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Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans March 27, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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The 30th Annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is upon us. Check out the program for the  Festival, which runs March 30-April 3, and  the our box office is now open and ready to take your ticket orders. Updates to the published program can be found here. Featured speakers and guests are listed here. They include:

Megan Abbott, Edgar-winning noir crime writer, whose latest book, The Fever, is being adapted for an MTV show;     

Dorothy Allison, award-winning author of Bastard Out of Carolina, Cavedweller, and the forthcoming She Who;

Alys Arden, New Orleans native who parlayed her self-published novel The Casquette Girls into a two-book deal;

Cynthia Bond, New York Times best-selling author of the novel Ruby, the latest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection;

Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own StoryAll Over But the Shoutin’Ava’s Man, and his latest, My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South;

Billy Cannon, Heisman Trophy-winner and College Football Hall of Fame LSU Halfback;

Dick Cavett, Emmy-winning broadcaster, who has interviewed many cultural icons including Tennessee Williams, and author of Talk ShowConfrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets, and Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks;

Alexander Chee, Whiting Writers Award-winning author of the novel Edinburgh and the just released The Queen of the Night;

Lisa D’Amour, Pulitzer finalist and multi-award winning playwright of Detroit;

Beth Henley, Pulitzer-winning playwright of Crimes of the Heart, who recently adapted Tennessee Williams’ short story, “The Resemblance Between a Violin Case and a Coffin,” for the stage;

John Lahr, senior drama critic at The New Yorker, author of the highly-acclaimed biography, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, and Joy Ride: Show People and Their Shows;

Estelle Parsons, Oscar winner (Bonnie and Clyde), Broadway legend with a star turn in Williams’ The Seven Descents of Myrtle, and widely known as Mother Bev on “Roseanne”;

Rex Reed, critic, columnist, and lecturer whose writings have appeared in nearly every national magazine and newspaper in London and the U.S;

Claire Vaye Watkins, author of the critically-acclaimed Battleborn and newly-released Gold Fame Citrus, who is judging our 2016 Fiction Contest.

& Elsewhere this week in literary New Orleans:

& Monday at 6 pm Professor Baz Dreisinger will share insights from her new book, INCARCERATION NATIONS: A Journey to Prisons Around the World at Octavia Books. Beginning in Africa and ending in Europe, INCARCERATION NATIONS is a first-person odyssey through the prison systems of the world. Professor, journalist, and founder of the Prison-to-College-Pipeline, Dreisinger looks into the human stories of incarcerated men and women and those who imprison them, creating a jarring, poignant view of a world to which most are denied access, and a rethinking of one of America’s most far-reaching global exports: the modern prison complex. From serving as a restorative justice facilitator in a notorious South African prison and working with genocide survivors in Rwanda, to launching a creative writing class in an overcrowded Ugandan prison and coordinating a drama workshop for women prisoners in Thailand, Dreisinger examines the world behind bars with equal parts empathy and intellect. She journeys to Jamaica to visit a prison music program, to Singapore to learn about approaches to prisoner reentry, to Australia to grapple with the bottom line of private prisons, to a federal supermax in Brazil to confront the horrors of solitary confinement, and finally to the so-called model prisons of Norway. Incarceration Nations concludes with climactic lessons about the past, present, and future of justice.

& Tuesday at 6 pm at Garden District Book Shop My Journey Through War and Peace: Explorations of a Young Filmmaker, Feminist and Spiritual Seeker is based on Melissa Burch’s experiences as a war journalist for BBC, CBS, and other networks. Her team was one of the first documentary crews allowed in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, and she was featured in a New York Times story about her time in Afghanistan. She was just in her twenties when she traveled with the mujahedeen, filmed an attack on a Soviet convoy, slept with an Afghan commander, and climbed 14,000-foot mountains in the Hindu Kush. 

My Journey Through War and Peace examines how, through outward action and inward exploration, life can unfold in mysterious ways, far beyond cultural and family expectations. In looking back at this momentous decade, Burch shares why she pursued such dangerous and difficult circumstances at such a young age and continued to live on the edge. She now understands that she was seeking self-discovery, a connection to something greater, and ultimately inner peace.

& Wednesday at 8 pm Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater presents Essay Night with Laurence Ross and Cate Root.  Ross received his MFA from the University of Alabama where he served as the Creative Nonfiction Editor for Black Warrior Review. He has published his essays and reviews in literary journals such as Brevity, Gaga Stigmata, and The Georgia Review as well as The Huffington Post. In addition, he is a frequent contributor to Pelican Bomb, a regional publication dedicated to the Louisiana arts community. Laurence Ross lives in New Orleans where he recently served as the Director of P.3Writes, a program in conjunction with U.S. Art Triennial Prospect New Orleans. You can read a selection of his work at laurencebylaurence.com.  Root is a writer whose work has appeared in xoJane, The Times-Picayune, The New Orleans Advocate, the Gambit, and more. Originally from Kansas City, she moved to New Orleans a decade ago to stomp the streets and slurp raw oysters. She is one of the co-producers of Dogfish Literary Series.

& Also on Wednesday at 8 pm  Esoterotica’s local provocateurs present Esoterotica Exposes Ourselves with An All True Confessions Show. One hundred percent real life sexy stories, guaranteed to get you one hundred percent hot and bothered. Put your confession in our confessional hat and you could win something very sexy from us at Esoterotica. Confessions will be read anonymously, so feel free to let it out. Or join then on stage. Submit your original erotica to info@esoterotica.com, or talk to them at one of their shows.

& Thursday 5 pm The Smith Library offers a Teen Writing Workshop. Patrons 12-17 are invited to create an original work of short fiction (up to 20 pages) for a group workshop, led by Luke Sirinides, Young Adult library associate at Smith Library and MFA graduate. (Reservations are required; contact Luke at 596-2638.)

