Idioletta at O’ in Milan
6 October 2016
A POETRY READING MARATHON
curated by Mattia Capelletti & Costanza Candeloro
Enrico Boccioletti • Niina Pollari
CM Gratitude • Ana Božičević
Alessandro Di Pietro • Monica McClure
Fenêtreproject • Daniel Borzutzky
Lorenza Longhi • Susan Wheeler
Andrea Magnani • Jennifer Kronovet
Elena Radice • Jeff Dolven
Real Madrid • David Tomas Martinez
Axelle Stiefel • CAConrad
Venturi & Vasiljević • Matthew Dickman
Seyoung Yoon • Chelsea Hodson
Following an inquiry into contemporary American poetry, the work of eleven authors will collide with the visual and performative output of as many artists. Throughout the evening, by way of a summoning of the text, the concealment of sense will disclose itself as one of the manifold peculiarities of poetry.
This is the first of a series of iterations. Its second gathering will be played out on November 25th.
I used to lay my head down on the pillow
as a waiter sets a full glass on a tray:
my ear was full of oil, against an ear-ache,
warm oil, a patient spoonful, filling my ear.
Later, I tried to replicate the feeling
with candle wax, and I wound up making a cast
of the winding stair down to the idea
to make a cast of the idea of making a cast.
Not that this was obvious in the object,
nor when, as later, I cast some more in bronze,
using the process generally called lost wax.
There isn’t much to learn from looking at them.
Some I gave away, and some I sold;
I never told anyone what they might be for,
and I never asked what anyone did with them,
nor what had happened to them when they did.
How pliant is this precipitous deduction?
Who else has written this particular poem?
I’m pondering a cast of a different idea.
I wonder if such a thing is possible?
Jeff Dolven’s poems have appeared in magazines and journals in the US and the UK and are collected in a volume, Speculative Music (Sarabande 2013). He teaches poetry and poetics at Princeton University, and is also the author of two books of criticism, Scenes of Instruction (2007) and Senses of Style (forthcoming), and essays on a variety of subjects, including Renaissance metrics, Edmund Spenser, Shakespeare’s reading, Fairfield Porter, and player pianos. He is an editor-at-large at Cabinet magazine.
3 September: Leo
All weekend my friend Levi has been trying
to land a No Comply 360, he spends hours skating
at the mall and in China Town where he’s been
experimenting with pills he crushes up
and then inhales. High School
is out there somewhere waiting for us
like a bully. All weekend he has been talking
me out of my sadness
and telling me I will be ok, that I will fall
in love again. You have to love beyond yourself,
he says, you have to disappear into it.
At Levi’s house we are picking up two cans
of generic root beer and tightening
the trucks on his skateboard. His mother
is sitting on a stool in the middle of the living
room, half naked, half covered in a robe.
It’s summer and the can of root beer feels like a lake
in my hand. Walking toward the front door
Levi’s mom is laughing. What are you two faggots
doing anyway, she says, you guys gonna fuck each other?
And then there’s a weird silence
and then Levi reaches back into some part of himself
that shouldn’t exist yet
and punches her in the face, punches her off the stool
and onto the floor. Here is love.
Here is the mother and son disappearing. Not vanishing
exactly. Not decomposing but something faster,
like fainting, the world all around you and then nothing
but pixelated light, static like an old television,
the dark filling the screen and then who knows what after that.
Matthew Dickman is the author of All-American Poem (American Poetry Review/ Copper Canyon Press, 2008), 50 American Plays (co-written with his twin brother Michael Dickman, Copper Canyon Press, 2012), and Mayakovsky’s Revolver (W.W. Norton & Co, 2012).His poems have appeared in McSweeny’s, Ploughshares, The Believer, The London Review of Books, Narrative Magazine, Esquire Magazine and The New Yorker among others. Matthew Dickman is the Poetry Editor of Tin House Magazine. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
5 September: Scorpio
If someone comes
Into my house
They’ll find my deposits
My gross body
My oil and the indent
Of me in repose
My evidence of person
And then I can finally explain
What it means to be alone
When you’re surrounded
Scrutinize the plasma screen
It’s covered in cast skin
Mine and otherwise
Home air is a curtain
Beaded with cells
That glint in the sun
As they descend
And won’t stop landing
With erotic ambivalence
Is more alive than dead
All the utensils licked
Bacteria holding hands
In the cutting board
The living room
The bedroom and bathroom
Each have innumerable listeners
Inside their wall holes
Eggsacked mother animals
Drop from holes at night
A mildewed yogurt lid
Keeps the water of my bath
Sucked in like a tidy belly
I sit in the bathtub
And shed away my feels
And where do they go then
Where do they go
Feelings As Physical Germs
Niina Pollari is the author of DEAD HORSE (Birds, LLC 2015) and the translator, from the Finnish, of Tytti Heikkinen’s collectionThe Warmth of the Taxidermied Animal (Action Books 2012). She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
7 September: Scorpio
clumsiness, and nothing about
makes me weep,
but something about
a woman with eyelashes
like broken wings, about a woman
wearing leopard print
who wears the smell of death,
languidly awaiting a predator
that makes the bated descent
of stairs, into flame, alley
into club, more than just a room
of throbbing light, more than
a cave of decorative bones.
