2016 NYC Poetry Festival
Tucson to N.Y.C.
This year’s tour has been gravel down a tin roof. Wait, that’s rain. No, that’s rust.
That’s a locked door. There’s a smile behind this stumble. Here’s a lock pick. Here’s a shot. Here’s a rolled back odometer. Here’s a shady wrench. Here’s a lawnmower spitting snake guts.
I’m writing to ya’ll from Denver. We’re kicking about here thru the 9th for This Lil Lit Fest coordinated by Ctch Bsnss of Witch Craft Magazine. There’s a bunch of dope line ups coming from Nostrovia!, Witch Craft, Spy Kids Review, & Bottlecap Press.
We’re about a 1/3 thru 2016’s tour, & it’s been a hell of a process even getting this far. A wriggling, sweaty bolus of 4,718 miles unraveling.
We made the last tour thru w/ a 92 Camry Stationwagon named Grim. She died in Tucson, early July, hacking up black gunk & wheezing between gears.
With three weeks till the tour’s kick off at the NYC Poetry Festival, there was some obligatory cliche moonlighting as heavy drinking and obsessive Craigslist browsing for a new ride. We found a 2003 Town & Country.
Meet Damp, a hyper-masculine, misfiring, stubborn mothafucker.
I’d often step out for a sunrise cigarette & find Damp bullying Grim, ridiculing her age. At night you could hear him tearing up over his sunbaked blue & horrible reputation.
There were a lot of external assurances that Damp would be a good buy. My gut said otherwise, but quick dice repressed the lil internal squeals, & Damp was driven home.
He got along with the mechanic. His guts clean of oil. No misfires yet. No rust. We thought we’d found that one mint diamond buried in manure graveyard that is Chrysler
The honeymoon phase died quick into roadside arguments and mechanical therapy.
Without much choice, we did what we could, & rolled the die again. The clockworks churned ugly. “Well Damp, if this is how it’s going to be, we’re going to ride this relationship till it wrecks.”
The car troubles & economic issues & all that jazz isn’t what’s relevant immediately though. These problems are consistent & persistent. The road doesn’t have mercy on destinations. It’s the circus of in-betweens made tangible with mileage.
So let’s move on.
The initial shot from Tucson AZ to Manchester NH was chased in ~3 days & change. We gas jugged the distance, having already gambled all funds on the gigs, trying to rig the set to come out a couple more steps ahead.
In New Hampshire, long time homie of mine & N!, Hapgood, stayed behind to tend to family. Before Eric & I continued on, he blessed Damp for luck.
New York, New York, Sing for me!
Our 4th round at the NYC Poetry Festival successfully debuted 2016’s Chapbook Contest winners;
- Bob Sykora’s “I Was Talking About Love—You Are Talking About Geography“
- Emily O’Neill’s “Make a Fist & Tongue the Knuckles“
- Elle Nash’s “I Can Remember the Meaning of Every Tarot Card But I Can’t Remember What I Texted You Last Night”
From a disgruntled ex-publisher I’d cut ties with last year, we received threats of fire & brimstone towards the traveling bookstore. We had to man the stand with a metal bat, just in-case. Everything was riding on how the gig rolled.
The cat ended up being more bark than bite, & we are grateful for this.
& believe it or not, Books & Shovels covered rent + travel costs to Denver. $$ outta poetry & literature? Dawym.
CLOSING NOTES & PHOTOJOURNAL
Shout out & love to N! homies Michael Ganjehlou + Jennesy Herrera for their support & making this year’s festival feasible. Also, huge bloody <3s to Bob Sykora for making it out to feature w/ us !!