& Thursday at 6 pm Room 220 will be hosting a Happy Hour Salon honoring the winner of the 2016 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival’s fiction contest from at the Antenna Gallery (3718 St. Claude Ave.). Maple Street Book Shop will be on hand to sell copies of both of Claire’s books. This official Tennessee Williams Festival event will begin with a book launch for the inaugural winner of the UNO Press Laboratory Award, Each Vagabond by Name by Margo Orlando Littell. The evening will conclude with feature readings by the 2016 fiction contest winner and this year’s fiction judge, Claire Vaye Watkins. Claire Vaye Watkins is the author of Gold Fame Citrus and Battleborn, which won the StoryPrize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Her stories and essays have appeared in Granta, Tin House, The Paris Review, One Story, Glimmer Train, Best of the West, Best of the Southwest, The New York Times and many others. A Guggenheim Fellow, Claire is on the faculty of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. She is also the co-director, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.

& Also at 7 pm Thursday the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& Saturday at 2 pm the Poetry Buffet presents its annual Poets Reading Poets reading, A gathering of local poets who will read from works of their favorite poets. Hosted by Gina Ferrara at sept1poet@yahoo.com.

Gaudi’s Veronica March 25, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Dead, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Xian, Xianity.

Gaudi's Veronica

“Don’t get hung up about Easter.”

— Leon Russell

Veronica like Mary is simply a vessel. I believe that is the correct term from my catechism. Faceless before her savior.  Simply a womb-shaped amphora into which the power of the almighty father of the savior on a stick (r) is poured. Barely an amphora, really; more like a funnel, something faceless and transient, passed through.  A vessel, an object, the rape of Europa made dainty.

The Messenger Wind March 23, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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The riverboat whistles echo from the wrong direction, bouncing off the two-story gutted shell next door on the Lake side, resonating perhaps in the neighboring emptiness like the body of a guitar. When this happens, I am always up and out the door to taste the weather that brings the distant whistles. The wind blows from the river, carrying the sounds over two miles, assuming I hear the Algiers Ferry. The ships on the river are guided by radar like aircraft these days, and the old signals are not used by the ships sliding around the blind corner at Algiers Bend. The ferry, however, always sounds its blasts before it enters the stream, and it is a river wind, a ferry wind I feel in the street just outside my door: heavy with water and chill, just the sort of breeze the ferry whistles up for itself in making the crossing. If I were standing on the railing next to my motorbike as I did 30 years ago, I would smell the earth in the water, the silt of dozens of rivers, with just a note of oil and creosote, and ozone churned up by the propellers.  The street breeze has no aroma but is thick with the feel of water, not a dampness on the skin as much as a weight, the sensation of the force that invisibly propels the sailboat even as it clocks and slows the wind. as it settles into its own particular, vectored wind. I listen. Unless they have reintroduced the steam engine, I know it was not a train. I know that not only from the familiar, deep and full-bodied Calliope note but I know it from the messenger wind blowing north west up Esplanade from the levee. If I don’t hear it again for half an hour, I will know it was the ferry.

Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans March 21, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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& Just around the corner the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival  celebrates 30 years of theatrical, literary, and cultural offerings, hosts a stellar lineup at its annual event March 30—April 3 in locations throughout the city’s iconic French Quarter and beyond. Guests will enjoy a packed tableau of events to celebrate our patron playwright, his works, and literary life, as well as contemporary artists.Details of the program and tickets can be found at the website http://www.tennesseewilliams.net/.

This week in literary New Orleans:

& Monday at 7 pm the EJ Writers Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. The East Jefferson Writer’s Group is a critique group for serious fiction writers of all levels who want to improve their story development skills. This group focuses on discussing story development and writing elements and applying critiquing skills in romance, adventure, mystery, literature (but not genres of SciFi, Fantasy, Horror of the Thursday Sci-FI Writers). Short stories, novels, screenplays, plays, comics are accepted; however, non-fiction, such as poetry, biography, autobiography, essays, or magazine articles is not. Free and open to the public. No registration.

& Tuesday at 4 pm the New Orleans Youth Open Mic (NOYOM) is excited to host monthly writing workshops at Rosa F. Keller Library & Community Center. Facilitated by Team Slam New Orleans (SNO) founding member and #NOYOM committee member Akeem Martin, the workshops will help youth learn new writing skills and improve upon the ones they already have in a fun, structured space. Attendees will have the chance to submit work to be published in the NOYOM Youth Anthology. Open to all 7th – 12th graders.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books features a reading and siging with authorKeith Lee Morris featuring his new dystopian thriller, TRAVELERS REST, a chilling fable about a family marooned in a snowbound town whose grievous history intrudes on the dreamlike present. With the fearsome intensity of a ghost story, the magical spark of a fairy tale, and the emotional depth of the finest family sagas, Keith Lee Morris takes us on a journey beyond the realm of the known. Featuring prose as dizzyingly beautiful as the mystical world Morris creates, Travelers Rest is both a mind-altering meditation on the nature of consciousness and a heartbreaking story of a family on the brink of survival.

& Also at 6 pm Tuesday Garden District Book Shop will host Mary Millan (AKA Bloody Mary)  and Bloody Mary’s Guide to Hauntings, Horrors, and Dancing With the Dead: True Stories from the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. Journey through compelling chapters and meet 50 ghosts as Bloody Mary shares with readers her experiences with the ghosts and haunted happenings of New Orleans. Among the tales of the supernatural are:  A visit to a haunted sanitarium;  A meeting with Julie the Ghost of Forbidden Love;  The story of Madame La Laurie, La Vampyra;  Meetings with Jean Lafitte, the Gentleman Pirate; and, Encounters with the ghosts in New Orleans graveyards. Each chapter ends with Afterlife Lessons and Warnings that help readers navigate the seen and the unseen worlds. What makes these stories particularly engaging is Bloody Mary herself. She is not only a psychic investigator, she is also a psychic healer offering healing and kindness to spirits that walk the earth and also helping readers find spiritual lessons in encounters with the spirit world.

