Monday, November 18, 2013, 6:30 pm
535 West 22nd Street, 5th Floor
New York City
Ron Padgett was born in 1942 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His poetry books include How to Be Perfect (Coffee House Press, 2008); You Never Know (Coffee House Press, 2002); Great Balls of Fire (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1969; rev. ed., Coffee House Press, 1990); His Collected Poems is forthcoming from Coffee House Press in November 2013. His most recent translation, with Wang Ping, is Flash Cards by Yu Jian (Zephyr Press, 2010). In 2012, Padgett edited The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard for the Library of America, and his collection of poems, How Long(Coffee House Press, 2011), was a 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Padgett lives in New York City.
Whenever someone says
“He wants to have his cake
and eat it too” I know
what they mean
but wonder how someone
could eat their cake
without first having it.
Would it not be better
to say “He wants to eat
his cake and have it too”?
I think so, and I hope
that you will too.
Thomas Devaney was born in 1969 in Philadelphia, PA. He is a poet, teacher, and editor. He is the author of The Picture That Remains (The Print Center of Philadelphia, 2013); A Series of Small Boxes (Fish Drum, 2007); The American Pragmatist Fell in Love (Banshee Press, 1999); and the nonfiction book Letters to Ernesto Neto (Germ Folios, 2005). He is the editor of ONandOnScreen, an e-journal featuring poems and videos, and teaches at Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania. He lives in Philadelphia, PA.
Diary found in a darkroom at Moore Women’s College of Art,
Tuesday September 19th
The fresh air will kill you.
Tuesday Sept 26th
The radio in the next room tuned to a classical music station
Tuesday Oct 2nd
Eskimo headgear in the Museum.
At Shelley’s drug-store kids rode up on their bikes and handlebars.
Tuesday Oct 9th
Fell asleep on bed while smoking, woke up to smoke everywhere,
ran outside with the smoldering navy comforter.
Tuesday Oct 16th
A piece of scrap paper found in my pocket: “But there is still time
to save the lives of your children” written in pencil.
My legs are dolphins that cut across the surf.
Tuesday Nov 2nd
Awake again: sleep, dream, the Andy William show, drink.
Some people came in wearing trench coats.
Tuesday Nov 9th
Susan said it’s forbidden for our pictures to echo
the objects they depict; nothing looks like that,
she said, but it’s allowed, it’s allowed
for the world to look the way it does.
Fine words those.
Tues Nov 16th
One more night, still here.
Tuesday Nov 23rd
Some nights you skip.
Tuesday Nov 30th
Cold Sunday afternoon grandmother’s block in Orange NJ: the
smooth slate pavements where I rollerskated as a kid are all broken
up by the massive roots of the old red oaks. Took many photographs.
The many sides of the sidewalk.
Tuesday Dec 6th
The tunnel leads to probably the deadest area in the city.
playing St. Thomas.
We are not found out.
Only Debbie’s dog Trixie and me
dancing the Calypso.
The rhythm and tune and Trixie’s large bright eyes.
She’s no dummy only a perfect patch-work
of black & white & brown.
Take a solo—upright bass tenor sax & drums.
No that’s not a real solo—that’s the bass, high hat
& Trixie—Saint Trixie herself!
Tuesday Dec 13th
Prints are not reproductions. Susan said this is a mistaken idea.
What you’re looking at is a photograph: how something looks there.
After class Lara said: “There are many good reasons not to quote
Julius Caesar. That is all I will say,” she said.
Glamour: a starlet in an Alp’s ski town.
It doesn’t just happen in novels; it doesn’t just happen in the movies.
“It's theater for somebody, somewhere.” And It loved to happen in
every diary I’ve ever read. Like Marcus Aureoles always said:
Be not too eager & Who needs speed? Thanks for the book Dad!
Two or three hundred color snapshots on the bathroom wall.
Flawless Sabrina through the door—
“No saints in three acts,” she declares.
On your mark, get set, pull back—
Jack D’s electrical tape face lift.
Two more Moore Menthols for the tall lady in the livingroom,
the top few buttons of her purple dress open, her hairy chest, beautiful.
She’s been getting a blow job for the past fifteen mins.
DD (who took me here to meet Jack) was checking around on the plants;
now he’s at the fireplace making (and partly burning) Jiffy Pop
buttered popcorn as it erupts through the tin-foil—
Peter Hujar’s reclining portrait of May Wilson: a photographic
Matisse—the color of the arabesque only richer in the silver print
I want to love in that world.
From the time I was twelve I wanted to marry Van Morrison.
What a jerk.
Avedon and Baldwin’s disturbing and gorgeous Nothing Personal.
(The black glossiness of the black borders). That we are all custodians
of something more—every face an argument against cultural suicide,
and suicide itself.
Vinegar, Mayo, Hardboiled Eggs. No Thanks.
A picture postcard from Ingrid:
Her light sail-boat penmanship on the back.
Steel Pier Atlantic City in soft watercolors on the front.
The watercolors are the color of water taffies.
Someone said that they made up all those flavors down there,
but it’s a lie, a beautiful lie.