A catalogue of what I drank:
A catalogue of what I drank:
The Men We Marry, the Men We Fuck
This one kissed me beneath the stars.
That one fondled me up the stairs.
This one confessed his sins but to God.
That one demanded his pity aloud.
This one drove me to the store.
That one drove me like a car.
This one gave me violets and asters.
That one brought me violence and disaster.
This one wed me in the chapel.
That one ate me like an apple,
And he was as handsome as he was doomed.
Lovely as lust, but fickle as the moon.\
This one built a house to live in.
That one fed me glass and poison.
This one tended a kindled hearth.
That one threw me to the dirt
And by the greenbrier patch we tangled,
Hand to thigh and lip to nipple.
The men we marry, the men we fuck:
This one doubly filled my cup,
That one used me up.
-- Jill Alexander Essbaum
(originally published in The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel: Second Floor)
Every time I go out tarted up, and by all accounts looking lovely, I come home very lonely. However, I seem to get a lot more attention from men when I am in line at the market in my jeans with my hair pulled back. I feel much more coquettish and happy with myself when I am dolled up, but, considering the results, it seems that I should lay off the blue shadow and the whorish lips. Should I sacrifice my aesthetics to get results? Or should I follow my instincts and wait for the proper man to follow my scent?
Little Red Riding Alone Hood
Five weeks ago I met a wonderful guy. We fell for each other, hard (ouchie!). When we were together we snogged, sang, laughed, drank primitivo, looked at medieval tapestries, listened to Leonard Cohen. When we were apart we talked, emailed, text messaged, posted to each other's Facebook Walls, commented on each other's blogs, sent notes by carrier pigeon, practiced telepathy. It was bliss, but it took up all our time. Now both of us have a lot of work to catch up on, and we haven't exchanged more than a few lines in days. He seems fine, but I am starting to resemble Sylvia Plath's less stable sister.
1. Do you think I need to adjust my medication?
2. Can anything be done with these lines from my poem draft, working title "Wrestling the Angel"?
O creature of light, creature of darkness,
your grasp slips. I fall,
down, down, down,
down, headfirst, bumfirst,
legs asplay, arms tucked.
Bloody, bloody, bloody hell,
Every time I show someone my sequence of six hundred spelunking sonnets, the response is to say they're songs of sex. But how could they be, when I haven't gotten any for months? (Years, really. I'm very good in bed, or would be, but women seem not to respond to my pick-up lines, or anyway not to respond in quite the way I'd like. I've got my trailer all decked-out to make it cozy for cuddling, if you know what I mean, so I'm ready if I could just get a babe to come home with me, but it may not help that I'm overdue for a little dental work.)
Maybe you could help me with this concluding couplet from one of the sonnets?
No mere nick in the earth is that warm grave
In the wooded hill, but a very cave.
Lonely in Laramie
I am in love with a thoughtless, self-centered poet who regularly drives me into constant despair. On the upside this anguish has fueled 149 books and still writing. Should I continue this suffering and write another 149 books or shall I entertain a new line of work? One that doesn't involve thoughtless, self-centered poets and massive sad creation?
Apeish sunflower, holy thorn
snapdragoning up my canvas
my blue agates, my orchid moss all nigh long.
Nothing grieved, horn toned
spiking lotus, this decree varnished.
See also: Eloquence
See also: A hummingbird, she suckled my man
The absolutely anonymous “DL” writes:
Bienvenue aux etats-unis ou liberation rules, mein liebchen. So generous of you to offer line edits. Here's one that's been bugging me. It comes at the end of the eighth stanza of a nine-stanza poem, and it arrives as a rhetorical climax: "We must love one another or die." It sounds good, I know, but it's untrue -- we're going to die no matter what -- and I have this old-fashioned notion that poetry and truth should go together like wahrheit und dichtung or conjugal love and Alberto Moravia. What should I do? Junk the stanza? Junk the poem? Can you think of a way to save the line? Like maybe changing "or" to "and"? For your muse-inspired vice and advice I thank you in advance of the guard. Ton ami PS How about "the conscious acceptance of guilt in the necessary murder"? That's another line I'm not quite satisfied with. I rejected the idea of modulating from verse to prose dialogue at this point with a hunky gang boss saying, "I don't want my brother coming out of that bathroom with only his dick in his hand."
