Post 3 from Guest Blogger Brenda Coultas

Hated the Martin McDoughal play “A Behanding in Spokane.” Racist, I kept waiting for some point to be made. None was. An audience of white tourists laughing at the n-word.

Wish I’d waited till the reviews, esp. New Yorker one, were in before buying tickets but I wanted to see Christopher Walken on stage.

March 19

Eleni and me are hanging out, run into Lee Ann Brown who makes us extras in Tony Torn’s movie. The Cellbutross. Its a scene in a bar where everyone is texting or talking on their cells. A giant cell phone overhead, that rings, its someone’s boss.

Then its onward to the Whitney to catch an hour of the biennial.

March 20th

KiKi Smith show at the Brooklyn Museum. Main figure must be Elizabeth Murray, its a beautiful elegy. Clearly about transmission from one generation of women artist to another.

March 21

8th Anniversary of the Iraq Invasion Reading in a Williamsburg loft. Eleni Sikelianos, Major Jackson, Pierrie Joris and Nicole Peyrafitte and their family band.

March 22

Notes from a Talk on The Book of Jon by Eleni Sikelianos. Eleni was the guest writer for John High’s MFA class called Writers on Writing. The Book of Jon is a memoir of Eleni’s father, Jon, a handsome, talented man who struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. He died broke, alone in a hotel room.

Mistranslated notes from her talk:

“Poetry as a way to cool the material down. To tell an emotional truth without skirting the issues/ hot middle…how blind we are to ourselves… It is possible to get in trouble [some family members disapprove]… The disappeared father…  Of  some fragment we all have, bodies, brains, stories… Part 1 I wrote while he was alive–Part 11 after…about grieving… Who am I writing it for? Me… Not curative because we forget about the art… The notion that the living help the dead… He needs help now even on the other side…‘need oven mitts for the material’ Tom Clark to Jo Ann Wasserman [on writing The Escape, her poems on her mother’s death in a car crash]

Books Received

The Port of Los Angeles, Jane Sprague, Chax Press

The Tsatsawassans, Vol. #2, Ed. by Bernadette Mayer

March 23

Morning composition class. We walked to Madison Square Park, wrote and walked for thirty minutes. No one wanted to share their work. So I did:

Who is Roscoe Conkling?

Frozen custard

Floats, cones, shakes

Tue is Mango Madness.

Pinot Noir $22.

Suspended walkway between buildings.

Wedge of the Flatiron

Empire State silver needle in the sun

Dogs sprung from penthouse prisons

Morning sun blazes on my coat

Leaf blowers buzz like  gnats

Dogs in designer coats

Doberman in Burberry plaid

English bulldog in rhinestones.

Night composition class uptown. We are covering “The Metamorphosis.” So I ask the students to write about a time when they or someone they knew was treated or felt like a bug. One student, a Trinidadian woman about my age, wrote about taking the 6 hour bus ride to see her son in prison, “faces on the bus knew no color or age” and about how the visitors felt like bugs, powerless. Images conveyed through the senses, “the guards are the thorns”  “steel met

steel “(clanging of the gates and cells) her son keeps his milk cold by storing it in the toilet. “This prison it’s mine.”  Her last line reminds me that when one person is incarcerated the whole family is in effect also imprisoned.