On Thursday morning, Lara dropped me off at the train station. She gave me eight dollars and a pack of tissues. The train ride was very long - almost twelve hours. I re-read Alex Robinson's epic graphic novel, Box Office Poison. My seatmate was a person named Denise. Denise appeared to be trans. This freaked out the two teenagers from New Jersey across the aisle. They advised caution. Upon arriving at Penn Station, I took the subway to Brooklyn and made my way to Amy King's apartment. After the train, it felt great to shower and change clothes. Amy was giving a reading in Baltimore that night, so I had the place to myself. I walked to the other end of Lorimer St. to meet my friend Janet, who I lived with for a couple years in North Carolina. I'd only eaten train food all day, so she took me to a bar where you get a free pizza with any drink purchase. It was delicious. I made it back to Amy's around 2 in the morning and read a little from Amy Bender's latest book before falling asleep.
Friday was the day of my reading. In lieu of preparing, I threw all my poems and most of my clothes into a suitcase the morning I left. So on Friday morning, I took my poems to Gimme Coffee and got very overstimulated on caffeine as I blocked out my reading. Then I went to Manhattan to have lunch with my friend Arye. Then Amy and I primped simultaneously for our respective readings, hers in Manhattan, mine in Brooklyn. The Fall Cafe was really cute. Some of my Pitchfork colleagues showed up, and Jim Behrle brought me a painting (pictured above). Christian Peet, a remarkably hirsute man, read first. He was being experimental by reading blank verse. I read from This is the Motherfucking Remix, my in-progress collboration with Marcus Slease, and from F7. The crowd was friendly and responsive. They laughed at my jokes. After the reading I had a great time hanging out with Matt and Katy (Cannibal editors and reading curators), James (Moistworks peep), and others at the Brooklyn Social Club, drinking beer and shooting pool. I wore my t-shirt with a design that looks like nonsense characters until you fold it up, Mad magazine style, and discover that it says "fuck you," so strangers paid attention to me, which I enjoy. On the way home, Matt pretended that he was about to fall onto the train tracks, which Katy did not appreciate one bit. Amy and I exchanged poetry scene gossip deep into the night.
On Saturday, the weathe was atrocious - rainy and cold. I spent the morning drinking coffee and reading Cannibal at Gimme Coffee. Then I went back to Manhattan to meet Janet. We wanted to see the Munch exhibit at MoMA. Lara's brother is the projectionist there, so we got in for free. We tramped through the freezing rain. I bought an umbrella for five dollars. The Munch exhibit was great. I was text messaging a friend to tell her about it, and an eldery women peevishly asked if I was interested in the art or my cell phone. I wondered why she was worried about my cell phone if she was so intent on the art, but I demurred in telling her so. After the museum, Janet and I had dinner and went shopping at H&M, one of the few places where spending NC money on NY clothing doesn't utterly break you. That night, I headed over to Northsix to meet up with Arye, Wendy Raffel from Continuum Press, and some Pitchfork people for the Parts and Labor CD release party. Then I went to Janet's birthday party at Redd's Tavern in Williamsburg. There was skeeball, popcorn, and drunk girls dancing to "Survivor". I ran into someone I know from Chapel Hill who was taking the same 7:15 am train back to NC that I was taking the next morning. She asked if I wanted to just stay up all night. I said maybe. I went to Barcade with Janet after the party dispersed, then stumbled back to Amy's at about 3:30 am. I got to sleep by 3:45, then woke up to my cell phone alarm at 5:45 am. I wouldn't say that lurching back out into the cold after 2 hours of sleep was the high point of the trip. I made it to the station just in time, and wound up sitting beside the person I know from Chapel Hill. She had indeed stayed up all night, and did a better job of sleeping on the train than I did. The train ride home was odd. It was some kind of Lynchian dystopia, a catalogue of human dysfunction. The person in front of me had multiple conversations on her cell phone where she would repeat the phrase, "I'm sorry, I just don't have anything to say to you," for upwards of half an hour. A Chinese person in the back intermittently screamed - literally screamed - Chinese into her own cell phone, which had a ring that reminded me of an air-raid siren. I got sunburned on half my body because I was sitting by the window. Between bouts of light dozing, I read the Village Voice and Fence. Now I'm home, trying to catch up on the deadlines I missed while I was away. I'm going back to New York to read in September, and I'm already looking forward to it.