Dear “DL” (if them's your REAL initials, Bub). I might handle this in a couple of ways. Now, I am assuming you aren’t concerned with meter here, yes? If that's the case then you could extend the line by not even very much and that would take care of your issues of truthiness:
We must love one another else die of it.
We must love one another or die from it.
(Or some variation of the above)
Because: it doesn't negate other ways of dying, nor does it technically suggest that dying is an avoidable event.
Now, if you ARE watching your meter here, you could sneak a wee ‘we’ in there, oui?, and then- VOILA!- you got yourself an alexandrine line:
We must love one another else we die of it.
(Hmmm, though if I were the owner of this line, I might change ‘else’ to ‘lest’ because that further clouds the mystery-- will we die of the loving or of the not loving?)
Also, your own suggestion of ‘and’ ain’t half bad.
How do you get over someone who left you when you really, really think he was the most perfectly suited person to you that you'll find?
Also, here is a line of poetry I’d like you to edit.
"Another wonder of the world, smaller than you imagined. Larger, too – like women can be large and small in anger."
Vivica Caliente De L’Amour
(not the poet’s real name)
There is no such thing as getting “over.” There’s getting along. There’s getting down on it (Kool & the Gang are still together, did you know that?). And there is, of course, getting off. But over? No, my sister. If this break up were, say, a hedge maze, then your fear that this boy might have been the most and only perfect match for you would be the axe-wielding Jack Nicholson bearing down, down, down on the Shelley Duval of your self-confidence. What you need to do is get THROUGH the maze, Miss Mousie. You must be a chin-up trooper and, like Valerie Bertinelli, take it one day at a time. Go out. With friends and on dates, both. And do your work. Write your poems. A stereotype it may be, but it’s this kind of shit that poetry’s all about. And trust me: He wasn’t the man for you.
Besides, the only perfectly-suited man I know is Mr. Cave, and here is a picture of him in one of those dapper suits.
As for your lines:
“Wonder of the world” I worry is too cliché, even with the way you undercut that cliché by extending the metaphor. Also, I’m concerned about the large women. Unless you want your reader to think of the ladies as fat and then have that assumption repealed at the end of the line, “in anger” comes too late in the clause. Is there something else that this wonder can be besides large or small? Can the women be wonderful and terrible in anger and the initial “wonder” be revised to something else? In any case, I like very much this metaphor, however you decide to play it out.
Feeling your pain and digging your words,
I am saddened to announce that I am no longer able to serve as Foreign Correspondent for the illustrious and estimable Best American Poetry Blog. Nein, nein. For, these days, I am no longer over-seas, but stateside. I am not anymore far-off but quite, very quite near-by. I have sloughed my alien shell for native skin. Ich bin kein Berliner. Alas, my broke-ass heart and her two cats done took a fly-fly in a big ole metal-bird back across that little drink of water that separates Europe from America and that self-same heart, singed though it’s been, shattered though it is, and shut-the-fuck-upped as it ever will be, now grocery shops for one and sleeps alone in a bed made for two. (It is, however, an outstanding bed, I should note, purchased from Craigs List and be-linened with divine plum purple satin sheets). I am — bluntly stated — no longer a diamond in the duodenum. Which is to say: an exquisite foreign body lodged in an orifice in which it don’t belong. Adieu, Confederatio Helvetica. A-mother-effin’-dieu.
But worry thou not. From the burned up bones of the position of Correspondent rises a fresh Phoenix, a right rickety witch, a me-of-the-BAP-blog version 2.0. I shall be (for the next week anyway) your Coeur Despondent… your very own Miz Lonesome Heart, here at your simple service, where I shall avail myself and my self’s (occasionally veiled) usefulness to you, my friends, all and only for you.
