How We Do by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is easily my favorite writer and poetry discovery of 2014. I started with her last book “The Year of No Mistakes” which includes this poem “How We Do”. I have also read her first three books My Future Boyfriend, Hot Teen Slut and Working Class Represent. I will admit to having difficulty spelling her name, but she is fantastic and funny. “Hot Teen Slut” ***** is easily my favorite book so far this year. Bawdy, hilarious, raunchy about a recent college graduate and virgin who works as an editor at the porn industry. It’s fantastic and captures a lot of the awkwardness of porn, being a college graduate and the bizarre and short lived culture of the 1990s internet boom. It is easily the funniest book of poetry I have ever read. “Dear Future Boyfriend” *** is about being young and awkward. It’s amazing that Ms. Aptowicz even started the Urbana Poetry Slam in New York City at age 19, that one the 2000 and 2002 National Poetry Slam with Taylor Mali among others.

“Working Class Represent” ***1/2 is about being a young poet with a day job. And includes the poem “Ode to People Who Rejected My Work” which any writer and poet would recognize. And “Ode to My Morning Cup of Coffee” which is perfect for someone waking up at 4am for work (an hour earlier than I planned) and enjoying local Silvery Moon Creamery yogurt (Westbrook, ME) with coffee.

“The Year of No Mistakes” is about breaking up with a long term partner and finding next steps in your life. It shows her growing as a writer and is wonderful. ***1/2

How We Do by Kristin O’Keefe Aptowicz (With Permission from the Author)

I tell my best friend, See?
This is proof of how close
friends we are,

that I am telling you
all this stuff in such
graphic detail!

And she said,
And my proof is
that I’m still listening!

—————

I think we have all experienced this.

You can buy Ms. Aptowicz’s work at:

Her publisher Write Bloody Press:

And I get my copies through Bull Moose a local record store chain (NH and Maine) that started Record Store Day and offers 35% off new books. Hooray for independent bookstores and record stores. Now more than ever. They actually have “Hot Teen Slut” and “Working Class Represent” in stock now. I guess it’s good to buy books through your local shop.

You can also read some of her best poems published by the Legendary. A total of 10 poems.

The first group is from “The Year of No Mistakes”, the second from “Hot Teen Slut” (warning NSFW) my favorite is the “Sass Manifesto”, and the third from I am not sure but I love “Crack Squirrels”.

Her website is: www.aptowicz.com.
Twitter is @coaptowicz
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Aptowicz

This is 40

Terrible movie, waste of talent **.

I turned 40 on June 23rd. Already looking like a very different year. Lanna just got a new job in Shelton, Connecticut, big raise, big opportunity. She is starting there at the end of the month. And we are looking to move completely by September 1st.

Big move for me. Will be nice to have New York City an easy drive or better train ride away. Will be nice to be closer to my mom, Allentown, PA will be 2 hours away. Will be unfortunate to be farther from my mother in law, from across town to 4 hours away.

Maine has been really good for us. Met a bunch of awesome people through work, Twitter, Facebook, poetry, tweetups, church, community.

Portland is a fantastic city. Amazing food. Excellent art scenes. Even two poetry slam teams which is just astounding. Tons of theater companies, a great regional art museum, lots of galleries and artists. And it actually is a city in the peninsula. Walkable, interesting, lots of character. Resurgem.

Westbrook I think is still finding itself. A mill town, where the mill doesn’t run the town anymore. It has the advantage of being next to Portland so it has become more a commuter city, but still with a lot of people in section 8 who never recovered from the mill being gone. Happy James Tramontagne is in the city with the Frog and Turtle, I love the Dancing Elephant and I love my local library. I also liked being able to walk in town, but I do wish it had better links to Portland Trails and the wonderful city of Portland. To me it’s still Westbrook it’s there. I expressed my love for the town with my poem “The Smells of Westbrook.”

The Shelton, Connecticut area will be a new adventure for me. Driving around during Lanna’s interview on Tuesday it reminded me a lot of the area I grew up in Somerset County, NJ. Reminded me a lot of Bridgewater. Lots of businesses in huge parks in an area with a lot of trees. A lot of affluence, just very similar.

I look forward to the new adventure and discovering new places. Right now it all feels overwhelming.

40 has come. I think I will really like my fifth decade. I do want to get in touch with as many people as possible in the next few weeks and get a beer, coffee or lunch.

The move feels so fast but it’s a great opportunity and I look forward to it.

Blessed be.

edmund

Zen and the Art of Pinball

I’m walking on this beautiful morning.
Up late after a night of pinball.
Given advice.
Thinking.

Not letting the ball flow.
Not letting it go.
Trusting the flippers,
Just having fun.

It’s a game of flow
Silverball through bumpers, drop targets, ramps.

Multiballs fast madness.
Control
When needed
Flow
When everything works.

Enjoying the sounds
The mechanics
Underside filled with wire and switches.

Sounds
Lights
But attention
Joy
Sometimes bliss.

Quarters draining
The afternoon passing
As you watch the silverball
Fly around the table.

Metal paying
For shiny metal
As the boy in me returns
And I just play.