David Tomas Martinez
David Tomas Martinez’s debut collection, Hustle, was published in 2014 by Sarabande Books, winning the New England Book Festival’s prize in poetry, the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award, and honorable mention in the Antonio Cisneros Del Moral prize. The 2015 winner of the Verlaine Poetry Prize from Inprint, Martinez is a Pushcart winner, CantoMundo fellow, and a recipient of the Stanley P. Young Fellowship from Breadloaf. A second collection, Post Traumatic Hood Disorder, is forthcoming in 2018 from Sarabande Books. Martinez teaches creative writing at Columbia University in New York City.
9 September: Sagittarius
Approximately 80% of the time, beauty occurs outside.
Beauty appears in decreasing amounts in the following
bodies of water: ocean, river, lake, pond, bath, puddle.
Men are 20% worse at using beauty than women.
Beauty and window appear in the same unit more often
than beauty and any other non-human noun.
Human beauty brings the word into a lower diction than
J—- is a beauty is either archaic or sarcastic according to
five people just like me.
You can distinguish beauty from prettiness by using a lie
detector. You can distinguish beauty from pulchritude by
plumbing a puddle.
Beauty can be the opposite of a number.
Beauty implies curse in some rural dialects.
Beauty is rarely the subject.
Semantic Analysis: Beauty
from The Wug Test (Ecco, 2016)
Jennifer Kronovet is the author of two poetry collections: The Wug Test, forthcoming in October, and Awayward. Under the name Jennifer Stern, she co-translated Empty Chairs, poetry by Chinese writer Liu Xia.
11 September: Capricorn
There is a yellow barrier in front of a warehouse on the west side of Chicago
An authoritative body with a gun wears a leather jacket that says “Policia” on the back of it
There are no secrets
The prisoneres are tortured in a secret police compound that everyone knows about
Hola mira estamos en el centro del mundo no me gusta estar tan conectado a la tierra prefiero viajar por el espacio sideral los planetas las estrellas
el mundo me aburre dice el cuerpo autoritario
me voy a Chicago me voy a Jupiter me a voy Saturno
vamos a Chicago es mucho más fácil que nos matan o que matamos o que liberamos nuestras almas de nuestros cuerpos o vice-fooking-versa
PUNTO PERIOD Do you read me? -Yes, Hi
See it’s hard being in the center of the country being in the center of the country it’s a bit like being in the center of the universe I’d rather be in outer space moving through planets and stars oh Earth you are so boring not like on Saturn or Jupiter or the moon brother and sisters and earthlings let us go to Chicago it’s so much easier to be killed there or to kill or to free our souls from our bodies I mean our bodies from our souls….
Did you hear the one about the military gang that called the mayor in the middle of the night demanding money to save his daughter?