Give me your tired, your poor, your befuddled messes— I shall give you the answer you seek (though, Achtung, it may be one you do not wish to know). Tell me your tale of woe, my Pet — I’ll soothe you with the balm of mine own empathies. Offer up your worst on the altar of my advice. I’m here for you, Boo. And I really mean it.
In addition, I’m offering line-edits of single stanzas of poems.
So send your questions and lines of poetry to my email address: jilly (at) essbaum (dot) com. No problem too big, no stanza too buggered. You will, of course, remain anonymous.
In addition to the above nonsense, you may be subject to seven days of blathering on topics including but not limited to: details concerning the American half of my following-Nick-Cave-on-tour tour (my favorite topic), further extrapolations on the merits and mysteries of Old Time Radio (my other favorite topic), and why you should be reading my friends' books (my other, other favorite topic).
Wanna take a ride?
-- Jill Alexander Essbaum
Jill Alexander Essbaum (once described as “a cross between
Dorothy Parker and a lap dance”) is fast becoming known for her brilliantly
sexy poems best represented in Harlot, her 2007 collection from No Tell Books, the cover of which depicts a nude woman embracing a phallus nearly twice her
height. What I also love about her poems,
however, is the intelligence behind them (“heady” as Molly Arden cheekily
describes), her attention both to the traditions and possibilities of form that
bring poetry’s notions of “traditional” and “experimental” into a head-on
collision. In addition, I hereby
nominate Jill (well, along with, in a different way, Heidi Lynn Staples) as contemporary
poetry’s best punster, a skill evidenced within “Triptych,” which originally
appeared in Coconut Eight. (My nomination is another opportunity for you
to agree or disagree with me, O Reader, by posting your own choices!) & on top of all, there’s the theme, to
quote H. L. Hix, of “religion as sex and sex as religion” swimming through her
work. Twice I’ve had the opportunity to
hear Jill read, which is also a treat — she has memorized all of her poems (while
I can’t even seem to remember my own first lines!!). So my advice to you, Charming Reader, is to
invite Jill to read in your own hometown! Or at least buy all of her books, which also include Heaven (Winner of the Bakeless Prize,
2000), Oh Forbidden (2005), Necropolis (2008), and an appearance in
2008’s The Best American Erotic Poems. Her website is here.
-- Bruce Covey
I let go my dress in his temple, devoutly.
I brought to him butters in lordly dishes.
He spread my legs like rumor, word-of-mouthly.
Tears have a talent for falling.
That is their calling.
I have folded my edges.
I've serged and I have pinked.
I have finished my seams.
So it would seem.
-- Jill Alexander Essbaum
Reb Livingston, in her No Tell interviews from a couple of weeks ago, pulled nary a punch when she called me an 'obsessed penis pervert'. And that I am, indeed. But the obsession I want to speak of now is phallus-free, and fun, in fact, for the entire family. It is Old Time Radio Programming.
If you don't know this, Old Time Radio-- or, "OTR" as it's often shorthanded-- is exactly what it sounds like is: the programs that came out of that Golden Age of Radio, a time that to us, now, is an old time ago. Gratefully and luckily, many, many, many recordings of these programs exist today. Perhaps you are fortunate enough to live someplace where a radio station regularly broadcasts these treasures (I can recommend WNAR in Lansdale, PA, which also broadcasts over the internet, if you care to listen). If you aren't so lucky as living within receiving distance of WNAR, then they are fairly easily found all over the internet, in handy Ipod-ready mp3 format (a web search will suffice-- try the Internet Archive or, if you are willing to pay for it, RUSC.com).
Of the myriad selection of surviving programs, I can tell you hands-down my favorites are those of the thriller genre. There was The Whistler (“I am the Whistler, and I know many things for I walk by night”), Suspense (initially sponsored by Roma Wine, later by Auto-Lite Spark Plugs), Lights Out (“It… is… later… than… you… think!”), Quiet, Please (with intro music provided by Cesar Frank’s eerie Symphony in D Minor), and Inner Sanctum Mysteries (chock full of dastardly morbid puns provided by the host, Raymond) to name my favorite. And there were others, certainly, many others (The Shadow, anyone? Murder at Midnight? Dark Fantasy? Sleep No More???).