& At 7 pm Tuesday the West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at The Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego. The West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Members perform writing exercises, discuss fiction and critique the writing of fellow authors. Gary Bourgeois moderates.

& The 44th Shakespeare Association of America Meeting runs Wednesday through Saturday at the  Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 500 Canal Street. To register or for more information visit www.shakespeareassociation.org/annual-meetings/. This meeting is co-sponsored by the Tulane University Department of English.

& Wednesday at 8 pm Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater presents Fiction Night: J.R. Ramakrishnan, Michael Allen Zell and DC Paul.  Actor and comedian Paul will be joining Zell to do a staged reading of the first “Hutch/ Clint” scene from Run, Baby, Run.  Paul is currently in “Jungle Kings” at the Anthony Bean Theater.  Zell is a noted New Orleans based writer. His newest Lavender Ink book Run Baby Run was praised as “a successful entertainment, taking a buzz saw to the glamorous city New Orleans has purported to have become since Katrina, shining a light on the city’s myth, and, more globally, on the myth of authenticity.” His first play, What Do You Say To A Shadow? was named a ‘Top 10 Play of the Year’ in 2013 by the Times Picayune. His first novel Errata was named one of the Times-Picayune’s ‘Top 10 Books of 2012’. He has worked as a bookseller in New Orleans since 2003.  J.R. Ramakrishnan’s writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Electric Literature, [PANK], Style.com, and the Mixed Company anthology, among other publications. Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, she is a graduate of University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is the director of literary programs for the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival.

& Thursday at 6 pm author Teresa Nicholas will visit Octavia Books with photographer David Rae Morris (son of Willie Morris) to celebrate WILLIE: THE LIFE OF WILLIE MORRIS with a presentation and book signing. In 2000, readers voted Willie Morris (1934-1999) Mississippi’s favorite nonfiction author of the millennium. After conducting over fifty interviews and combing through over eighty boxes of papers in the archives at the University of Mississippi, many of which had never been seen before by researchers, Teresa Nicholas provides new perspectives on a Mississippi writer and editor who changed journalism and redefined what being southern could mean. More than fifty photographs–some published here for the first time, including several by renowned photographer David Rae Morris, Willie’s son–enhance the exploration. With his broad knowledge of history, his sensitivity, and his bone-deep understanding of the South, he became a celebrated spokesman for and interpreter of the place he loved.

& At 7 pm Thursday the East Jefferson Regional Library features an Author Event! Girl’s Literary Night Out. The local authors – Carroll Devine, Juyanne James and Vicki Salloum – will talk about their new books and sign them. Devine,’ Sleeping Between the Rails: A Woman’s Odyssey traces a young New Orleanian’s two interwoven journeys–external and internal. Both begin with her passion to know the world and to live an uncommon life. It is 1967. Enticed by a former boyfriend’s romantic promise, she sails on a freighter to meet him in Spain. Without a scheme for survival, almost no money, and led only by the prevailing winds, the couple journey in four continents for five and a half years. The odyssey is suffused with ridiculous risk and peril as they hitchhike through Europe and North Africa, and otherwise travel mostly third or abominable class.  James’ The Persimmon Trail and Other Stories features seventeen stories in this debut collection by Juyanne James interpret the Louisiana experience. They stage encounters mostly with strong women—but also interesting men and families—all trying to survive in their own way. While this collection is as an evolution of the idea of “double-consciousness” and how African Americans see themselves in the world, the characters are remarkable in their own right, without having to be labeled. They are not so much concerned with color as they are with survival. Salloum’s  Candyland is the story of seventeen-year-old Lázara overhears her brothers plotting to kill the teenage son of her employer for failing to pay his drug debt. Unable to bear the burden of the boy’s murder on her conscience, she embarks on a crusade to save the boy, first alerting the boy’s father then confronting her brothers and, finally, seeking help from a New Orleans cop. When all efforts fail, she steals a handgun and surprises her brothers during their rendezvous with the boy at the meth lab, Candyland, unleashing consequences she never expected or could ever have imagined.

All locations of the New Orleans Public Library will be closed Friday in observation of Good Friday.& Thursday at 7:30 pm Dogfish Reading Series presents Megan Burns and Graham Foust. Burns is publisher at Trembling Pillow Press and the author of three full length poetry collections, most recently Commitment (Lavender Ink, 2015). She is also the author of six chapbooks, most recently Sleepwalk with Me (Horse Less Press, 2016). She runs the Blood Jet Poetry Series (@bloodjetpoetry) in New Orleans and is the co-founder of the New Orleans Poetry Festival. (nolapoetry.com).  Born in Tennessee and raised in Wisconsin, Foust is the author of six books of poems, including To Anacreon in Heaven and Other Poems (Flood Editions 2013), a finalist for the Believer Poetry Award, and Time Down to Mind (Flood Editions, 2015). With Samuel Frederick, he has also translated three books by the late German poet Ernst Meister, including Wallless Space (Wave Books, 2014). He works at the University of Denver. Also featured is opening music by Guts Club, musician and video artist Lindsey Baker.

& Sunday at 3 pm the Maple Leaf Poetry Reading Series features poet Danny Kerwick celebrating his 60th birthday with a reading of his work followed by an open mic. The Maple Leaf is the oldest continuous reading series in the South.

The Sublime March 13, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.

in 130 pages. I am in awe.

Wandering Time: Western NotebooksWandering Time: Western Notebooks by Luis Alberto Urrea
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“All the road has been alive with incident and visions.” Behind that line is a book that would make Edward Abbey weep and Annie Dillard curse like a drunken sailor not to have authored it, a tour de force avalanche of prose poetry that buries the main road and reveals the mountain, dusted in crystal. Mountain and meadow, forest and desert Urrea paints the west in sunset and moonlight and peoples it with saints and maniacs that would send Kerouac into a benzedrine frenzy of poetry. Whatever you are doing right now if you are not reading this book you are doing it wrong. The title page says first paperback 2015 and his bio says he is writer in residence at U of L Lafayette and if you see me tearing down I-10 intent on an autograph and to shake his hand don’t get in the way.

