While I didn’t manage to stay long enough to see all three bands (I missed Zmrzlina and Sonny Smith) at Watchword‘s Dec 8 event at Café du Nord, I did catch Sam Tsitrin’s new combo, Ebb and Flow, who presented a fluid velvet beefheart groove style, and I heard all three poets (Ishle Yi Park, Maw Shein Win, and Stephanie Young) perform. They rekindled my love of words and sense of belonging to a community of people who care about writing and art and human expression and partying and uncomfortable truths and love.
Stephanie Young repeatedly conjured miniature worlds of writing and day-to-day life, her poems at times plaintive like worksongs put me in little wordplay reality trances.
But it was Ishle who rocked the house, moving the podium and microphone to one side and singing out her poetry in a street-informed voice, defiant, sensitive, and funny.
I believe she has a new book of poetry coming out, or you can buy her self-published Girl Fish at her website.
Also included at the site are a few of her poems (including her showstopper, “Pussy”), a list of upcoming events, and a journal:
i used to be a corporate paralegal, saving poems on disks between photocopying depositions for this fat ass farting white republican lawyer. i got paid mad loot, but jesus christ, thank god i left! and i used to live in the bronx with my ex-man, watching blockbuster videos every night and fighting. once every three months I’d go to a poetry reading. quitting that job, and quitting that man, gave me time and energy to dedicate to myself, and my writing, and going to open mics, which became features, which eventually became this crazy, blessed life.