reading at Zinc Bar this Sunday, May 16


fin de siecle reading at La Tazza in Philadelphia

On Sunday, May 16th, I’ll be reading at Zinc Bar in the East Village with the lovely Pattie McCarthy, whose new book, Table Alphabetical of Hard Words is now available from Apogee Press.

For nearly fifteen years, we have been mistaken for eachother in several cities, including at a reception following Pattie’s reading at the culmination of her MA at Temple in the late 90s (when someone complimented me on her reading), & at my own reading at Chapterhouse Cafe in Philadelphia this winter (when someone thanked her for my reading).  It is entirely possible that reading in the same place at the same time could cause some sort of tear in the space-time continuum.  Or maybe a tesseract.

You wouldn’t want to miss that.

Sunday, May 16, 2010
6:30pm – 9:00pm
Zinc Bar, 82 W 3rd St.

from “Red, Requiem”

The White Girl (floating poem)

Your undaughter is born during a thunderstorm
a hurricane a nor’easter at the ocean a pop-up
blizzard in late March & April is the cruelest
month & she is born during a full moon a blue
moon a hunter’s moon a harvest
moon & you name her something
mythological or  archetypal or Gaelic or after
your  favorite doll & she is called Ariadne or
Jane or Fionnoula or Blythe & you take her to
the museum the library the playground Paris
Coney Island the Four Seasons in maryjanes
starched eyelet for high tea & she wears pigtails
wears bangs wears striped tights wears knit
cardigans & she knits or paints or writes plays
or playacts & plays the cello the piano sings
in a choirloft sings around campfires at girl
scout camp sings at bonfires on the beach
at night under fireworks & she loves peanutbutter
pickles olives softshell crabs coffee icecream ice-
skating body-surfing Shakespeare & you sing to her
hush little all the pretty little horse & cart turn over
the ocean beyond the sea & read to her Little Red

Riding Hood Little Women Little House on the

Prairie Bridge to Terabithia Narnia & when you
send her into the deep dark woods you arm her you
armor her she has a knife in her basket a needle in her
basket a bottle of wine a loaf of bread a spool of thread
a silver bullet & still & yet & everafter.

Calypso Soup

Green Aisle Grocery, our neighborhood’s teeny but awesome boutique grocer (local milk in glass bottles; local produce, cheese, butter, meats, honey; things for which the twins go ga-ga, like quail eggs) carries Zursun Idaho Heirloom dried beans, which are really the cat’s pajamas. I’ve been working my way through the selection, & today’s sunshiney but chilly weather (after days of raw & rainy grey) seemed the perfect time to try out their Calypso beans.

Zursun Idaho Heirloom dried Calypso beans

The boys like that the beans resemble Orcas, & proclaimed it “Vegetarian Orca Soup.”  Cooked, the Calypso beans have a creamy, potato-y flavor & smooth texture. After rinsing & sorting 2 cups(ish) of the dried beans overnight (covered by a few inches of water), drain the beans & get on with the base of the soup:

Saute 4 chopped onions in a big pot (this is where the cast iron dutch oven comes out) in several glugs of olive oil. Throw in 4-5 chopped celery stalks, a few chopped carrots, 3-4 chopped red bell peppers, a cup or so of frozen corn kernels (Trader Joe’s has great frozen roasted corn, which works perfectly here), as much crushed & chopped garlic as you like (in this case, a whole head, because garlic is your friend). Salt as you go, a bit at a time, to help the vegetables sweat off their juices. Throw in a bay leaf or two (just remember to remove before serving), a tablespoon or two of ground cumin, a dash of cayenne pepper, some crushed oregano. When everything is slightly soft & the onions are translucent, add a can or box of chopped tomatoes with their juices. Add the beans, & enough water to cover by an inch. Turn up the heat, bring it all to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for an hour or two, uncovered, until the beans have gone all velvety, adjusting spices to taste, just enough heat to leave a little throat-tickle.  Not as heavy as chili — brighter, lighter, but still brings the heat.  Serve with cornbread or tortilla chips.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This is Caleb’s favorite breakfast/lunch/snack, toasted or not & drizzled with honey.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Bread

1 1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons brown sugar or honey

Combine the milk & honey. Heat to very warm but not hot (too cold & the yeast beasties will not activate, too hot & you’ll kill them). Dissolve 1 Tbsp yeast in the warm, sweet milk & set aside to proof.

Meanwhile, whisk together in a mixing bowl:

2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats (old-fashioned oats, not quick-cook or steel-cut)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten

When yeast has begun to bloom & foam, add liquid ingredients & 2 Tbsp soft unsalted butter to dry ingredients, & mix to combine. When it has formed a shaggy dough-batter, stir in 1 cup raisins. At this point, let the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer do its thing (or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface) for 5-7 minutes. If the dough is too wet, add more flour, 1/8 cup at a time & combining completely before you add more, so you don’t over-do & end up too dry. If you’re in the stand mixer, now it’s time to tip out onto a floured surface & knead by hand for a few minutes more until the dough feels properly springy & elastic. Smear the dough ball with soft unsalted butter to coat, put in mixing bowl & cover with a dish towel — let rise an hour or two someplace warm (or overnight somewhere cool) until doubled in size.

Tip out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface, punch down & knead a few minutes, then shape dough into desired form — round, oblong, loaf. Place dough on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with towel, & set on top of the stove to rise for about an hour or so while the oven pre-heats to 350. When the loaf has puffed up & nearly doubled in size, score lightly with a serrated knife, making slits just 1/4 inch deep — parallel lines on an oblong loaf, tic-tac-toe on a round one. Brush lightly with egg white, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar (I used turbinado “sugar in the raw” because that’s what we use for coffee), & bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes. The bread is done when you lift it (again, use a towel, it’s hot) off the baking sheet & knock on the bottom & it sounds hollow.

Let cool on a baking rack. Serve sliced & slathered with butter or drizzled with honey. Makes the loveliest toast ever. Also delicious for sandwiches.

from “Red, Requiem”


One leg laced & one
leg braced & seethingly
fragile, I’ll take the path
of needles
any day.

Stupid children take toys
to the woods, get lost
there all the time, like this
needle, this needle sings, this
needle would send any poor devil
to his fate.

Needles & feathers from
certain unnamed
flightless birds. There are
peacocks on the walls &
all we need
is some thunder
& lightning.

Boom. (Flash),

from “Red, Requiem”


To be in the mist, to
be mist or missed, I
am a cautionary
miss, cautionary tale, red
ribbon in my hair, I feed
on mist as light as air.

Hazy & no-color, as if
only half-there— as if still
in the process of becoming
— abandoned
playground in the heart
of the forest, broken &
lost, like most things
in our forest, like most
things are, mostly broken
toys, & rusty, but some still
work a bit & a bit
of fun to sit on a squeaky
swing in the middle of a silent
forest. Strangely soothing
the squeak singing through
the mist & dark, soft scream
sung squeak escaping
a balloon.

If this balloon
didn’t have a string it would
simply float away, I’ve got no
on me.

Whenever I get to her
house, it’s dark, no matter what
the season or how early I leave
home or how long
it takes me, it’s night
when I arrive & all
mist & strange. Shiver
in my bones.