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Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans March 13, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This week in literary New Orleans:

& Monday at 5:30 pm Tulane University’s NewDay Speaker Series features Saru Jayaraman author of FORKED: A New Standard for American Dining. A restaurant critic can tell you about the chef. A menu can tell you about the farm-sourced ingredients. Now who’s going to tell you about the people preparing your meal? FORKED is an enlightening examination of what we don’t talk about when we talk about restaurants: Is the line cook working through a case of stomach flu because he doesn’t get paid sick days? Is the busser not being promoted because he speaks with an accent? Is the server tolerating sexual harassment because tips are her only income? As most corporate restaurants continue to set low standards for worker wages and benefits, a new class of chefs and restaurateurs is working to foster sustainability in their food and their employees. FORKED offers an insider’s view of the highest–and lowest–scoring restaurants for worker pay and benefits in each sector of the restaurant industry, and with it, a new way of thinking about how and where we eat.

& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books presents  Claudette Sutton, author of FAREWELL, ALEPPO: My Father, My People, and Their Long Journey Home. The Jews of Aleppo, Syria, had been part of the city’s fabric for more than two thousand years, in good times and bad, through conquerors and kings. But in the middle years of the twentieth century, all that changed. To Selim Sutton, a merchant with centuries of roots in the Syrian soil, the dangers of rising anti-Semitism made clear that his family must find a new home. With several young children and no prospect of securing visas to the United States, he devised a savvy plan for getting his family out: “exporting” his sons. In December 1940, he told the two oldest, Meïr and Saleh, that arrangements had been made for their transit to Shanghai, where they would work in an uncle’s export business. China, he hoped, would provide a short-term safe harbor and a steppingstone to America. Farewell, Aleppo is the story—told by his daughter—of the journey that would ultimately take him from the insular Jewish community of Aleppo to the solitary task of building a new life in America. It is both her father’s tale that journalist Claudette Sutton describes and also the harrowing experiences of the family members he left behind in Syria, forced to smuggle themselves out of the country after it closed its borders to Jewish emigration.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop presents Suzanne Heagy and Love Lets Us Down. On a single day in June, 2004, newlywed ghosts Dorissa and Don haunt a room in an aging hotel, the Meridian Inn. On the afternoon that the ghosts arrive for their honeymoon, the hotel is full of characters—employees and guests—who inhabit the lobby, the pool area, and the parking lot, not to mention what happens behind closed doors. Individually, the characters include an unfaithful wife, an unfaithful husband, a missing girl, as well as a broken engagement, divorce, and unrequited love. If there is a hero in the novel, it might be the night supervisor Duncan, whose bitterness and sarcasm veil a tendency to assess and reflect, and to become involved in the concerns of other people.

& Also at 6 pm Tuesday Octavia Books features Roy Blount Jr. and SAVE ROOM FOR PIE: Food Songs and Chewy Ruminations and off-the-cuff. Blount is one of America’s most cherished comic writers. He’s been compared to Mark Twain and James Thurber, and his books have been called everything from “a work of art” (Robert W. Creamer, The New York TimesBook Review) to “a book to read till it falls apart” (Newsweek). Now, in Save Room for Pie, he applies his much-praised wit and charm to a rich and fundamental topic: food.  In poems and songs, limericks and fake (or sometimes true) news stories, Blount talks about food in surprising and innovative ways, with all the wit and verve that prompted Garrison Keillor, in The Paris Review, to say: “Blount is the best. He can be literate, uncouth, and soulful all in one sentence.”

& Also on Tuesday celebrate the publication of Louisiana Women, Volume 2, at Maple Street Book Shop at 6pm.  Co-editor Mary Farmer-Kaiser and contributing writers Shannon Frystak, Tania Tetlow, and Leslie Gail Parr will read. The book highlights the significant historical contributions of some of Louisiana’s most noteworthy and also overlooked women from the eighteenth century to the present. This volume underscores the cultural, social, and political distinctiveness of the state as well as showcases the actions and activities of women who greatly affected the history of Louisiana in profound and interesting ways.  These essays on women at the forefront of Louisiana and national events include information about Sarah Morgan; Janet Mary Riley; Lindy Claiborne Boggs; Lucy Alston Pirrie; Appoline Patout, Mary Ann Patout, and Ida Patout Burns; Lulu White; Neda Jurisich, Eva Vujnovich, and Mary Jane Munsterman Tesvich; Carmelite “Cammie” Garrett Henry; Alice Dunbar-Nelson; Coralie Guarino Davis; Lucinda Williams; Rebecca Wells; Phoebe Bryant Hunter; Cora Allen; Sarah Towles Reed; and Georgia M. Johnson

& At 7 pm Tuesday Great Books Discussion Group at the East Jefferson Regional Library meets to discuss Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. The Old Metairie Library Great Books Discussion Group  meets to discuss The Prince by Machiavelli.

& Wednesday at 6 pm Octavia Books also features James Beard Leadership Award winner Saru Jayaraman presents FORKED: A New Standard for American Dining.  FORKED offers an insider’s view of the highest–and lowest–scoring restaurants for worker pay and benefits in each sector of the restaurant industry, and with it, a new way of thinking about how and where we eat.

& Also at 6 pm Wednesday Garden District Book Shop hosts  Peter Finney Jr.  and The Best of Peter Finney, Legendary New Orleans Sportswriter. Five times each week over the past several decades, sports fans in New Orleans began their mornings by reading local sportswriter Peter Finney. Finney’s newspaper columns—entertaining, informative, and inspiring—connected New Orleans readers to the world of sports, for nearly 70 years. From a career total of 15,000 articles, this book offers a prime selection of the very best of Finney’s writing as well as an introduction from Peter Finney, Jr. This collection includes Finney’s account of Billy Cannon’s 89-yard punt return against Ole Miss in 1959; Tom Dempsey’s 1970 NFL-record 63-yard field goal; and the Saints’ 31–17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the 2010 Super Bowl. His interviews and profiles covered nearly every major sports figure of his time: Ted Williams, Jesse Owens, Joe DiMaggio, Muhammad Ali, Joe Namath, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Billy Cannon, Pete Maravich, Lee Trevino, Rusty Staub, Archie, Peyton, and Eli Manning, Eddie Robinson, Doug Williams, Dale Brown, Billy Martin, Brett Favre, Nick Saban, Shaquille O’Neal, Mike Ditka, Sean Payton, Drew Brees, Sugar Ray Leonard, Skip Bertman, Les Miles, and Tom Benson, among many others. The riveting moments and fascinating characters portrayed in this volume will delight both hardcore sports enthusiasts and casual fans, in stories told with Finney’s characteristic grace, humility, and wit.

& Wednesday at 8 pm Martin Cain and Sandra Grace Johnson read at Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater. Cain was raised in southern Vermont. Currently, he lives in Oxford, Mississippi, where he edits Yalobusha Review and hosts the Trobar Ric Reading Series. His writing has appeared (or is forthcoming) in Tarpaulin Sky, Jacket2, The Pinch, Action Yes, The Journal, Spork Press, and elsewhere. His first manuscript, Kids of the Black Hole, has been short-listed at Cleveland State, The Song Cave, Black Ocean, Tarpaulin Sky, and other presses, and he is pursuing an ongoing critical study of rural avant-gardes. Johnson is a poet, artist, vocalist and all around amazing human being.

& Also at 8 pm Wednesday Esoterotica is Not-Safe-for-Work (NSFW). Esoterotica’s local provocateurs will show you that just just because you may be ‘on the clock’ doesn’t mean you can’t get it on, with original erotica about all kinds of sex in the workplace. So no matter what kind of work you have, go to, or do, you are not going to want to miss this show… you may even get a few industrious ideas.

& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books presents Peter Bergen, author of UNITED STATES OF JIHAD: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists, discusses the impetus compelling some Americans at home and abroad to join militanat Islamic groups. Since 9/11, more than three hundred Americans born and raised in Minnesota, Alabama, New Jersey, and elsewhere have been indicted or convicted of terrorism charges. Some have taken the fight abroad: an American was among those who planned the attacks in Mumbai, and more than eighty U.S. citizens have been charged with ISIS-related crimes. Others have acted on American soil, as with the attacks at Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon, and in San Bernardino. What motivates them, how are they trained, and what do we sacrifice in our efforts to track them?  Paced like a detective story, United States of Jihad tells the entwined stories of the key actors on the American front.  Lucid and rigorously researched, United States of Jihad is an essential new analysis of the Americans who have embraced militant Islam both here and abroad.

On Thursday at 7 pm  Katy Simpson-Smith will be reading from and signing copies of her new book, “Free Men” , At Nix Library.  Maple Street Book Shop will be on hand to sell copies of the book.  From the author of the highly acclaimed The Story of Land and Sea comes a captivating novel, set in the late eighteenth-century American South, that follows a singular group of companions-an escaped slave, a white orphan, and a Creek Indian-who are being tracked down for murder.

& Also at 7pm Thursday the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts an Author Event Why the History of Women Writers Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux. Rioux has been teaching at UNO since the Fall of 1999. She is a member of the Women’s and Gender Studies faculty and teaches courses in American literature, with an emphasis on the 19th century, cultural studies, and gender. She earned her doctoral degree in American Studies from Purdue University in 1999. She is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, and she writes reviews and essays for general and academic audiences, specializing in biography and women writers. She is particularly committed to the recovery of lost women’s voices.

& At the Main Branch Library on Thursday at 6 pm Stephanie Hepburn, author of Human Trafficking Around the World: Hidden in Plain Sight, as she facilitates a panel discussion about human trafficking and the personal and financial costs to victims and society. The conversation will focus on both the local and global impacts of human trafficking. Other speakers include: Tamara Jackson, Executive Director of Silence is Violence; Andy Lewis, Coordinator of Greater New Orleans Human Trafficking Task Force; and Susanne Dietzel, PhD, Executive Director of Eden House.

& Friday at 7 pm Room 220 Presents: A Reading with Adam Tipps Weinstein, Laurence Ross, & Michael Jeffrey Lee at Antenna, 3718 St. Claude Ave. Weinstein is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing, and Steffensen-Cannon fellow at the University of Utah. His first book, Some Versions of the Ice, was chosen by Fanny Howe for the NOS Book Contest is forthcoming from Les Figues–he is also nonfiction editor for Quarterly West. He lives in Salt Lake City with his wife, Emily, and daughter, Zella Mae. Ross received his MFA from the University of Alabama where he served as the Creative Nonfiction Editor for Black Warrior Review. He has published his essays and reviews in literary journals such as Brevity, Gaga Stigmata, and The Georgia Review as well as The Huffington Post. In addition, he is a frequent contributor to Pelican Bomb, a regional publication dedicated to the Louisiana arts community. Laurence Ross lives in New Orleans where he recently served as the Director of P.3 Writes, a program in conjunction with U.S. Art Triennial Prospect New Orleans.  Lee’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in BOMB, The Collagist, Denver Quarterly, and Fairy Tale Review, among others. His first book, Something in My Eye, received the Mary McCarthy Prize and was published by Sarabande. He teaches at NOCCA, Tulane University, and for the Loyola Writing Institute.

& Saturday at 10 am at the East Jefferson Regional Library Emily McKay, author of numerous novels including the young adult book The Farm, will speak to the Southeastern Louisiana chapter of the Romance Writers of America. The event is free of charge and is open to the public. McKay will discuss the art of manuscript revision: “Does your Nano manuscript need some work? Do you sometimes wonder if the term rough draft is a euphemism for Unfixable Mess? If you’re struggling to whip your work-in-progress into shape, you’re not alone. All manuscripts need revisions. Sometimes it’s a little nip and tuck; other times it’s a full organ transplant, heart, lungs and all. Every book can be saved.”

& Saturday at 10:30 am the members of the Octavia Books Book Club will be discussing THE LAND OF LOVE AND DROWNING by Tiphanie Yanique. The club meets the third Saturday of every month. Members receive 10% off the selections.

& Saturday at 11:30 am Maple Street Book Shop  will be hosting Connie Collins Morgan, author of “Hercules on the Bayou”. She will be reading from and signing copies of her book. Hercules faces his biggest challenge yet—the Louisiana swamps! Including battles with a twelve-clawed crawfish and the taming of a raging hurricane, this Cajun re-imagining of the Hercules legend stirs together myth, culture, and Louisiana spice. Sent down to the hot and humid bayou from his kingdom in the clouds, Hercules must perform four daring labors to escape the immortal queen’s wrath. Luckily, Hercules has godlike strength, bravery, and his new bayou family to help him conquer every incredible feat! This pourquois tale is told in the style of a gentle Cajun storyteller and features vibrant and whimsical illustrations. Written by an award-winning children’s educator, this adventure will have you shouting “Aiyee!” from start to finish

& At 2 pm Saturday the Greater New Orleans Chapter of LA Poetry Society meets at the Old Metairie Library.

& Sunday at 1 pm the Friends of NOPL are bringing their Book Sale to Norman Mayer Library. Hundreds of books for the whole family will be on sale — adult fiction and nonfiction, children’s and teens’, plus CDs, DVDs, and audiobooks.

& Next Sunday March 20 at 3 pm fiction writer Vicki Salloum reads from her newest novel, Candyland. at the Maple Leaf Reading Series, the longest continuously running poetry reading series in the South. Followed by an open mic in the patio of The Maple Leaf.


Mystery in a Tree March 13, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Journey, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I set out as soon as the rain stopped, two solid days of drenching rain, to return to my urban forest. What began as purely physical exercise has morphed into something else. My GPS tracker tells me my pace has slowed from a brisk three-plus miles an hour closer to two, more of an amble than a power walk. Power walkers, dog walkers, oblivious runners are all around me but I think they miss the fine details of the place, fail to notice the mystery in the trees. Even people I have seen stop and climb up on the massive root boles of the Grandfather Oak likely never look down to see His face looking up at them. (I name everything around me, transforming the space, making it a personal Eden and I its Adam).

Do tIMG_20160310_103754656hey ever notice the tree I call The Sisters, the slender trunk of another species I have yet to identify somehow grafted onto a pine tree? One can tell from the bark that there are clearly two trees here, one symbiotically rooted into the other. I can imagine a seed landing in the interruptions of the bark of the pine and sprouting, roots somehow intertwining with the trunk of the mother tree, providing the water and nourishment for both. This is not something one is going to notice if all of  your attention is on the song on your iThing as you pass with the distant stare of the jogger, or if you are primarily paying attention to your dog, pulling it to heel if people or another dog approach, bending to tend to its droppings. One must walk with intent to notice things like this and that has become the nature of my daily exercise, one as much spiritual and psychological and it is simply of the body. Walking slowly allows me to both flex and exercise just enough (I continue to lose weight) while simultaneously my urban forest nourishes my soul just as the pine nourishes its sister tree.

WIMG_20160302_162318770hat looks like sweepings or something blown together by the wind suddenly looks mysteriously intentional, a cryptic message left on the sidewalk by some other spirit of the place, human or of some other agency it really doesn’t matter. What matters is seeing it, being slow and open and ready to partake of the magic.

Friday after the rain I had to relearn the childhood skill of navigating what we called “the mushies,” threading the driest path through the flooded park lawn when the sidewalk was the center of a spontaneous pond. Again, it is a matter of slowness and attention, to pick out which of the crooked lines of tree drift washed up on slightly higher ground or grass beneath, and which are just collections floating on the water. I didn’t take a picture then. I was too intent on finding the driest path around the flooded walk, and I did. Where the path was drier and I was free to look up and around, the resurrection fern which had been grey with drought was bright green on all the oak limbs. IMG_20160311_163853763_HDR

I have come to trust this forest  as a living thing, believe that the spirits which reside in certain of these trees guide my feet around tripping roots and fire ant piles and this leaves me free to notice the fresh green on the trees in the quiet, dripping space in the hour after two days of rain have ended. There are few other people to distract, and a gaggle of geese foraging in the puddles pays me little attention, continues barely interruptedd by a glance my way, and I feel in their acceptance that I am one with the space, am as much of as in a liminal space between a public park and something deeper and older. It no longer matters to me to go for three and three, at least three miles at a speed of at least three miles an hour. My journey is of a different sort, not a distance crossed but a path into, a crossing of another sort, inarches in the forestto that space where the wild creatures do not flee at my approach but accept me as one of their own. It is a journey in which I find gateways in a receding set of arches leading to a space where a particular tree has grown down and enclosed a chapel of branches. The tracks and lamp, the works of man, are not a distraction but simply a high, dry path deeper into mystery.

The tracks



Redemption Songs March 12, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Irish, Irish Channel, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.