There are several worms that lure this little fishie to Old Time Radio's hook, in that willing and obsessive way I tend to let myself be gutted and glutted by my passions. Foremost, it’s the way they sound. From the intonations of the radio actors, to the scratchy ill-preserved recordings, to the occasionally over-written plots, I’m addicted to the mood that these invoke in me—a spindly mood that causes me to continually check back my shoulder, a doomsday humour, a nostalgia for years I wasn’t even alive in.
But it’s also the way they’re written. The dialougue, so often hard-boiled, and bespattered with “dames” and “Johnny-on-the-spots” and jigs that only go UP. The narration, so genuine and sincere and florid all at once. I have a confession to make. More often than I care to admit, I’ve up and took lines directly from these programs and stuck them square into the middle of my own poems. (That's ok, right?) And, like sweet and simple music to my Gen-X jaded ears, the characters of these programs are nearly always brilliantly naïve in their passions and motivations, pure in the way that poetry is pure, or should be pure, when it’s written rightly. I fucking love it.
And I love it to the point of silliness. When I go running, it’s OTR I playlist on the ole' Nano. When I can’t sleep, it’s these creepy, raspy, amplitude-modulated recordings what lullaby me into slumber. When I’m cooking, walking, riding the train, shopping, trans-Atlantic passengering, bathing—I have them on. I love them unconditionally and cliche-ly, for who they are, the programs. If I could find a lover who’d be up for it, I would even make love to, say, “Crime Classics.” And it would be HOT.
But there is more point to this post than me declaring my devotion to these gone but ne’er forgotten radio plays (though that would be purpose enough)...
And it's wasn't for doing something uncouth like starting a food fight in the condiment aisle, not was it for misbehaving in a girls-gone-wild-ish manner by, say, untying my halter top in the produce section and hawking my own ripe melons.
Nope, it was for taking photos in the grocery store. Apparently, this is a no-no. Or is it, perhaps, a nein-nein (not the same as a sixty-nine, which as we all know is scads more fun than a trip to some crummy old market). I was tappity-tapped on the shoulder as I stood before the meat case by a scrawny, goateed Swiss who explained something to me about Sicherheit (security) and that the store didn't want me taking photos, especially photos that included prices. I tried to explain Best American Poetry Blog to him in my own halting German, but I lost him at "Eben, ich bin Dicheterin..." (Well, I'm a poet, see...). Security? Really? As in: If Jillie takes pictures of dumb Swiss food, the terrorists will win? Well, I don't think so, exactly. It has something to do with advertising and price wars and rules, rules, rules. Whatever. I still managed to snap these choice shots of inadvertently funny food-stuffs...
See what happens when you serve a horny, bored poet a plate full of summer gourds at your poetry conference? She plays with her food.
Hullo, peeps. This is your roving, raving European correspondant, your coeur déspondant, your very own pain in the arse Jill Alexander Essbaum, with an overdue update. I've been lax in posting. And by lax I don't mean an airport in southern California. (Nor do I mean lax as in -ative, because that would be déclassé.) The sore fact is that once you remove the spangles of travelling about from my sash, I fear I'm just an ordinary ole gal with not too much terribly interesting to report on. But then again-- ain't that the point of blogs?
I'm back in Switzerland until further notice. Switzerland is one of the hosts of this nonsense (I beg one thousand pardons, if you are a soccer fan, for referring to it as nonsense). Downtown Zurich is crammed to capacity with kiosks, food stands, hat vendors, face painters, booze sellers, widescreen televisions, and foreigners. Train schedules have been altered, added upon, increased. Much whooping can be heard in the Hauptbanhof after hours. Switzerland, as I understand it, is out of the tournament already. Anyone want to clue me in on who I should root for?
