This is the fourth annual Speech is Not Free event. The first event took place in Los Angeles, then the second and third at the Henry Miller Memorial Library and now we join forces with Howl! Happening to present an evening of writing dedicated to freedom of the press and against fascism. Readings feature the writings of the contributors to Ping-Pong Journal of art and literature and the authors of the publications from Ping-Pong Free Press and Poet Republik Ltd: Brenda Coultas, Joanna Fuhrman, Janet Hamill, Christine Hamm, Kate Lutzner, Jameson O’Hara Laurens, Shelley Marlow, Eleni Sikelianos, Pamela Sneed, J. Hope Stein, and Maria Garcia Teutsch.
As Editor-in-Chief of Ping-Pong journal of art and literature, and longtime president of the board of the Henry Miller Memorial Library, Maria Garcia Teutsch, along with editor Christine Hamm and others, published writing and art in the spirit of Henry Miller, who championed the disregarded, the liminal, and the censored, and who, above all, wanted to bring into the light writing and literature that troubled the elite. Teutsch founded Ping-Pong Free Press to further the work done by Ping-Pong journal in the hopes of upending the literary world’s expectations and expose readers to a wider, stranger universe. Teutsch says, “my association with Ping-Pong Journal is something I am incredibly proud of. Through this publication the Library has in turn supported hundreds and hundreds of poets, writers, artists and photographers through its pages. These writers are part of varied communities: LGBTQ, people of color, and the under-represented—some of whom would never have found a voice in the mainstream, like Henry Miller, like Anaïs Nin, like Arturo Vega.”
The Henry Miller Memorial Library has published the following titles by Ping-Pong Free Press: A Small Suitcase of Russian Poetry, EDS. Ilya Kaminsky and Katie Farris; Medeaum, by Jameson O’Hara Laurens; White Fire by Elliot Ruchowitz-Roberts; and the forthcoming, No Ledge Left to Love, by Dylan Krieger.
Poet Republik Ltd allows Maria Garcia Teutsch and Christine Hamm to further the work started with Ping-Pong Free Press without any fetters. The press is dedicated to writers, artists, and thinkers. We are interested in eco-poetics, feminist elegies, two-headed wolf poems and a variety of anti-authoritarian and/or anarchist ideologies and other such wonderment. Mostly we are committed to publishing the best of what’s out there, regardless of what form it takes: poetry, prose, manifestos. We are based in California, Brooklyn and Berlin. We don’t think a world series should only have two countries involved and keep that name. We like a worldview that includes perspectives other than our own. We have published two titles: Occasionally, I Remove Your Brain Through Your Nose by J. Hope Stein; Invitation to a Rescue, by Kate Lutzner; and the forthcoming Sylvia Plath anthology: Like a Fat Gold Watch, and in 2018 we will publish poetry collections by Gaby Garcia, Mark Lamoureux and French artist Jean-Noel Chazelle.
Occasionally, I remove your brain through your nose
Sure, I’ve thought about fucking you in my desk chair, silently not to disturb the neatness of your yellow summer shorts. Silently, not to disturb our colleagues in surrounding cubicles. You putting small paperclips in my hair, your hands suggesting the rocking of my skull. Me straddling your lap, your bare ass in my desk chair, shapes suctioning into each other— We would continue to make the sounds of good business. A conference call with Coca-Cola, an email to Citibank, a spreadsheet of year-over-year gross profits. Me elevated in your lap, my face clearing just over the cubicle partition, just visible enough across the office, my expression dismembered like a poet who’s fallen out of favor with her king.
Among other reviews, Lena Dunham called Occasionally, I Remove Your Brain through Your Nose, “The perfect book of poems for the contemplative weirdo.”
I am at war with myself, all the cells
in my body gathering their weapons,
their fists. The doctor says there will
be a decline, to look for it, to give
myself over to it when the time comes.
I was used to suffering before words
formed on my tongue, my mouth
filled with a concern, the opposite
of empathy. Bits of grief build
like nodules in my throat, all
the devotion that will someday
form there threatening to dissolve
into need. Help me to express
all the uses of my being, to learn
what it means to live with this
urge, this right to nothing
but lending myself to others,
this right to be healed.
From Medeaum by Jameson O’Hara Laurens (Ping-Pong Free Press 2016)
In my back patch
blackberries coagulate through sticky skins
You can’t pick them without drawing blood.
Each year the house hidden at the far end in the bramble
slinks an inch farther away.
What is the opposite of an exile? An invile?
Sweeping the clay with her robes,
curing swaths of shorn grass
with a train of her grieving?
Not yet alive are the hills with their howling.
The sky scowls.
Three dogs told me in a dream.
A bird opened the Bosphorus for his crossing.
A bird flew into the house.
History about as light as a loadstone.
The soul of the proprietor is worn thin.
The partriarchs are dying off
but no one can pull the keys from their clutches,
rigor mortis crisps, & their
lips & gates smack shut.
I see them here outrunning
what they didn’t know still ran in their veins
Outrunning sleeves they forgot they were wearing
so long they spill over their limbs and to the ground.
Don’t try to affect airs.
Get out of my light.
From A Small Suitcase of Russian Poetry, EDS: Ilya Kaminsky and Katie Farris (Ping-Pong Free Press 2016)
To Kiss A Forehead is to Erase Worry
To kiss a forehead is to erase worry.
I kiss your forehead.
To kiss the eyes is to lift sleeplessness.
I kiss your eyes.
To kiss the lips is to drink water.
I kiss your lips.
To kiss a forehead is to erase memory.
I kiss your forehead.
From No Ledge Left to Love, by Dylan Krieger (Ping-Pong Free Press 2018)
again with the man. again with the why me? chromosome. again with the over-doubling of watery electrocharged molecules. one day, underground, vomiting up what i can’t understand. one day, below sea level, where i live now, prying my prosthetic limbs out of an alligator’s mouth. one day, to fellate a deity, i swallowed his whole lightning strike in one fell blow. one day, whether man or clone, i thought i would be better off this way, hiking my happy ass toward the primordial floodgates unfurled. pretty predictable the fickle godhead’s prick would kill me. pretty predictable he’d recreate me just to say he could do it, redoubled, again. again with the painfully postmodern thought, what makes a post-traumatic is an ought? again with the clone coming down from the clouds, the only is that matters now. again with the perennial recognition of wife and three children he has no reason to miss. again with the season for body-snatching ids and egos, all prototypes stripped, left for dead in the sand end to end
Dylan Krieger’s last book of poetry, Giving Godhead was called “the best book of the year” in the New York Times Book Review by Thomas Simmons.
for more on our author’s check out their features on Poet Republik: