Jul 20, 2012

Something about the movies and the mind. Because it’s easier to talk about than tragedy.

There is a problem with the movies. Not enough that we watch them, no matter the content. No matter. No matter. No matter the ONEWORD deathdyinggenociderapeviolenceindifference. No matter the real of the unreal or the unreal of the real. I get it. I get the movies. I don’t understand the human experience and, therefore, I understand the need for us to create it. View it. As if it were a way to learn being. I get it people. It’s not about this.

Though I felt like I was the only person incapable of watching the rape scene in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Though I covered my eyes and ears like a small child, appalled by the obviously written/planned/performed/ scene. Though I was even more appalled at the 100 other people in the theater watching attentively. Intensively.  Intentively. As if watching a simple bird pick its morning worm. Or a tree grow slowly over a hundred years. Though it was unfathomable to me. Though I finished the movie and told myself I’d never watch it again. Though I know people who had a harder time watching the dog die in Marley & Me, than they did this sadistic torture. Though I felt, for lack of a better words, disgusted.

It’s still not about this.

Something says it’s okay. IT’S OKAY! WE ARE AT THE MOVIES. IT’S NOT REAL. LET’S WATCH SOMETHING WE’D NEVER WATCH IN REAL LIFE BECAUSE WE ARE AT THE MOVIES. It’s an escape to better and worse worlds. And it’s all okay.

Almost every eyewitness account of this shooting said they thought “it was part of the show.” A man walks in an emergency exit at midnight with a gas mask and bullet proof vest and people’s first thought is “he is in costume” “he thinks he’s the dark knight” “he is part of the show.” I can’t help but think in another space, one where we are not expected to suspend our disbelief, awarenesses might not have been so inhibited. And this is not an argument of change. Even if people had been more alert they were still trapped inside the dark square with a gunman.

Immediately upon waking, immediately upon news stories, upon all the outrage, I had this sick feeling. Sick because in all my awareness, I had imagined this happening before. In 1997 I saw the movie SCREAM 2. The movie begins in a movie theater. The movie begins with people dressed as killers in the movie theater. Everyone has a weapon. Everyone assumes they are props. And suddenly, people start getting murdered. And everything thinks it’s part of the show because they are in the movie theater. People cheer. People are entertained. People think this is what was supposed to happen. All because they are in a movie theater. All because they have already shed their awareness before entering the dark room. All because it is assumed that everything inside this room is a product of invention and imagining. And here I am making a point about the imagined with something also imagined.

But ever since I saw this, I have thought about it every time I’ve entered a movie theater. I’ve thought about how easily we give ourselves. How in the jumbled up confusion of believing something so hard, we momentarily forget who we are. Where we are. Why we are.

And because we can not trust that someone in this world will not enter our spaces and hurt us. And because we can not seem to control the gun problem in this country. And because no matter how hard we try, pre-meditated acts will always have a leg up on us. All we have is our awareness.

Because when we are at the movies we are at the movies. Because  we are vulnerable at the movies. Because we are stripped of our normal defenses  at the movies. We are all vessels of awareness. No matter how big or small. The mind is full of trickery. Our levels of awareness are altered depending on our immediate places. The movies feel safe. The movies feel like a second home. We forget this it is a public space. We forget there are no metal detectors or guards or people making sure we are being good. Because why would we need that at the movies?

At the movies we are giving ourselves to the movies. We are looking forward only. We are immersed in film. We are not aware of anything except what the filmmaker wants us to be aware of. We are transformed. We are unthinking in our thinking. It’s not the movies fault. It’s because nothing in this world can be controlled. Because everything is controlled.  Our minds are such strong animals. They have us all the time.

Jan 26, 2012

News

Best New Poets 2011 has arrived!

A big thank you to D.A. Powell for choosing my poem “Conjugated” for inclusion.

Also read fantastic poems by Angelo Nikolopoulos, Rebecca Hazelton, Ash Bowen, Ansel Elkins, Brittany Cavallaro, Claudia Cortese, Jonathan Rice, Stephen Neal Weiss, David Welch, Rae Gouirand, Cori A.Winrock, Hemant Mohapatra, and many other greats poets!

Buy Best New Poets 2011 HERE

Scheduled Readings in the New York/ Metro Area

2011 Best New Poets Reading
March 7, 2012  @ 6 PM
featuring Angelo Nikolopoulos, Kimberly Grey, Cori A. Winrock, Stephen Neal Weiss, Nicole Sealey, Claudia Cortese and Matthew Ritger
The Cornelia Street Cafe (downstairs)
Greenwich Village, New York 10014

2011 Best New Poets Reading
March 15, 2012 @ 7:30 PM
featuring Stephen Neal Weiss, Claudia Cortese, and Kimberly Grey
[ Words Bookstore ]
179 Maplewood Avenue
Maplewood, NJ 07040

Guernica: A Magazine of Art and Politics published my poem “Of Largeness” in the December issue
Read and listen to the poem HERE

In print I have poems in Issue 10 of Barrelhouse, Issue 3.1 of Gigantic Sequins, Issue 28 of Washington Square Review, and Issue 5 of Barn Owl Review (forthcoming)

Order Barrelhouse 10
Order Gigantic Sequins 3.1
Pre-order Barn Owl Review
Order Washington Square Review

I also have poems forthcoming in print in The Southern Review, The Colorado Review, and Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art in spring and summer issues.