While in the US, I participated in two literary festivals. The first ever Pilcrow Lit Fest, as headed by the stunning Amy Guth, and The West Chester Poetry Conference, as headed by the formidable Mike Peich. Highlights of that shindig included a phenomenal reading by Richard Wilbur (did you know he used to be a hobo? I think more poets ought to hobo. Especially if it leads to the gorgeous output of verse suchlike Mr. Wilbur's), loads--scads, even-- of social hours intended to create camaraderie and build poetic bridges, ostensibly (and possibly, to get us good and sloshed before the readings), and workshops and seminars for all interested. I was a member of the Millay critical seminar (headed by Jennifer Reeser). Millay is one of my favorite poets. She is utterly underestimated by the critics, still. And we tend to read the wrong Millay, imho. Yes, "First Fig" and "Renascence" are both impressive. But fuck me running and call me a cab: If you ain't read Fatal Interview, then you ain't read the best of Millay. (...)
Meaning I'm in NYC, man. But only for a couple more days. Then it's off to spread mayhem HERE where, my trusty sidekick Jessica Piazza and I have schemed to spend a long weekend immersed in this sort of sassafras. In truth, it is I who is her trusty sidekick as she is truly the mistress of all people worth knowing and all things worth knowing about.
Last I informed the forum, I was off, off, off to Berlin, where I was to kick it with Mr. Cave for my last concert of the European tour. Because I am an insomniac (a fate too common in our community, methinks) I didn't sleep the night before, and so I hied to Berlin utterly schlaflos. But I survived, took a cross-town bus to my friend's place, and met her there just in time to escort her to the post office where she mailed the fruits of her own insomnia (a 20 page paper considering the Church's response to the 3rd Reich) to one of her seminary professors. That done, we had a couple hours of lollygagging before going to the Tempodrom for the show.
I won't linger over details that would only interest fools like me, but I do have to relay a wickedly bad-ass anecdote. A few songs into the show, I had turned to Eva to mention something about the quality of the sound (fan-freakin'-tastic!) and when I turned around, Mistah Cave was standing over me. He asked me how I was and I responded with some sort of enthusiastic jibberish. Then he squared up at the edge of the stage and pointed straight at me and announced "Harlot!" and then said the next song was mine. And then he played "Red Right Hand."
He calls 'em like he sees 'em, me supposes. (Insert mile-wide grin here.)
Then I flew to Chicago for the first ever Pilcrow Lit Fest. Highlights included a plethora of panels, as well as a charity auction benefiting New Orleans' public libraries, where authors were invited to "rebuild" their books into pieces of art. My own contribution was a Harlot Hotel made of the box that my w-husband's* bike helmet came in, complete with anatomically correct sex dollies hand-sewn from previously worn-by-me pantyhose (is it wrong to admit that?). ((And yes, that's a pantyhose foreskin...)). If you are looking to rid your wallet of a couple spare bucks, I would suggest visiting the link to the library rebuilding campaign. In total, $4000 was raised that night. Hot damn!
Which brings me to this night that I insomnia myself through. Fine as the night is, this not-sleeping bullshit really blows. But the day was a delight. I traipsed with the lovely Amy Lemmon to The Cloisters where we look-seed us a bunch of medieval stuff. That's a damn cool museum, and she's a damn classy lady to museum with. Tomorrow, the plan involves Jill and Jessica and permanent body art of the ridiculous and poetic variety, as well as some sushi and, likely, liquor. I will post the body art once etched. Depending how much liquor gets imbibed, I may or may not post that.
I will be posting from West Chester. So be nice to me, Formalists!**
*"W-husband" is something I came up with the other day..."w" as in "almost ex." It's probably wrong to admit that here, as well.