Gorgeous morning

Lovely morning in Deering Oaks
New flowers of Spring
Green ones have arrived
Greens, honey, eggs.

Watching kids smiles
Talented balloon twister
I know so well.

Blue skies
Green trees
Finally warm
as I sit in the shade.

Poems for May

Did some poetry yesterday:

Here are some tweetpoems (not necessarily haiku but 140 characters or less).

The city sleeps
falls quiet
birds sing their glorious song
Spring arrives in Maine.

Symphony of spring
birdsong
before the world awakens.

Bad Houses **

Bad Houses by Sara Ryan (story) and Carla Speed McNeil (illustration).

Story just didn’t grab me.

I think there definitely could have been more there.

I think graphic novels are most interesting when they either embrace the spare in a beautiful work like Jeff Lemire’s Essex County. Or if they provide a snapshot of an unknown world in Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang or Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis”.J

There is also the power of work like Palestine by Joe Sacco. But for relatively standard storytelling the effect can actually be pretty thin.

I feel like this could have been more interesting in more traditional narrative, like the characters live richer lives that what is shown in the book. The central couple’s story is just beginning in the book, and I think can get richer.

Ok at best. Definitely disappointing.

Reading Poetry for Future Poetry

I seem to be in a reading poetry mode.

Write Bloody Revivals. Bukowski, Franny Choi, David Perez, Robin Merrill Kristin O’Keefe Aptowicz. Misspellings. Amazing chapbooks from new poets like Kirsten Uhde.

Great stuff.

Inspirational.

A Hundred Years of Haiku in English… Planning to go to a haiku workshop again in my yearly retreat.

Taking information in. Taking styles in.

It’s future poetry.

Not writing as much as I like but I think it’s coming.

Listening to poetry, reading poetry, writing poetry. It’s a happy circle.

I like narrative poetry. I like clear language. I love hilarious poetry that makes me burst out laughing. A hilarious poem is a great poem.

So the poetry is simmering up. Looking forward to what’s coming and of course reading more poetry.

I hope for the well to flow again.

Patience

One breath at a time
one eyeblink at a time
one heartbeat

Many thoughts
many mediums
So much information.

But
it’s one step at a time
one day at a time
one conversation at a time
breathe
slow down
learn patience.

The world doesn’t have to move fast
breathe
slow down
learn patience
breath
rest.

Listen to nature
walk
hear the birds
watch the wind through the trees,
See the season slowly turn.

Listen to the water,
life giving
cold
breathe
pay attention
be patient
one thing at a time
The world can wait.

Live richly
pet a cat
walk the dog
take a nap,
watch children play and smile.

Eat
slowly
sit down
Cook.

Life is about little moments
one breath
one conversation
crying
laughing
loving
be humble.
Love.

Sketch poem

This came from writing on a sketchbook at Dobra Tea.
Small cap lines should be indented.
————-

Read
    anything
Create
    with abandon
Draw
     outside the lines.
Love
    with all your heart
Listen
intensely
without judgement
without interjection
Learn
everything
then learn more.
Write
poorly
Write
anything
Write
Create
Believe in yourself.

Fail
keep going
Draft
edit
keep going
Sketch
draw
watercolor
Keep playing.
Buy local art.
Be a patron.
Be a fan.

Create,
Listen,
Write,
Laugh,
Love
yourself
your journey
listening
creating.

You are an artist.
Believe in yourself.
Create.
Listen.
Love.
Create more.
Share your work.
It’s beautiful.

Numbing Agents

We are often uncomfortably numb.
Not engaging.

Using crutches
pain pills
alcohol
Facebook
cigarettes
pot
TV
Radio
Internet.

Keeping feeling internal
hard to shar

Afraid to say what we feel
Worried about offending others.

Wanting to be the good guy.

Not connecting to people in person,
social media isn’t that social.
It’s a lot of words,
a lot of noise
not much connection.

Texts
for hours
for hundreds of messages
while driving
while with an actual person
in front of you.

There are a lot of things out there
retail therapy
commercialism
you need more crap, more stuff,
more shit.

We live in bizarre times.
Don’t know out neighbors,
have hundreds or thousands of “friends” we hardly know.
That are at most acquaintances.

I like social media,
I can like TV,
like beer.
But there is just too much noise right now,
too much static.

We need to connect,
need to talk,
need to interact,
with people in-person,
not just online.

Need to connect with people,
of different classes,
races,
ages,
genders,
backgrounds.

Realize we have more in common,
than different.
That those with a difficult life,
little money,
families in jail,
addiction,
illness,
madness,
need love.

What a better life we would live if
we could just be
“Excellent to each other.”

Don’t be a dick,
listen,
too many people are bogus.

Love people for who they are,
“party on dudes,”
listen,
cry,
laugh,
love.

The world needs you.
Needs you to love.
To listen, to write, to create,
to be only the person you can be.

I am trying,
it’s not easy,
there is so much shiny, so much debt, so much hardship.

We are all in this together, kid.
Cliches and all.

Love. Love. Hug. Cry. Listen. Or just be there.
There is someone who needs you,
and someone you need,
blessings to you all.

Peace.

edmund