sycamores blazing through the sulfuric air,
dappled with scars, still exuberantly budding,
our animal passion rooted in the city.
Since we’re not young, weeks have to do time
for years of missing each other. Yet only this odd warp
in time tells me we’re not young.
Did I ever walk the morning streets at twenty,
my limbs streaming with a purer joy?
did I lean from my window over the city
listening for the future
as I listen with nerves tuned for your ring?
And you, you move towards me with the same tempo.
Your eyes are everlasting, the green spark
of the blue-eyed grass of early summer
the green-blue wild cress washed by the spring.
At twenty, yes: we thought we’d live forever.
At forty-five, I want to know even our limits.
I touch you knowing we weren’t born tomorrow,
and somehow, each of us will help the other live,
and somewhere, each of us must help the other die.
i can hear the morning birds already.
July 11, 2014
i find it difficult to know where to begin, exactly.
or perhaps, more accurately, how to begin again.
in lieu of any real effort or explanation
i’ll simply write a post as if
i haven’t been largely absent from the blogosphere.
this past wednesday,
on the invitation of a peripheral friend
of a dude was i was dating earlier this year
(note the ever-present past tense)
i went to a knitting group.
i know i know.
you require evidence.
i found myself uncommonly shy
which, for anyone who really knows me
is in general keeping with my character.
the lukewarm reception of a member of my high school class
that i hadn’t seen since graduation didn’t really make for the most auspicious of starts. though i take comfort in the fact that,
of the two of us,
i’ve aged better.
(i wonder if she still plays the french horn)
i won’t go into details of the evening
as they are largely what one would expect of a knitting group:
a group of giddy women, happy to escape their quotidian, conventional lives with a perhaps higher degree of nerdery than one sees in the general population.
i’m not really sure this group is for me.
the number of new mothers and percentage of group members currently at various stages of gestation means the focus of conversation is largely…limited we’ll say.*
there’s also much drinking and
as i’m a rather fastidious knitter,
i don’t really care to drink when i knit
as it affects one’s gauge.
but even if this group is not for me.
and i miss it.
i don’t see how my life
in its current formation
can accommodate this particular hobby,
at least with any kind of regularity.
and please, no one even mention
my poor disused matchless.
i think i must.
my goal in life
is to create a life
of which i can be proud.
i’m not sure i’m doing that
if i’m daily denying myself
one of my life’s few joys.
at least i get good coffee on a regular basis.
i’m not sure if anyone’s left out there
(and if you are, do leave a comment; it encourages!)
but if you miss me at all
much of my online life
has moved to instagram.
there’s a lot of coffee art and dyke graffiti,
but if you want to stalk my life,
take a look
until next time, bitches.
*the only credit i’ll demand is for ignoring the woman who explained that she circumcised her son, not for religious or health reasons (spurious enough though those are) but because “everyone else in her family is”. setting aside the fact that she’s apparently seen the genitalia of all her male relatives, the fact that she was willing to mutilate her son for the sake of aesthetic conformity created in me such a violent sense of disgust and repulsion that there is no word i know of in the english language powerful enough to describe it. i later fixed her knitting which, i think, points to my general superiority, if not as a human being, at least in manners.
June 5, 2014
mary oliver – ‘wild geese’
June 4, 2014
the other day,
i got a package.
and you know how much
i love an unexpected package.
there is absolutely nothing better than an unforeseen gift;
may it be a sign of many many things to come!
so thanks, anna.
i miss you, bitch!
tomorrow, how about a fo, eh?
it’s been a while, after all.
May 11, 2014
as i’m now officially living in the burbs de detroit,
(think 50s ranch, not 90s ticky tacky subdivision)
i’ve made it a hobby to explore the city a little bit everyday,
seeking out the pockets of fabulosity amongst the more visible deterioration.