Now at the annual collision of our African, Celtic and Sicilian cultures, in this town where the African’s ripped from their villages and put into bondage were too valuable a property to risk so the hungry Irish were set to work and die digging the New Basin Canal, where the Sicilian residents of the French Quarter were lynched by practiced hands, the Mardi Gras Indians will come out even as the Irish and Italians stage their parades and the green beer and red wine will flow, and the streets will be lined with rotted cabbage heads, pork chop sandwiches and loose feathers, a celebration in the way only our entirely Creolized culture knows how to do best. In this one place God set aside like Nod for the rejects of Anglo culture and in which we have established (with a wink and a blind eye from God) all that the propaganda of the north promised in their lies, the true melting pot. It is time to to sing Redemption Songs.

Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans March 7, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This week in literary New Orleans:

& At 5 pm Monday at the New Orleans East Regional Library. New Orleans Spoken Word Artists will present monthly workshops that include poetry writing and performance, with the goal of building community through writing and strengthening students’ written and verbal communication skills.

& Monday at 7 pm the EJ Writers Group meets at the East Jeffersion Regional Library.  The East Jefferson Writer’s Group is a critique group for serious fiction writers of all levels who want to improve their story development skills. This group focuses on discussing story development and writing elements and applying critiquing skills in romance, adventure, mystery, literature (but not genres of SciFi, Fantasy, Horror of the Thursday Sci-FI Writers). Short stories, novels, screenplays, plays, comics are accepted; however, non-fiction, such as poetry, biography, autobiography, essays, or magazine articles is not

& Monday at 7 pm Garden District Book Shop features Katy Simpson Smith’s  Free Men. Set in the late eighteenth-century American South, that follows a singular group of companions—an escaped slave, a white orphan, and a Creek Indian—who are being tracked down for murder. In 1788, three men converge in the southern woods of what is now Alabama. Cat, an emotionally scarred white man from South Carolina, is on the run after abandoning his home. Bob is a talkative black man fleeing slavery on a Pensacola sugar plantation, Istillicha, edged out of his Creek town’s leadership, is bound by honor to seek retribution. In the few days they spend together, the makeshift trio commits a shocking murder that soon has the forces of the law bearing down upon them. Sent to pick up their trail, a probing French tracker named Le Clerc must decide which has a greater claim: swift justice, or his own curiosity about how three such disparate, desperate men could act in unison.

& Tuesday at Oil & Vinegar Louisiana, 6111 Pinnacle Pkwy, Covington from 11:30 am – 2 pm  meet Ann Benoit author of  NEW ORLEANS’ BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANTS. From shrimp and crab to fish and oysters, New Orleans knows how to do seafood right. In this mouthwatering collection of recipes, family establishments like Sal’s Seafood dish up long-time favorites, sparkling new talents like Crudo+Bar at Baru offer scintillating tastes, and celebrity eateries like Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House serve celebrated fare.Featuring dazzling photographs, fascinating restaurant and restaurateur profiles, and industry history,

Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts a Texas two-fer when  Manning Wolfe and Bill Rodgers and discuss their books Dollar Signs: Texas Lady Lawyer Vs. Boots King and History Retweets Itself: Texas Edition.  Merit Bridges, an attorney and widowed mother in Austin, Texas, works hard, drinks too much wine, and sleeps with younger men. When Merit goes after a shady corporation threatening her client, she encounters hired gun Boots King. His charge is simple, “Stop her!” Merit and her team – including Betty, a mothering office manager with a bad-ass attitude – struggle to stay alive, while they navigate a labyrinth of legal issues, and prove once again that you don’t mess with a Texas lady lawyer. Bill Rodgers is currently writing a series of short-form humor books, entitled History Retweets Itself, offering a funny take on historical events. Bill’s view through the lens of modern day social media provides a fun look at history. No pop quiz. No term paper. Just laughs! The first in the History Retweets Itself series is the Texas Edition, taking a fun slant on historical events in the Lone Star State. The next books in the series will include the Golf Edition, the World History Edition, and the Sports Edition, among others.

& Also at 6 pm Tuesday Tubby & Coo’s Science Fiction Book Club meets. No title announced.

& At 7 pm Tuesday The West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego. Members perform writing exercises, discuss fiction and critique the writing of fellow authors

& At noon Wednesday the Tulane University Book Store presents a Reading and Book Signing of Free Men, a Novel by  local author, Katy Simpson Smith.

& Wednesday at 6 pm  Marlene Trestman visits Octavia Book to discuss and sign her biography of Bessie Margolin, FAIR LABOR LAWYER: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin. Through a life that spanned every decade of the twentieth century, Supreme Court advocate Bessie Margolin shaped modern American labor policy while creating a place for female lawyers in the nation’s highest courts. Despite her beginnings in an orphanage and her rare position as a southern, Jewish woman pursuing a legal profession, Margolin became an influential Supreme Court advocate. In this comprehensive biography, Marlene Trestman reveals the forces that propelled and the obstacles that impeded Margolin’s remarkable journey, illuminating the life of this trailblazing woman.

& Also at 6 pm Wednesday the Garden District Book Shop Book Club meets to discuss The Children Act.  New Members are always welcome.  Purchase book in-store for Garden Dsitrict Book Club and for a 20% discount.

& At 7:30 pm Wednesday the East Jefferson Regional Library presents an Author Event featuring San Irwin, author of a new book titled It Happens in Louisiana: Peculiar Tales, Traditions & Recipes from the Bayou. Irwin writes regularly about Louisiana culture as a freelance writer — blogging at http://www.LaNote.org and http://www.CrawfishReport.com, in addition to print publications. He is the author of several books, including Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean.