**I like to think of myself as a formal-ish poet.
So. I'll bet you thought you was done with the Slattern from Switzerland, the Teutonic Tart, the Helvetic Harlot, the... yeah. Aber nein! I've simply been-- let's call it-- recovering from my escapades. And recover I have, and re-cover the same ground, I am fixin' to (there's the Texas slipping in) do. As in: I'm sitting in Zurich Flughafen waiting to board a flight to Berlin where tonight I get to see Mr. Cave. I am going with a girl I first met at a NC&TBS show in San Francisco (my second NC show). Her name is Eva and she is a seminarian. I was once a seminarian. Did you know that seminary and semen are etymological siblings? Sometimes I get the words etymology and entomology confused. Speaking of insects, myrmecology is the study of ants. Not the study of Ethyl Merman. Also, she was not a mer-person, though Ester Williams might have been, what with all the swimming. And ethyls and esters are both organic chemical compounds.
Then again, so is reefer.
If I blather it is only because I'm giddy with my pretend rock and roll life. I'm even sporting my just-bought from Camden Town beet-colored with snakes on 'em Doc Martens with a floral print dress that I am afraid is making me look hippy and also hippie-like. I may need to change.
The night before last, I was fortunate enough to be in Paris where with the luscious Lea Graham, the effervescent Evie Shockley, and the terrific Timothy Bradford where, as a group, we feted The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel, Second Floor European-style. Which is to say, in the basement of a dimly lit bar and by reading the hell outta them poems.
I call this shot, Trouble Brewing.
Tomorrow, I leave for Chicago, where I will be attending and hopefully reporting on the Pilcrow Lit Fest, a gathering of small-press types. Of course, it's not how small it is, it's what you do with it. Or, so I hear.
However. I cannot leave off my duties as European Correspondent. So to that end, I leave you with a photo I took of a billboard in a neighboring town. Seems like I ain't the only white trash in the zip code (of, if you prefer Postleitzahl)!
A tractor show!
Gotta board my plane.
I've been slack, lax, and spattering about my posting duties. Such is the rock and roll lifestyle, you know. In my room at the moment, a Time Life Best-Loved Country Songs of All Time 30-minute paid advertisement on the telly, an empty packet of prawn-flavored crisps and a the remnants of a Tesco sandwich at my feet.
And I'm beat.
This was, effectively, the last show for me. I have tickets for a show in Berlin in a couple of weeks, but that's like the Porto after the great meal. I'm damn near saturated. I've undone the metaphoric top button of my jeans (and only the metaphoric button, Brother. I'm a good girl, me!).
I call this photo "If this ain't rock and roll, then I dunno what is."
(I also call portions of this set of photos: "Jill fucking around with the sepia settings on her new camera.")
Got into London on Tuesday evening, found my hotel, went and slept me but good. On Wednesday, I did the thing I usually do, which is find the venue and camp the fuck out.
London's Hammersmith Apollo.
Camping out with Caroline and Ingrid.
I met Caroline and her friend Susan-- not pictured--in Glasgow, but I've seen Caroline at other shows before. Ingrid I only met yesterday, but she is great fun. Originally from South Africa, she's been in London for two years. The band she most follows around is My Chemical Romance. I sold her my spare ticket for tonight's show.
Last night's show was problem-plagued. The sound was off in a wild way, Nick was having trouble hearing the band and so the cues were all amok, and there were some really obnoxious fuckers pouring beer over people and trying to press towards the barrier.
A sound tech called Davros asked me if I wanted to stay for a drink last night. I went backstage with him, talked to some of the other roadies (an apparently outdated term), but because of all the problems with the sound, he was too tied up to take me and Ingrid (who was with me) to the party. So Ingrid and I called it night, sans drink. It was ok. I've been very worried about giving off the appearence of tacky. I may be low-rent, but I damn sure ain't tacky.
Tactless perhaps, but not tacky! (And yes, that's Emily D. emblazoned across my bosom. Under the picture it reads "Suck My Dickinson." Appropriate rock and roll attire!)
Mostly, tho, I hate the idea of being in folks' way. And being thought of as someone who's just out to try and do naughty things just to get close to rock stars-- not my scene.
But: Me do loves me rock stars, of course!