A girl’s voice could be heard on the other end, gagged and muffled
But ha ha ha the mayor knew better: his daughter was not at home, she was vacationing on Lake Geneva on the southern tip of Wisconsin
The criminals were arrested after the location of their cellular phones was detected through sophisticated satellite software
The criminals went to jail where they molded forever and ever 82
The authoritative bodies screen films at night in the prison camps on the beaches at the northern end of Chicago
There’s one that they project on Sundays on the outer wall of the prison We sit on the sand and watch it under the mist and moon
The authoritative bodies tell us to laugh and when we don’t laugh they beat us
They tell us to cry and when we cry they beat us
They command us to make little sounds to signal that we are experiencing aesthetic or emotional pleasure as we watch the Sunday night film that begins in a warehouse, a holding cell for immigrants who are smuggled across the border
Meet M…she’s a mother of 3 Her children are in California She does not have papers
She has paid a smuggler $6200 to help her cross the border and when she makes it into Arizona her family members will have to pay more money to finish the deal
There she is in a cell crammed wall-to-wall with other people who have paid thousands of dollars and are now stuck in an airless shack until the smugglers decide it’s okay to leave
The sun rises and now she is walking through the desert
Overhead shot of barrel cacti, brittlebush, chain fruit cholla, Joshua trees, jumping chollas, Mojave aster, soaptree yucca, prickly pear cacti
Lizards, Gila monsters, bobcats, tortoises, desert toads, pygmy owls, thorny devils
The immigrants are weak, hungry, barely able to move
Some are stumbling to the ground, or crawling, or completely unable to move
But just as you think they are going to collapse from dehydration, together they start to sing:
Ay que bonito es volar, a la 2 de la mañana, a la 2 de la mañana, ay que bonito es volar, ay mama, volar y volar y volar, a la 2 de la mañana, a la 2 de la mañana, ay que bonito es volar ay mama
And there is a miracle
They begin to fly
They begin to fly over the border like witches
They are witches and they fly over the border
And they sing:
It’s so beautiful to fly
It is soooooo beautiful to fly
And they do not die of dehydration
And they are not arrested
And their smugglers are arrested and forced to return the thousands of dollars they have taken from them
The immigrants fly and fly across the desert until they land in the middle of a cosmopolitan city where a handsome, kind bureaucrat takes them to a hotel where they are given a warm bed and bath for the night; a few hundred dollars to get to their next location; the appropriate documents so that they can work and have health care
They are welcomed by the bureaucrats with gratitude, joy, and compassion
Ay que bonito es volar
And they make us sing on the beaches of Lake Michigan: It’s so beautiful to fly, so beautiful to fly
And we sing as loud as we can so that they can hear us on the prison ships a half mile off the coast
Hay que bonito es volar, a la 2 de la mañana, a la 2 de la mañana, hay que bonito es volar ay mama
And tonight as we watch our brothers and sisters flying across the desert there are no machetes
There is no blood on our bodies
There are no forceps jammed into our orifices
There are no kicks, no blows, no handcuffs
Damn it feels good to fly
It’s what the body must always remember
Lake Michigan, Scene #X1C290.341ab3dy
Daniel Borzutzky’s books and chapbooks include The Performance of Becoming Human (2016), In the Murmurs of the Rotten Carcass Economy (2015), Memories of my Overdevelopment (2015), Bedtime Stories for the End of the World! (2015), Data Bodies (2013), The Book of Interfering Bodies (2011), and The Ecstasy of Capitulation (2007). He has translated Raúl Zurita’s The Country of Planks (2015) and Song for his Disappeared Love (2010), and Jaime Luis Huenún’s Port Trakl (2008). His work has been supported by the Illinois Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Pen/Heim Translation Fund. He lives in Chicago.
13 September: Aquarius
You see the reason I had
To deliver you to the bank
Where the clangor of my causes
Could not rouse your fiscal ugliness
As only aridity can produce
Terranean worship of the body as passage.
There was no chill within me
At least not any unticked by time
I had to go in pursuit
Of shaved silicone
And pill queens in linen jumpsuits
I had to devote myself to cashmere chew toys
And create Worklife agendas of selfregard
You are your own pet coward now
Led like a gelding by a pink ribbon
And I am less deceived, but also less adored.
Your amenability to this disarticulation
Is my second victimhood
Beware of verdant land
Beware of middling men
Now we slowly dig a trench
And your women ask us why
And you dolt, you have no response for them.
The future will depend on spirits
And the fob off of new Alphas
Who are selfprofessed business hippies
Soon every person will have been let down
By a guy who buys antiques online.
Monica McClure is the author of the poetry collection, Tender Data (Birds, LLC, 2015) and the chapbooks, Mood Swing (Snacks Press 2013), Mala (Poor Claudia, 2014), and Boss Part 1 and Boss Part 2 (If A Leaf Falls Press, 2016) and Concomitance (Counterpath Press, 2016). Her poetry and prose has been featured in NPR, The Huffington Post, Tin House, Jubilat, Fence, Flavorwire, The Hairpin, Poetry Foundation, The Los Angeles Review, The Lit Review, Emily Books, The Awl, and elsewhere.
