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Radha Says

The final collection by award-winning poet Reetika Vazirani, published by Drunken Boat.

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Annotations of contemporary poetry edited by Lisa Russ Spaar, published by Drunken Boat.


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A multi-media performance interrogating the possibility and repercussions of, a black queer unconscious. Using documentation, “live writing,” and improvisation, members of the Black Took Collective engage a radical performance of poetics in order to problematize the claims about being black and queer that many of us hold dear.

Created and performed by Black Took Collective (Duriel E. Harris, Dawn Lundy Martin, and Ronaldo Wilson)

Monday, July 19, 2010 At 09:30 PM, $10 (advance), $15 (at door)
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Published Jul 16, 2010 - Comments Off

The truth was that he wasted time.

I think in a past life perhaps I was Marie Antoinette’s lapdog.

I have been thinking about routine lately. Structure. Schedule. Time management. The order to one’s day. I have never excelled at routine, perhaps because I am so distractible and because my natural inclination is to stay in repose. I think in a past life perhaps I was Marie Antoinette’s lapdog.

They say that routine is important. Routine is paramount if you are unemployed (raising my hand), if you write (raising my hand while feeling like a fraud), if you are a parent raising a toddler or teenager (thankfully not me), if you teach adolescents (in a past life). The list goes on. My acupuncturist is forever gently asking me about my routine, about respecting my body’s need for rhythm, regularity.

In truth I am much better now than my younger years. But I am nothing like my girlfriend whose ability to routinize her life produces equal amounts of shame, jealousy, and admiration roiling about in me. She is my polar opposite in this regard: a natural at structure and the epitome of efficiency. She will do her laundry, plan a week’s worth of meals, scrub the toilet and bathtub, send several cover letters, plant and harvest sage and rosemary, and read an entire issue of the New Yorker cover to cover in the time it takes me to shower, reply to Facebook posts, Google the latest on Lindsay Lohan, and perhaps complete a draft of one cover letter while despairing over the state of the floors in my apartment and the unfinished section to my novel. Of course when I did have a job I groused that I never had time for my writing, but now in my unemployed state I find myself struggling to commit to the page any of the brilliant ideas for my novel because I need a job and so instead I string sentences about how I have cultivated and honed certain sets of skills over the years which make me an ideal fit for the position.

This is all rather pedestrian though. It’s the tiresome self-involved lament of many writers. And this is why I was excited to find a blog called Daily Routines, with the tagline: How writers, artists, and other interesting people organize their days. Unfortunately the blog appears to be on hiatus but the archives are a trove of validation for the procrastinating routine-averse angst-struck writer and artist among us. Reading the entries under the category Procrastinators was nothing short of revelatory, and I especially found comfort and amusement in the post in which Franz Kafka was indicted as someone who wastes time, who could have produced more work if only he had been smarter, more efficient about it.


I could spend hours on this blog, devouring the details of delinquency and dallying of all the great writers. Alas, perhaps that’s the problem.

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Published Jul 13, 2010 - Comments Off

David Bowie aside, I’m fascinated by Nikola Tesla. His neuroses, his pigeons, his poverty, the way his mind worked—maybe my colors are showing as the daughter of a blacksmith.

A fascinating piece of Teslalia (that needs a fill-vowel), his poem “Fragments of Olympian Gossip,” curiously dedicated to German poet, publisher, mystic, propagandist, and Nazi-apologist George Sylvester Viereck (also known for the “first known gay vampire story,” as Wikipedia puts it). Tesla’s contributions to a wealth of modern inventions tends to go unnoticed (radar, radio, maybe even a death ray), and this poetic commentary on the 1920’s scientific community is usually swept under the rug, along with them:

Nikola Tesla, November 4, 1934
“Fragments of Olympian Gossip”

While listening on my cosmic phone
I caught words from the Olympus blown.
A newcomer was shown around;
That much I could guess, aided by sound.
“There’s Archimedes with his lever
Still busy on problems as ever.
Says: matter and force are transmutable
And wrong the laws you thought immutable.”
“Below, on Earth, they work at full blast
And news are coming in thick and fast.
The latest tells of a cosmic gun.
To be pelted is very poor fun.
We are wary with so much at stake,
Those beggars are a pest—no mistake.”
“Too bad, Sir Isaac, they dimmed your renown
And turned your great science upside down.
Now a long haired crank, Einstein by name,
Puts on your high teaching all the blame.
Says: matter and force are transmutable
And wrong the laws you thought immutable.”
“I am much too ignorant, my son,
For grasping schemes so finely spun.
My followers are of stronger mind
And I am content to stay behind,
Perhaps I failed, but I did my best,
These masters of mine may do the rest.
Come, Kelvin, I have finished my cup.
When is your friend Tesla coming up.”
“Oh, quoth Kelvin, he is always late,
It would be useless to remonstrate.”
Then silence—shuffle of soft slippered feet—
I knock and—the bedlam of the street.

Nikola Tesla, Novice

Okay, okay, some of it sounds a little like lyrics off The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust. But you can’t argue with this:

Happy Birthday, Nikola Tesla.

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Published Jul 09, 2010 - Comments Off

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