Ok, so I went back to the hotel last night, slept, woke, went to the venue today. I was so early, that I even had time to get a much-needed haircut, which I procured for 15 quid at Hammersmith Station. I haven't wanted to get one in Zurich as that would require speaking German aloud and vaguely well, which I have, of late, not been quite able to do. Thus, I submitted my mop-top to the able talents of Gilly Scissor-Hands, a Kosovar ex-pat bride-to-be and thus spent a fair 30 minutes of waiting time, never to be waited again.
It was a lovely day, a sunny day. The wait went well and quick. Sandra, the Belgian lady, was back for this show. We all got in and made it to the barrier. And speaking of Barry-ers, the swoon-worthy Barry Adamson was on again these first two London nights.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the cooler than cool Barry Adamson.
And then there was Nick.
I like this picture because it shows him as the holy man he is. Or, er, sumthin'.
The show was insanely good. I felt all melty and loose and lucid and gooey when it was over. I've completely lost my voice, I screamed so fervently. And my calves ache from dancing. All the sound problems from the previous night got fixed, and the show did what a rock show is supposed to do, which is to transport you to a place beyond all real worry. It was, to be sure, sublime.
The sound tech from the night before caught up with me tonight again. Asked if I wanted a drink. And this being my last night in London, and me being caught up in the rolling and the rocking, I shrugged and said why the hell not? And in short order I-- me, little ole', a nobody, a yokel, a 36-year-old jobless teenager, a good and godly choirgirl-- got whisked up to the afterparty. Wherewith I shared 2 JB and Cokes with soundtech and, ahem, the band. Nick wasn't there. But everyone else was. It was accidental and unexpected. And I had a blast.
A damn blast.
And that, Dearhearts, is how it's done.
*** Apologies for the liberal peppering of this post with the F bomb. It's the music, Baby. And possibly the London water.
Came home last night, to Zurich, then took an immediate train to Basel where I gave a reading with the intensely talented, lovely and formidable Ivy Alvarez. Her new book is called Mortal, and lemme tell you, it's good. Hung out in Basel with the poet Andrew Shields who arranged the reading, and rode back into Zurich with the also quite talented, lovely and formidable Miz Dusie herself, Susana Gardner. It was a great night.
But now I am hurrying to pack. I have tickets for two shows in London, and then I return to Zurich for a bit.
I have much to tell you all. Including posts about Keith, one of the roadies who used to be a tour manager for Kim Wilde and Rickie Lee Jones, Wally, a crowd control guard who I met in Dublin who pantomimed suicide throughout the entire set of the opening act and who much prefers country music to anything else and will be seeing George Jones in Ireland sometime in the near future, the German women who stood behind me in Dublin-- a high school physics teacher and an organic farmer-- who showed up at the concert without tickets but were able to score some once arrived, Caroline and Susan, the women in Glasgow who've seen Nick live more times than I have hairs on my head and promised to hold my place in line at the London shows, the drunk and toothless Glaswegian who kept coming up to me as I stood in queue asking me if I was "up" for anything*, the man in the concert in Glasgow who brought his 14 year old son to his first NC&TBS show. It's as instructive and as interesting for me to meet the people who come and see Nick as it is for me to actually see the concerts.
In Glasgow, we were spared Dave Graney and his Lurid Yellow Mist as an opener, and were instead treated to the PHENOMENAL Barry Adamson. How come no one told me such a Mancunian as he existed? Do you not know his work? Go and check it out immediately. It's jazz and blues with a lot of horns and Spector-esque Wall of Sound. Incredibly compelling performer and apparently long-time friend of Nick and a former Seed of sorts himself.
Here is a YouTube clip from the Dublin show. As you can see, the stage is too high and wide for optimum Cavian viewing. But: at about 52 or 53 seconds into the clip, in the lower right hand corner, you see a big ole head of black hair turning around and smiling to talk to who would have been the high school physics teacher (the blond in pink standing next to her was the organic farmer). That big head o' hair is me.
* I wasn't.
I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark
from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman
THE RULE OF THUMB
Ringfinger was nervous
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.