Before the crush

I got into my reserved seat at last night’s Pathetic Literature reading, and by the time everything was set to begin I looked around only to see that HOWL!Happening was crammed full of people. Later Jorge told me that he had skipped it because the line was out the door and down the block. I didn’t anticipate it, but of course i should have: the line up was all killer, so much so that I felt very grateful to have made the list. It was night one of the celebration of Eileen Myles’s new anthology and as the evening flowed, I began flashing back through the decades to earlier times in my life, not only because I was there to read a section of Kevin Killian’s Bedrooms Have Windows, but because so many of the other readers were folks I had idolized or flirted with knowing mentally through my years in New York and San Francisco. I want to talk about how the writing makes me feel, the reawakening of how gathering people together seems solid, how it feels to be a part of a group of people being present for each other. Our varied interiorities asserting the importance of our own flops and fetishes. The way we narrate to call something into being, a spirit of communion not born of triumph, but of humane attempt.

I didn’t know how hungry I’ve been to hear about people fucking and fucking up, to laugh and to read. To be part of what Chip Delaney called nets of information as opposed to chains. To feel the little shocks pass through the net and and to rest in words and smiles in a way that felt so different from online interaction. There were people there , from high school, from college, from the 70’s 80’s 90’s, from the 00’s the 10’s from the last few weeks. Around the readers and listeners there was a timeline of New York graffiti culture, another kind of writing and claim staking. “I know this place, I thought, I know these people. And those I don’t yet know I want to know”. A good anthology calls it all forth , like a good piece of curating does; It plants a sign and makes a home. I felt inside and fed. Afterwards I didn’t want the connection to end, so I walked up to St, Marks, passing the corpse of Gem Spa and went to Mamoun’s for shawarma and more memories. I hope I did right by Kevin, right by it all.

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