15 September: Aquarius
dear boy scouts of the
great illusion with
the friends to
prove beauty and
kindness can succeed
snicker all you want at his
asking price but come to know his
Earth Poem 21
CAConrad’s childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift. He is the author of eight books of poetry and essays, the latest ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness (Wave Books) is the winner of the 2015 Believer Magazine Book Award. He is a Pew Fellow and has also received fellowships from Lannan Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Headlands Center for the Arts, Banff, and Ucross. For his books and details on the documentary The Book of Conrad (Delinquent Films, 2016), please visit http://CAConrad.blogspot.com
17 September: Aries
Beyond the walls of this house others will be nice to you.
They will not ridicule you every day.
And if you’ve something to say, they’ll say okay.
I will put a nickel in the penny pot at Joe’s,
I will make like Roxanne’s saying something new.
And if I’m stuck with Lame C crew, I’ll make do.
He’s spinning, sponging and the man in the street –
He’s sponging the worst off the man in the street –
The hawk’s got a pigeon and it’s slamming its steak –
It wasn’t my fault –
It wasn’t my fault –
So for Pete’s sake go make breakfast and then wake me up.
Wake Louise and me when you’ve seen J Z twice;
When it’s ready everything is new, you’ll make nice, you’ll make do
Susan Wheeler is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Meme from the University of Iowa Press, and a novel, Record Palace, published by Graywolf Press. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Witter Bynner Prize for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she teaches at Princeton University and lives in the New York area.
18 September: Aries
Some say the night fell like an empire
Some rodeo rider
The neverending time before the deli opens
Let me reincarnate into a deli cat
Or subway rat let me never leave this place
And see my country again
Could’ve milked my
Sleep for cash
In the window the birds chirp
Same as in the porn I’m watching
The universe frotting and edging
To live alone
Woken by cars fucking
And listen to the microwave winds
Tears a blazin
And so very happy
Haven’t gone to sleep since last I was happy
So technically it’s still
Same old night we met
The crispy one I was born
Back when we were dinosaur and wore
Water of the Mountain
I didn’t have pussy yet
Just a wooden hole for sounds
Ana Božičević writes poetry, like the Lambda Award winning Rise in the Fall and the forthcoming Joy of Missing Out (Birds LLC), and works & teaches at BHQFU in NYC.
19 September: Aries
Catie sent me her new book
said I was in it a fair amount
that’s a good way to get me to read something
to tell me I can search for myself
like the whole world is the internet
and everything is about to happen.
I guess I woke up in a bad mood
because fuck your love songs
dedicated to people that remind you
of yourself—they don’t need music, I do.
A warning is not an apology
but I’m sorry for what I might say
I hope I never get pregnant
like Megan, so happy with tomorrow
pulsing inside her, I hope to kiss
Rachel tomorrow but she won’t
allow it. By now you have an idea
of me and that’s OK—if I’m an idea
then I don’t have to be a person.
I can run for office or along the beach
pretending the sun does something
for me, pretending I deepen
when I face the sea. War is a cure
for boredom, witch hunts are a shortcut
to power and censorship weakens
my heart until it’s so slow
I don’t have to make anything at all. I would kill
for someone I love. When you’re that way
you just know. I feel bloody and animal
but then what of my very human
longing born from the purple light
on Sarah’s karaoke face and the truly
innocent. I made eye contact with a mouse
in my room—I didn’t move or scream
I just said Hey. HEY!
I don’t need to solve everything
I just have to feel heard and I call
my bones The New York Times
because that’s how it feels sometimes
important like the world is facing me.
When I was in Janey’s room I said
I don’t even know your real name
and he tossed an electric bill at my leg.
Something about that made me sad
I guess I hadn’t really wanted to know
I liked his curated truth, the shapes it made
in the air. Dorothy touched the ribbon
around my neck and then the acid
did I want some, did I want to sing
no and no but I was happy to watch
the lyrics appear and fall a little
in love again. I thought my heart
was expired but it was just really really working.
Tell me what time it is, tell me your history
of what. This is the future and I’m mostly surviving
refusing to vote, it just doesn’t seem
like a thing we need to do anymore. I’ll be the one
to wrap a red sash around the newest stores
and use my big scissors, turning every day
into a grand opening—vote for me.
I’m inventing a machine, and like all good prototypes
it takes up a whole room. Testing one two
as the engine begins to rattle, then purr
the keyboard lights up like an accusation
printing your new name which is so good
I say it a hundred times and through the night
you hear my hundred mouths
and you recognize them as your own.
Chelsea Hodson is the author of the chapbooks Pity the Animal and Beach Camp, as well as the poetry record Night Redacted. She teaches nonfiction at Catapult and she is the Managing Editor of Bennington Review. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.