WITH + STAND 5: Some notes on the reading & release party, and a poem, from Dan Thomas-Glass

(stacks o' WITH + STAND 5, Kristin Palm, Dan Thomas-Glass, crowd)

In the spirit of letters, of others letters, of talking with, in the spirit of response, and in the spirit of in case you missed it too, I'm posting a short and somewhat accidental, or initially private, report on the reading and release party for WITH + STAND 5. I was bummed to miss this event, held at a spot I've never been, Zughaus Gallery. I knew that Dan Thomas-Glass, editor and maker (along with others) of w + s, was writing a new poem for the occasion, as opening and invocation, and so I wrote to ask how did it go? and can I read the new poem? He sent it along and later gave me permission to post the poem here along with an excerpt from his email, all about the reading and party, and about last weekend in poetry, in general and in specific.

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Um, also: I often think and talk about what it means that the Bay Area doesn't have a Belladonna. As I was nabbing photos from facebook to post along with Dan's writing, and looking at all these great photos of women reading, I thought about how we do have a Dan Thomas-Glass and some others like Dan, who, as a matter of course, pay attention in zir editorial work to all sorts of biodiversity. Can I get a little what what here for Dan? Like the poem says, I really need somebody. Are you that somebody. We all of we need more more of you.

Here is the poem Dan read at the beginning of the reading a week ago:

Insist: from Latin insistere ‘persist,’ from in- ‘upon’ + sistere ‘stand.’
(Are You That Somebody remix)

I insist
We insist
We insist we are here doors open
We are here reading
Going through the doors
Say yes or say no
Architecture of lungs expanding
We are here bodies near bodies together
I really need somebody

I insist
We insist
We insist this is possible
That the dichotomy between the individual and the group is basically a false one
This bodies together doors open
One of these days
Bodies lighting on galleries on benches on walls on money
Bodies here reading we invite you in bodies hyphenated & broken
Bodies carrying bodies
We invite you in here together reading
I don’t know if that’s good
We invite you in trains & ancestors & steel mills & bodies dead or working
We invite you in

I insist
We insist
We insist here the tracks stretch back as bodies touching bodies West Berkeley
History stretching back to Ocean View touching piling capital on capital
1860s 69 farmworkers 1880s Spenger’s fries fish
Is it my goal is it your goal?
Jacob’s Wharf the Pioneer Starch and Grist Mill 1855
Boy I gotta watch my body
Transcontinental manifest ‘America’ sea to shining
Secretary of War reports on several railroad explorations 1855
But this road does not lead directly to San Francisco
Shoreline Railroad 1876 gas mains 1877
1878 Ocean View incorporates into Berkeley
because both feared being annexed by Oakland
Fears of bodies bent to stretch steel marks of moments trees in the passage
We invite you in here reading trees like tracks mark passes
I probably shouldn’t tell it
The rope against our bark skin doors open we invite you in ancestors
Roped or tracked
Bodies burning bodies
Bodies moving bodies
Bodies loving bodies
Bodies carrying bodies histories
We invite you in doors open

I insist
We insist
We insist these are our bodies bent & working
These are our bodies dividing & dying
These are our bodies carrying bodies
These are our bodies these words this moment
These are our bodies poets orators singers musicians
I’m not just anybody
Bodies histories chains tracks ropes passages we invite you in
Ancestors trees trains mills we invite you in we breathe
You can’t tell nobody. I’m talking about nobody.
What is our new brood as we wheel about in darkness?
What do we prove & define?

I insist
We insist
We are here reading bodies bent to bodies histories doors open.
We are here ritual of breathing bent to exhale.
I really need somebody. Tell me are you that somebody.

I insist
We insist

               (Monica Peck, Erica Lewis, Jack Frost, Lauren Levin)

And here is Dan's report, that is, a pagraph from the email Dan sent before I realized I was going to ask if I could post an excerpt here:

"The reading was great—the space at Zughaus was awesome, welcoming and cozy but with plenty of room to spread out, watch the steel mill, talk. There were probably 50-60 people, somewhere in that range? There will be pictures up on FB soon—I'll post a note. The readings were aMAZing. Some highlights for me (cuz new readers to me, largely—) were Monica Peck (hilarious! best line, aside while reading about hair-combing and her grandfather—"wow, this is really confessional. I feel like I'm in the 70s") and Meg Day, whose mastery of phrases like 'glottal stop' in her poem swirling around deaf/asl poetics, was pretty breathtaking. Lauren Levin was great too, and Lara Durback, and Brian Ang—I mean, it was just rad. So many different approaches. Erin Wilson's quiet poems with a recurring "you you" address—I walked with you you etc.—alongside Jack Frost's Kazuo Ono obits, tied in bundles of floppy disks w pics of Ono on the reverse, a very big gestural work, not loud but kind of loud. It's just so cool to see all these ways of thinking in conversation with each other. An instantiation of the community that makes the work so meaningful. Then the next night, at David Brazil and Sara Larsen's A Muse Meant series, the contrast of Jennifer Karmin's (out from Chicago for the W+S event) aaaaaaaaaaalice project (which David, myself, Konrad Steiner, Gloria Frym (sp?), Hugh Behm-Steinberg, and Dana Teen Lomax helped perform as a kind of rotating chorus)—super big, bordering on poet's theater—set against David Meltzer's wry approach sitting in the corner (the gut-level importance of poetry-as-life, seeing an elder in all his elderliness), new issue of TRY, then the crowd back at chez Larsen/Brazil for drinks—it was a weekend for really appreciating where and who we are, whoever and wherever we are."

              (Meg Day, Brian Ang, Erin Wilson, Lara Durback , Barbara Claire Freeman, Jennifer Karmin)