NYC - New Year's Day Poetry Place Marathon Reading 2010 & more

Holy Moly, what an adventure! First I traveled through the the seven levels of the candy cane forest, past the sea of swirly-twirly gumdrops and then I walked through the Lincoln tunnel. Just kidding, but I felt a bit like Buddy the Elf, completely awestruck by New York.
My traveling companion, my friend from grad school, poet Florine Melnyk, and I wanted to call ourselves urban hillbillies or similar, considering she's from the city of Buffalo and I'm from Boston, yet we both had to keep reminding ourselves to stop looking agape in wonder every few seconds.

The journey began at 7 AM when we walked out of my apartment to catch the T bus to the orange line to the red to South Station to Greyhound and, after a stop at a closed Arby's and an open McDonald's, and turning around in New Jersey, arrived right smack in a very clean and shiny Time's Square. It's as if there weren't a BAGILLION people there the night before. But I guess they pay all NYC workers over time and hire everyone and they work through the night to pick it all up. The confetti that was stuck in the gutters of the smaller buildings kept blowing down. We kept a few fresh pieces in our pockets but I think mine dissolved because I couldn't find them later. The weather was absolutely perfect and though it was a little crowded, it being Times Square, it wasn't unbearable.

Then we went to Bryant Park, which is right next to Nerd Mecca AKA the New York Public Library. Sadly it was closed, but it just gives me something I know I need to do next time I go. Then it was over to Rockefeller Center to see the tree, the skating, Radio City, NBC then to St Patrick's Cathedral. I took a picture with the statue of St Brigid. She and St Francis of Assissi are two of my favorite saints. (In my humble opinion, they'd be appalled with the Catholic church as of today and defect like me.) We also walked through Central park, down Park Ave and Madison Ave and caught the train at Lexington to the Village for the poetry reading.

It was great. I met a few people whose poetry I'd read and liked but never met in person before. And saw some people I already knew and caught up with them. There were so many good readers and performers. Too many highlights but what comes to mind immediately are Penny Arcarde, Taylor Meade, Legs McNeil & Gillian McCain playing a recording of old interview with Jim Carroll, who the event was dedicated to, about his JFK assassination memory -- a made up story involving Barbra Streisand's breasts and wanking in the bathroom -- Kimberley Lyons, Eileen Myles and on and on. Florine and I did keep a notebook of the whole trip, which we will gladly archive and preserve for the Library of Congress, as was suggested by Jim Behrle when I mentioned the little notebook.

It wasn't all poetry, either. There were music acts, including the composer Philip Glass, which was dazzling. But still, every time I hear Philip Glass, I always think of my first exposure to him, which was that color wheel thing from Sesame Street! (

There were also a number of Interpretative Dancers. I don't know, I guess I'm just too Boston for such unbridled earnestness but I have a terribly hard time not giggling uncontrollably at interpretive dance. Some of them would go into the center aisle for part of their performance piece and end up holding a dramatic pose right beside me, since I was at the end of my row. I had to think bad thoughts, like "Nazis, dead puppies, babies crying" in order not to break down and laugh. I'm so immature and uncultured sometimes...

We left at around 11, which meant we missed a lot of people I would have liked to seen read but we hadn't eaten an a official dinner and had a bus to catch. So we got some food and a beer (since it was my first time being of age in the city) at this pub called "Telephone" and then, after switching trains and being locked out of the connection from the train station to the bus station, (no biggie just had to walk across the street but was a little disorienting & frightening at 1 AM) finally got the 2 AM bus back to Boston. A long day but it was really really fun and done on the very very cheap, which is also a bonus.

I'm not sure if I could live there, if I did it would be for more than a couple of years, that's for sure. But I want to go back when the museums and libraries etc are actually open. This turned out to be one of my best New Years, especially considering it was fairly last minute & I recommend attending the marathon to anyone who's ever considered it.