Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Day 30: Penny L.P.

  The final day of National Poetry Month!  What a wild, strange, beautiful trip it has been, recording and releasing a poem each day.  Since I began this process of posting a poem a day for a month on April 1, I always knew which of my poems I would record and release on the last day.  For over a decade, I directed marathon performances of James Joyce's novel Ulysses, usually performing the last three hours of Molly Bloom's monologue broadcast live nationally on the radio for the Pacifica Radio Network.  Ulysses has been my sacred text for most of my adult life.

This poem below is my contemporary American rewrite of the last few pages of Ulysses, which in the original are, of course, the Molly Bloom monologue.  The American Molly is Penny, a Brooklyn transport chasing the artist's life.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Day 29: Radio Daze

The penultimate poem for National poetry month.  A slice of life, shall we say.  Although I no longer record in my bathroom that was my first home studio in the middle of Manhattan.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Day 28: The Sandpiper

Ten years ago this December, my friend Mara McEwin  and I produced my verse play The Sandpiper which we both also performed in at the Thalia theater in New York City.  Inspired by the bird plays of Chekhov (The Sea Gull), Ibsen (The Wild Duck) and Strindberg (The Pelican), it is a play about three generations of Irish artists and the challenges of choosing an artistic life.

I met Mara my first week in New York City when we both auditioned for a children's play at The Grove Street Playhouse in the West Village.  Hilariously, we both got the role.  She played the princess.  I was the chicken and the marvelous photographer Mercedes McAndrew was cast as the horse.  For all three of us, it was the first New York City play we ever performed in. Today is Mara's birthday and so I am posting this monologue from The Sandpiper to remind her of one of the many wild, wooly, and wonderful nights we experienced together in NYC.  

This scene takes place between Johnny, a young actor and Neal, an experienced New York director. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Day 27: A History of Orange Juice

To all the oranges I've loved before.  And there's been many...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Day 26: Vela Shtern

It is a truly powerful work of art that inspires its audience to create.  I love conversations between artists spanning days or generations or even millenia as seen through their works.  This poem I wrote after spending an evening at the Anton Kern Gallery looking at the spectacular paintings of Ellen Berkenblit.  It was like walking into the diary of a New York City artist party girl that spanned at least a hundred years.  I named her Vela Shtern.  You will see some images of Ellen's electric paintings in the poem video below.  You can also buy the art book of these paintings here.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day 24: Seamus is Dead, Mick

Today's poem is about the death of the great Irish lion, Seamus Heaney, whose poetry threads through my own childhood memories, read to me by my father, mostly.  I hosted an hour long radio show In His Own Words:  A Memorial Tribute about Heaney's life and work the following Sunday.  You can listen to that WBAI broadcast here. 

Meanwhile, Seamus is Dead, Mick...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day 23: Tasting the Peach

Happy Birthday William Shakespeare.  Happy name day RGB.  Today we celebrated in style, under water, at spa castle.  Spring cleaning body, mind, apartment.  This is a poem about the male gaze...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day 22: Butterback Fly

There are certain experiences I return to often.  One of the most pleasurable is swimming, emotions falling off me left for the water to transform.  This poem is about the high of the water, that powerful, centering life sustaining escape.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Day 21: Triolet # 1

I am late off the mark today but what a glorious day it was.  Spring cleaning, walking down the high line with treasured friends, ice cream and potato chips, need I say more.  I wrote this poem a few days ago in the style of a triolet, a classic seventh century form first popularized by a French benedictine monk.  How to live, how to be like god, how to create...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Day 20: Ptoems and Pterodactyls

Happy Easter.  Season of Spring.  Fertility.  Rebirth.  Paint those eggs or better yet, hatch them.  This is a poem about the power of stories to save us, in the most unlikely places, from the most unlikely people.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day 19: Purpose

Yesterday was a long day of creative work, all of which I enjoyed, on several different projects, in several different roles and now the sockets of my brain have burnt out.  This poem may be backward or inside out, I am not sure how to rest the little mind and hear things afresh.  I will go swimming and stop writing and thinking even though I want to continue working on ideas and plans and schemes and plots.  The part of the body I focus on becomes a complete meglomaniac unable to share time  and yet and yet all signs point to a day off from the mind, immediately, beginning after I post this poem.

This short poem is about purpose in a life, in particular, in the life of a flowering branch fallen from a tree.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Day 18: The Cabbie's Eyes

Cab Drivers.  Taxis.  New York City. Our patron saints.  Our mascots.  Our habit.  This is a poem about a cab driver not wearing his glasses.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Day 17: How to Entertain

Have you invited a friend over and need to tidy up?  Wouldn't the best thing just to be as you are?  No?  Well, try this...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Day 16: The Free Lancer's Lament

Half way through the month!  How very interesting you say.  Today whenever I tried to record, the heater sputtered at me, a truck beeped backwards, steel beams came crashing down.  Tis a metaphor for life itself.

In any case, today is about what happens in the mind before we sit down to write.  Every.  Single. Day.  That would be the royal we of voices inside my our head.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Day 15: Sleeping on the Floor

Happy Blood Moon!  Ides of April!  Tax Day!  Spring!  This poem is about the specific madness of back pain, reading it makes my back hurt, so you know, if you are sensitive to all that, proceed with caution...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 14: City Morning

I will do my taxes this morning at last.  But did I record a poem first?  I did.  A friend didn't realize I wrote all of these poems and thought I was reading other people's poems which I often like to do as well.  All these poems that I record for the month of April are indeed my poems that I wrote over the past few months.  

I went to an excellent cd release concert at Rockwood last night.  Life in a Blender's We already have birds that sing.  Poetry with music, check it out.  Only $7 for the digital album!