& Leslie D. Rose and Poeticsoul read at Blood Jet at 8 pm at BJ’s in the Bywater, followed by an open mic. Rose is a journalist and photographer from Baton Rouge, by way of southern New Jersey.. She is the editor of Gonzales Weekly Citizen and The Donaldsonville Chief, and the volunteer director of external communications for the Baton Rouge-based, multi-generational arts organization – Forward Arts, Inc. . Leslie promotes a brand of journalism-inspired poetry and has even created a workshop and performance program titled “Ripped from the Headlines”, which debuted at Baton Rouge Community College’s 7th Annual ArtsFest. Leslie has been on two national poetry slam teams, represented Baton Rouge individually, published and featured on various outlets and has toured select cities. PoeticSoul owns and operates Lyrically Inclined, where she can be seen live monthly in Lafayette, LA. She takes her strong, resound messages to a new level of vibration with her powerful live performances. Her debut album, Scattered Thoughts, was released in December 2015. The tracks address a variety of life issues inspired by the artist’s own personal growth, addressing a variety of human and human rights issues. She challenges her listeners to, “Speak up, Speak out, and Be heard.”

& Thursday at noon the Tulane University Book Stores hosts a Meet and Greet Book Signing featuring Marlene Trestman,  New Orleans native and former special assistant to the Maryland attorney general and former law instructor at Loyola University of Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business and Management. Trestman’s book is a biography based on the life of Tulane and Yale Alumna Bessie Margolin. Also a New Orleans native, Margolin was an advocate for the Supreme Court where she won 21 of 24 arguments she presented to champion the wage and hour rights of millions of american workers while overcoming anti-Semitism and sexism

& Thursday at Octavia Books at 6 pm  author Travis Ian Smith will read and sign INDIE DARLING. Ex-this, former that.  Noah Seymour has a second chance, having been ambushed by Bands Back Together, a reality TV show that reunites once-popular bands for a televised concert. Pondering whether to take the stage again, Noah daydreams about his past in The Vows: his first tour (a disaster), his first album (nominated for a Grammy), his first love (a fellow musician already in a relationship), and his final betrayal. Now a high school teacher in New Orleans, maybe Noah can use The Vows’ reunion as a means to bed flirty guidance counselor Chloe Sorensen?  Or maybe it’s his ticket out of writing lesson plans, unjamming copy machines, and loosening neckties at three o’clock?  But can Noah in good conscience abandon Miles Lafayette, his hipster student who follows him everywhere, seeking his advice?  Furthermore, is it even possible for an ex-rock star to improve the second time around, like a song in reprise at the end of an album?

&  Also at 6 pm Thursday the Maple Street Book Club discusses Megan Abbott’s  The Fever. This month the club will have local author Adrian Van Young as guest facilitator, and he’s picked Megan Abbott’s “The Fever.” Adrian Has a book coming out called “Shadows in Summerland,” for which we will also be hosting a release party and reading from Adrian at the book store on April 21st at 6 PM. The book club choice will be available at 10% off at the store. Refreshments will be served.

&  At 7 pm Thursday the Nix Library Book Club meets to discuss its March selection The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty.

&  At 7 PM on Thursday in celebration of the 10th annual New Orleans New Writers Literary Festival, Rickey Laurentiis will be reading at NOCCA|Riverfront. Boy With Thorn is his first book of poetry. Maple Street Book Shop will be on-site, selling copies of the book. In a landscape at once the brutal American South as it is the brutal mind, Boy with Thorn interrogates the genesis of all poetic creation—the imagination itself, questioning what role it plays in both our fascinations with and repulsion from a national history of racial and sexual violence. The personal and political crash into one language here, gothic as it is supple, meditating on visual art and myth, to desire, the practice of lynching and Hurricane Katrina. Always at its center, though, is the poet himself—confessing a double song of pleasure and inevitable pain.

& Saturday at 10:30 am the Octavia Books Science Fiction Book Club meets to discuss Jennifer Marie Brissett’s ELYSIUM. 

& Also at 10:30 am at the Nix Library Trisha Rezende, MFA, leads a dynamic writing workshop where students will produce, share, and critique texts while learning how to develop character, voice, and style.

& From 1-5 pm Saturday  the Friends of NOPL are bringing their oop-up Book Sale to Norman Mayer Library. Hundreds of books for the whole family will be on sale — adult fiction and nonfiction, children’s and teens’, plus CDs, DVDs, and audiobooks.

& At 1 pm Sunday at Octavia Books Raymond Arroyo for when he introduces his middle grade book, WILL WILDER: THE RELIC OF PERILOUS FALLS. Fans of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” and Peter Lerangis’s “Seven Wonders” series will embrace this first epic adventure in a rollicking new series by a New York Timesbestselling author.  Will Wilder is a mischievous, headstrong twelve-year-old with an otherworldly gift he alone can see the nefarious creatures encroaching on Perilous Falls. For nearly a century, a sacred relic has protected his hometown from the raging waters surrounding it. But when Will borrows the relic for his own purposes, he accidentally unleashes an ancient evil.  As boats sink and hideous creatures crawl from the rising waters, Will must set things right before it is too late. With the help of his sweet (if lethal) Great Aunt Lucille, the curator of a museum of powerful artifacts, Will proves that the actions of one twelve-year-old boy can change the world.


The Clock Strikes Matches March 5, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Poetry, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist.

Insomnia keeps its own counsel
leaves me alone with my own thoughts
matches flaring & vanishing
in small puffs of smokes of which

I have none. I’m done with them
my old companions  in solitude
leaving me to brood over
whether it’s too early for coffee.

Sleep is not on the horizon.
I am low and mercurial
befitting the aimless hour
spent dreading sunrise.

Not even a streetlight mockingbird
for company; the damn cat’s asleep
on my cool pillow & P. breathes
gently against my restlessness.

Old enough for aches & pains
that wake, young enough to worry
the small hours like handkerchiefs
into twisted knots of insomnia.

If you were expecting some ringing resolution
you are obviously dreaming August popsicles
of childhood deliciously dripping but you’re

only drooling,  mouth open, on your pillow
not your best look & morning’s bright
mirror horror awaits your yawning hour

while I silently  wait for nothing,
an empty can left out overnight
without so much as a racoon

for company. The moon set last afternoon
leaving me alone in the dark, lighting
matches with no excuse for madness.