Monday, April 7, 2014, 6:30 pm
535 West 22nd Street, 5th Floor
New York City
David Trinidad’s most recent books are Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera (2013) and Dear Prudence: New and Selected Poems (2011). He lives and works in Chicago, where he teaches creative writing at Columbia College.
from "℅ Peter Drake"
I’ve decided being
new in New York
is a permanent frame
of mind. It’s been
a year already &
I still don’t feel
too fast—a slash of
green, then yellow
paint; a gray, rain-
slick blur. Horns
honk, the subway
The crowd pushes
past a homeless soul
in a soiled sleeping
bag in the middle
of the sidewalk. A
bald man in a hos-
pital gown stands
on the corner of the
next block, scream-
ing. I just want to sit
somewhere & smoke
a cigarette & think.
Everyone says it takes
at least two years . . .
Will I ever get used
to winter? I don’t like
how hats mess up
my hair, can’t stand
cold air on my neck.
Joan says the secret
to keeping warm is
to wear layers. Paul
advises me to mois-
turize. (Because his
face is heavily lined?)
Tim sends me a Christ-
mas card (with angels).
When I graduate, will
I move back to L.A.?
A fifth-floor walkup at 249 East Second Street
where Houston & Second, running parallel,
come to a point at Avenue C,
sublet (illegally) from artist Peter Drake
while he’s on a yearlong residency in Germany.
A tiny closet of an apartment, all white,
with two windows that face a defunct theater
turned (illegal) nightclub called The World.
Through a hole in the floor near the radiator,
I hear the man in the apartment below
abuse his girlfriend. (Peter warned
me about this.) Next door there’s a gas station;
on the corner, a “bodega” (a New York word)
where I buy yogurt & muffins & Marlboro Lights.
Every month I mail a money order to the landlord
as if I were Peter Drake.
Hedda Nussbaum’s battered face &
Marla Hanson’s slashed face &
the assault & rape of the Central Park jogger
are all over the tabloids.
The pulsating beat of the disco across the street
makes it difficult to study or sleep.
I wear earplugs as I read the Romantics one semester,
the Victorians the next. “Where shall I learn to get
my peace again?” I underline (in pencil) in Keats.
In Arnold: “this strange disease of modern life . . .”
Shelley’s “To a Skylark” is a favorite: “Our sweetest
songs are those that tell of saddest thought.”
As is Coleridge’s “Frost at Midnight.”
I write papers on Byron’s “Darkness” & Tennyson’s Maud
& fall in love with Dorothy Wordsworth’s journals
(which Jimmy, fellow diary-lover, is happy to hear):
“God be thanked I want not society by a moonlight lake.”
Joanna Fuhrman is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Pageant (2009) and Moraine (2006), as well as the chapbook The Emotive Function (2011).
The best thing about this lipstick called Self-Pity is that you can wear it with both active wear and a couture chemise. Apply it slumped in your igloo with your panda bear oven mitts and/or regally in the powder room of the Silver Spoon Lounge. No one will care that you spent your teenagehood riding a leaf blower to the Model UN or that when you stagger to the window in your stacked claw heels, you resemble an elderly palm tree, swayed by millennial breeze.