[as a side note,
i no longer have any fucks to give
when it comes people’s obsession with discussing detroit’s decay.
it’s almost always people who don’t live anywhere near the city,
and i’m really sick of hearing from you.
formed on your 24 hour layover
or decade-expired michigan citizenship
has become overly tiresome.
speak to me only of detroit’s slow revival,
of the cool new restaurant or shop you found.
tell me where to go, not where to avoid.]
part of my interest lies not only in my physical proximity to the city, but an emotional one. i am the first of five generations in my family
to not live in the city since immigrating to the united states.
several branches of my family came here from europe
settling generally on the east side and in corktown.
my ancestral ‘estate’ still stands not far from belle isle,
though it’s apparently owned by some shell corporation
of a sleazy slumlord and,
since its abandonment
roughly two years ago,
has been thoroughly looted/gutted.
a neighbor has seemingly illegally appropriated the lot adjacent,
originally my great great grandmother’s garden,
to use for off-street parking.
but i digress.
i’ve been lusting after a shinola watch ever since they relaunched the brand. i cannot afford a watch currently (or for the foreseeable future) but they’ve expanded to other merchandise (the bikes! i want a bike!)
so i wanted to see what i could see.
i’ve been interested in two james because i like the idea of supporting a michigan/detroit company via drinking. every fucking one is into michigan beers, but i generally hate beer and find most of the michigan beers to be extra assay (as in butt flavored). ironically, i hang out right down the street from two james at astro all the time,
but never knew they were there.
boys. gotta work on your signage.
anyway here’s my report:
though i initially set out for shinola, my trip got off to a false start, as i was distracted by two wee stores kitty corner from shinola: city bird and nest
from which i bought these cards
and this air plant,
when i finally crossed the street,
i found there was little in the shinola showroom i didn’t want
but i settled on this wallet.
my old louis vuitton has served me well for 10 years,
and has begun to show signs of wear. it’s time for a pinch hitter.
shinola’s leather goods are made by horween in ste. genevieve, mo.
let’s see how american manufacturing holds up against french, shall we?
(i’ll get back to you in 2024)
i ended up in the two james tasting room. it was a little muggy in there,
and the number of douche-baggy mid-level business people
made it so i could really only tolerate one cocktail.
however, that cocktail convinced me
to take home these six bottles.
(r to l: old cockney gin, 28 island vodka, grass widow bourbon x2, corktown rye dog, & detroit fig leaf old timey drinking vinegar made exclusively for two james by mcclary bros.)
if you do nothing else,
find a way to try the grass widow bourbon;
it’s for real.
we shall see.
p.s. the tulips were my gift with purchase from shinola.
nice touch, shinola.
March 6, 2014
February 21, 2014
just popping in to plug my shit again.
i’ll keep it brief:
Friday, February 21—Live Readings by the Broad MSU Writing Residents
6–7 PM | Free and open to the public
The Broad MSU, in partnership with the MSU Department of English and the MSU Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, is pleased to announce the Broad MSU Writing Residency! This residency features six graduate students who will create monthly public readings that respond to an art work on view at the Broad MSU, while utilizing core themes from the upcoming exhibition, Postscript: Writing After Conceptual Art. The live readings will begin at 6 PM, and will take place in the galleries alongside a corresponding work of art. (Meet at the Information Desk at 6 PM before moving into galleries.)
i’m one of the residents.
if you like,
and you could see me make a fool of myself.
i’ve been in a nostalgic,
sentimental, sappy kind of mood,
here’s a poem i came across, a sonnet
that has been nagging me for few days now.
poetry is good for you. so read it.
by marilyn hacker
You did say, need me less and I’ll want you more.
I’m still shellshocked at needing anyone,
used to being used to it on my own.
It won’t be me out on the tiles till four-
thirty, while you’re in bed, willing the door
open with your need. You wanted her then,
more. Because you need to, I woke alone
in what’s not yet our room, strewn, though, with your
guitar, shoes, notebook, socks, trousers enjambed
with mine. Half the world was sleeping it off
in every other bed under my roof.
I wish I had a roof over my bed
to pull down on my head when I feel damned
by wanting you so much it looks like need.