And perhaps the greatest news of all is that my beautiful friend and amazing poet Meghan Laughlin-Privitello has her gorgeous poem “Yes I will Go” forthcoming in a future issue of NOÖ Journal! Anticipate it, as I do.

Oct 26, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Photographs

October 24th, 2011

Aug 3, 2011

Recent News

D.A. Powell has chosen one of my poems for the 2011 Best New Poets Anthology. Many thanks to him!

My poem “Hunger Sentences” was published in the Summer/Fall 2011 issue of Washington Square Review

My poem “Typographical Sentences” was published  by The Portland Review

Gigantic Sequins will publish one of my poems in their next issue.

I will be traveling around Switzerland for the next few weeks! Auf wiedersehen!

May 18, 2011

Spring 2011 Semester: Contemporary Poetry, reviewed

Six Amazing Poets

Six Amazing Books

25 Amazing students

And one very proud and thankful Professor

Thank you to Dawn Lundy Martin, Kyle Dargan, Mark Bibbins, Jason Koo, Sandra Beasley, and Ana Božičević for coming to Adelphi.

And to all my amazing students for their great work.

Jan 31, 2011

New News

My first-book manuscript “The Opposite of Robot is Light” was a finalist for the 2011 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize. Congratulations to Laura Cronk, whose book Having Been an Accomplice was chosen as the winner and will be published by Persea Books in 2012.

My poem “X Y” was published in the Winter/Spring 2011 Issue of TriQuarterly, among so much brilliant, brilliant work.

My poem “American Sentences” was published in Two Weeks: A Digital Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, designed and produced by Johnathon Williams and Ash Bowen of Linebreak. The Anthology is beautifully compiled and contains the work of so many talented poets, including Matthew Zapruder, Bruce Bond, Oliver de la Paz, Joe Wilkins, Dorianne Laux, Seth Abramson, and more. Much thanks to Johnathon and Ash for including me.

One of my photographs, a self-portrait of sorts, was used as the cover for the Anthology.

My reading for the Writer’s Roundtable Series that was scheduled in New Jersey for the 1st of February has been cancelled to due the weather and will be rescheduled at a later date.

I will be at the AWP Conference in Washington, D.C. February 3-5. Let’s get a drink.

Dec 4, 2010

News

Linebreak nominated my poem “A Meditation in Tweets” for a 2010 Pushcart Prize! Much thanks to the editors

Anti- nominated my poem “Mnemonic for the Deconstruction of Memory” for a 2010 Pushcart Prize! Much thanks to the editors

Barrelhouse will publish two poems in its spring 2011 Issue!

Linebreak published my poem “Modern Sentences”

I will be a featured reader for the Writer’s Roundtable Series at Sussex County Community College on February 1st, 2011

Anti- will feature one of my photos as cover art of an upcoming issue

Six poets will read from their books at my contemporary poetry class at Adelphi University during the Spring 2011 semester

Sandra Beasley

Mark Bibbins

Ana Božičević

Kyle Dargan

Dawn Lundy Martin

Jason Koo

Nov 10, 2010

Short-Talk On Where To Travel

I went travelling to a wreck of a place.
There were three gates standing ajar
and a fence that broke off. It was not
the wreck of anything else in particular.
A place came there and crashed. After
that it remained the wreck of a place.
Light fell on it.

Anne Carson

Oct 11, 2010

The Brooklyn Review

The Brooklyn Review was started over a quarter-century ago, under the tutelage of Allen Ginsberg and Jonathan Baumbach. I am proud to have my poem Marriage: A Meditation in Adverbs in the 27th issue, a mighty beautiful collection of literary work.

I particularly loved the type-written letter I received from the poetry editor, Ted Dodson, who included a fortune at the bottom of the note:

Much thanks to all the editors and to Brooklyn College for a beautiful magazine and home for my poem.

Poem can be read here  Download PDF

Apr 30, 2010

Lower Manhattan

It felt strange to walk around Battery Park tonight. I still feel like I should be silent, like I should be muttering some kind of elegy to the suffered buildings. Like I should walk with my head slightly toward the ground. Maybe it’s because I still think of this part of Manhattan as bruised. Or maybe, it’s just me that is still tender. But after hearing Anne Carson read tonight, one thing remains: Death makes us stingy. However immensely beautiful the buildings seemed, the Hudson, the sky, the poems; tonight I want to keep it all to myself.