Ideas for Reading Tonight

Oxford pals: I’m reading at Off Square Books at 5 tonight. Still trying to figure things out.

Ideas for reading:
1) wear “lucky” shoes
2) read a Michael Madsen poem to start
3) show them all my inventions
4) use the phrase “boner pies” at least five times
5) make a “connection” with other people who are dead inside
6) bring a small bag of garbage and go through it on stage
7) pretend my book is really heavy
8) lift everything around me that is kind of heavy
9) try to hide gas by making siren noises
10) get “whacked” on coffee
11) touch tongues with old guy in front row
12) talk about total loss of faith in God


Death in the World

I’m reading tomorrow at Off Square Books in Oxford. Signing starts at 5, reading at 5:30. I won’t go long and then we can head to the bar and get hammered flat as elephant shit. Folks who aren’t in Oxford: You can also get Death Don’t Have No Mercy online via Square Books.

Thanks to Lori Jakiela for inviting me to read at the Pitt-Greensburg Writers Festival and to Lori and Dave Newman for setting up the East End Book Exchange event. I had the best damn time. Hung out with and met some great folks and was honored as hell to read with Stewart O’Nan, Lori, Dave, and Bob Pajich. I’m sure folks had a swell time at AWP, but I was really glad to be in Pittsburgh with new pals.

Also, Record Store Day is Saturday. We’ve got a lot of great stuff going on at The End of All Music (where I work part-time). Don’t miss it.


The City

1. I’m reading in Brooklyn on Friday, January 3rd. 5 PM at Boulevard Books & Café in Dyker Heights. If you’re around, come on out. Here’s the Facebook page for the event.


2. Gravesend is now available on Kindle.

3. Orhan Pamuk wrote this great piece on C.P. Cavafy in The New York Times Sunday Book Review. Cavafy’s “The City,” included in full here, is one of my favorite poems – the last few lines serve as the epigraph to Gravesend.

“The City” by C. P. Cavafy

You said: “I’ll go to another country, go to another shore,
find another city better than this one.
Whatever I try to do is fated to turn out wrong
and my heart lies buried as though it were something dead.
How long can I let my mind moulder in this place?
Wherever I turn, wherever I happen to look,
I see the black ruins of my life, here,
where I’ve spent so many years, wasted them, destroyed them totally.”

You won’t find a new country, won’t find another shore.
This city will always pursue you. You will walk
the same streets, grow old in the same neighborhoods,
will turn gray in these same houses.
You will always end up in this city. Don’t hope for things elsewhere:
there is no ship for you, there is no road.
As you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner,
you’ve destroyed it everywhere else in the world.

Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.
From C. P. Cavafy’s Collected Poems (Princeton University, 1992).

4. Here’s my soundtrack for the holidays (off one of my favorite records of the year):