City mornings and the memories that pile on top of one another in your own neighborhood are quite lovely.  This poem is that - 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Day 13: Playdate

Today is Little Poet's 7 and 2/3 birthday.  He wrote a poem about a T rex this morning.  This is a poem about a classic New York playdate.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Day 12: Inbetween

The curtain in my state of the art recording studio (did you intuit the sarcasm?) fell down the other day and I thought ara, it will be fine and then I began noticing all these sounds in the back of the tracks. Trucks horning, and heater clicking and floors squeaking and I went a bit mad.  So I rehung the curtain and all is well in the imaginary muffled sound closet of my desires, once again.  Or maybe it is just that there is less construction on Saturdays.  Who can know?  School vacation begins today, and my little poet wants to record some of his material, so we might do that as well.

This poem is about moving from pillar to post, or joy to joy, or escape to escape, it's all perspective.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Day 11: Big Hands

This poem is about staying in bed and while I would like to stay in bed this morning, I will alas be running out the door in an instant leaving my beloved bed behind.  Mangos are on sale at whole foods for $9 dollars a case hence the urgency.

The ancient Irish poets used to compose poetry in their heads while lying in bed for hours.  I support this method, deeply.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Day 10: Inheritance

Sometimes I am surprised by how wise children are, how often their logic is superior to the that of the taller ones.  This is especially true of children who are able to remain somewhat unsocialized and resistant to parroting what they are taught.  This poem is about what it is that we actually pass on to our children.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Day 9: Tablet

The weather is springlike at last here in New York.  Although it still feels like a several cups of tea sort of day.  I have many creative projects on my docket at present and I can feel my brain and time and energy level expanding.  It is sweetly painful at times and I do feel a bit poemed out, after only 9 days! The power of the vows we make to ourselves.  I wouldn't even consider stopping.  I said I would perform a poem every day and so I will.  I did a lot of recording for another project yesterday and my voice sounds a bit tired and scratchy today.  Even the most joyful tasks can feel burdensome and rote briefly if we forget to cherish their wonderfulness.  Does that mean that the most burdensome tasks can feel joyful and creative?  If I sing and dance while cleaning I rage against it less...

This poem is about what I would put in my emergency backpack and the history of stuff in our lives.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Day Eight: 20 Feet from the Sea

Hello!  It is Day Eight. Release and Frustration.  Pushing through energetic blocks.  Can it be done?  I don't know.  Are the poems the answers?  Maybe.  So much of all that is great and good and transformative about life defies any attempt to be measured by time or weight or money.  This poem is a long one about a wish to be a dolphin and return to the sea.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Day 7: Taxi Man Tax

I was late getting started this morning.  I like to record the poems before my son wakes up but this morning he woke me up and I started the poem after the school run.  I could have delayed it to later in the day because my mountain of other (often enjoyable) tasks are building and yet I enjoy this little morning pleasure so I am glad I went ahead, rest of the day not withstanding.  It's like carrying around a secret in my pocket - a new poem!  In the world!

This is a poem about a cabbie and his girlfriend.  I am building a cycle of taxi poems, that great yellow symbol of New York City.  I am sure a few more will appear before the end of the month.  Whole lifetimes happen in cabs...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Day 6: My Ness

In addition to recording a poem every day, I am also writing a new poem a day and sharing it by email with a few other writers.  The exactness of this particular daily artistic discipline is expansive, illuminating, time consuming and joyful.  These two little poetic tasks are first on my mind each morning.  Record then write,  or more often, record, edit, record, write, edit, edit.  This has meant I am often late getting to other projects-appointments-tasks in my day but my mind is fresher, stronger, more ready to dive in.  I dont know if I could sustain it for more than a month but day 6 still feels great.

This poem is about words, and insanity and creativity and perspective.  It is called My Ness. It's from a conversation I had once with my friend Anna, a Hindu acolyte.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Day 5: Enlightenment

I had a fantastic day yesterday gliding between different creative projects.  It started at 5am recording a poem and ended at 9pm recording three scenes.   I get up an hour or two earlier to make sure I have the time to get the poem out and while it does make me a bit tired, it also fills me with a light and joyful energy.  The power of performance first thing upon awakening even if your only audience is a microphone is a lovely feeling.  Yesterday, I recorded material in three different neighborhoods - Chelsea, Upper West Side and Hells Kitchen with some fantastic performers.  That makes a great day for me.

This poem is called Enlightenment.  Where to get it.  How to get it.  An accessory?  A divine inspiration?  Who can know...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Day 4: I like to ride my bicyle

This poem is an ode to all the bicycles I have loved before from pink huffys in massachusetts, to schwinn ten speeds in Dublin to citibikes across New York City.  A cheap and glorious thrill, riding a bicycle in the city, staying alive at the mercy of better drivers.  I recorded it this morning on April 4th in Chelsea, NYC.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Day 3: Cleaning Terza Rima

Day 3!  It's time for the terza rima, a classic poetic form popularized by Dante in the Divine Comedy.  This one is a meditation on cleaning recorded in Chelsea this morning.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Day 2: Star Wars

Day two of celebrating National Poetry Month and recording a new poem every day.  This poem is called Star Wars, a mother's relationship with Darth Vader.  It was recorded this morning in Chelsea, NYC.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Day 1: Mother's Milk - Record a Poem Every Day for National Poetry Month

Inspired by the marvelous Sarah Dohrmann, I am recording a poem every day for National Poetry Month.  This first poem Mother's Milk pays tribute to our poetic ancestors, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, the great American mother artists who lead the charge.