Experience is a currency worthwhile. From getting illegally searched and arrested in Arkansas, to setting up the bookstore on Frenchman Street in New Orleans with Cajun
feasts, we’ve been battered and raised. The destinations, monetary opportunities (if they existed), the shows and gains, these don’t elicit a sense of fulfillment.
It comes down to the process, having the opportunity to inspire ourselves and others.”
from “To Health & Art with N!P” in Boog City, #106
[ New Orleans to Yonkers ]
I sometimes validate myself with mileage, the ability to kill long distances in short periods of time. This usually comes about out of a mixture of procrastination & unexpected stumbles knocking us delays.
This trip, we kicked off a day earlier than planned, & the foresight closed us out with 12 hrs to spare before our gig in Brooklyn, the 3rd “d.a. levy-palooza,” a festival curated by East Village magazine Boog City.
A night in New Orleans may have been the unexpected stumble. Or rural Pennsylvania.
The following stumble, after experiencing the harsh mistress of New Orleans digging an 8inch heel into our necks, we peeled smiles like boredom, getting close to our destination.
Motion on the road is process. You are entirely embalmed in an in-between. The constant come ups & downs, yeah?
It’s difficult to let go of the final product, something I’ve been trying to practice in my writing. It was easier back when I didn’t give a shit what any of you thought of me.
In a society where we are raised to place our bets on the outcome, learning to love the process requires unlearning. There is no outcome. It’s all highway. Then all sidewalk.
Brushing off the hangover, we left New Orleans and night wrapped over us in Mississippi. We hadn’t headed this far East since last year’s NYC Poetry Festival.
The sun rose over Tennessee. Up & down, thru Virginia, Maryland, till pulling over in.
A joke about how we were living a cliche horror film, one like “Cabin in the Woods”, where we make a mockery of horror & die thru the process. Silent Hill was wrangled into the joke.
“Oi, we’re maybe an hr from Centralia,” I said.
That’s one reason I love the road. As simple as that, we decided to go explore the city Silent Hill is based on.
We arrived, wandered, & dipped. Process.
2767 miles after Tucson, we pulled into Yonkers, midnight clicking with the rhythm of a wheel bearing preparing to give out. We cracked quiet wine to celebrate & slept. Waking early, slamming caffiene, we headed into the Bronx & caught the subway. My socks sopped wet.
New Orleans had ripped the bottom of my shoes away asking, “hey now, why you ignoring your mother? You can’t walk out of the rain.”
“We’re actually inside the Earth!” Sarah Certa said during her set.
Rain had shoved the celebration underneath Unnameable Books. The basement show was lit with tube lights. Used books lined the walls.
The show celebrated three renegade presses from outside New York. Featuring alongside Nostrovia! was Nous-zot and Larks Books & Writing Studio. David Kirschenbaum, editor of Boog City, hosted the event, transitioning us between presses as we shared our poetry / music / passion.
Shout out to Christopher Morgan, co-manager of N!, who was unable to make it out to the gig, & to Joe Pan, who coordinated the printing of N!’s interview in Issue #106 of Boog City. Also to Chris Salas + Jennesy Herrera, our photographers for the event.
New Hampshire benevolence found us showers in the muggy summer. Saints of the desert traded meals for books. Santa Cruz dumpsters have filled our bellies. Work exchanges in Flagstaff landed us some gas money. Flying signs in Kansas City on Thanksgiving landed us a cold turkey feast for days. I’d crack jokes for smokes while we performed street poems, hip-hop, Sublime sing-alongs.
In Denver, I threw a kid spanging 50 cents. He saw us busking later, and threw us ½ a pizza someone had kicked him down.
On our second 2015 tour, in Santa Cruz, we lost our ride, and Christopher scooped up a friend and I from a parking lot where we were stuck with piles of books, everything fueling Books & Shovels…
We slept around Berkeley sidewalks for a bit, till luck couchsurfed us in San Francisco with a cat we met in City Lights. Adventures in-between led him to Tucson where we’re now roommates. This cat ended up giving us lodging thru to the show, and thanks to a loan from another homie, we were able to Greyhound with most of the books and our gear out East to the NYC Poetry Festival.
We’ve switched it up from couchsurfing, urban camping, rubber tramping—we roll with the situations as they arise. The pay-it-forward attitude has saved our asses, and
we work to keep that cycle rolling when we have the resources to.”
from “To Health & Art with N!P” in Boog City, #106
[ N! PERFORMERS & BIOS ]
Representing N! was poets Sarah Certa, coming out from Minnesota, / August Smith / Jeremiah Walton + hip-hop artist Neeko Ford.
Neeko Ford is a hip-hop artist from Tucson, Ariz. He kicked off with Nostrovia! in 2015, touring the West Coast with traveling bookstore Books & Shovels. He’s featured on stages from Tucson to the Bay, down thru New Orleans and up to the 2015 NYC Poetry Festival. His upcoming album Resonating Cycles will drop with Nostrovia! Press.
August Smith is the author of five chapbooks, including Bird Lizard Horse, which was published by Nostrovia! in 2015. He attends UMass Boston and delivers donuts in a van on weekends.
Sarah Certa is a poet & pscyheologist who studies evolutionary consciousness at quantumpsych.wordpress.com. She is the author of several chapbooks, including “Juliet II”, a winner of Nostrovia!’s 2015 Chapbook Contest, as well as the full-length poetry collection “Nothing To Do with Me” (University of Hell Press, 2015). Her second full-length collection, a poetry memoir of the psyche as it heals dis-order, was one of the recent winners of the Civil Coping Mechanisms Mainline Contest & will be published in 2017.
**Sarah interviewed N!P for Boog City
Jeremiah Walton is a 21 y/o poet from New Hampshire who has been bopping around the country the past two years. He featured at the NYC Poetry Festival, Snoetry, Beast Crawl, and the San Francisco Lit Crawl. He is founder of traveling pop-up bookstore Books & Shovels and small press Nostrovia!. Jeremiah externalizes to survive, and functions best in consistent crisis. He rambles to the moon when there’s no wax.
We’re now in New Hampshire, recuperating from the distance, going over the details, & preparing for an unexpected long-shot to Detroit / Minneapolis / Glacier National Park / Seattle / Portland / the Redwoods / & following the West Coast South to our home out in the desert.
It’s been one hell of a ride, & is continuing to prove to be. Thank you for your support as we bumble our way across the country. Cheers!
PS : Shout out to Unnameable Books for stocking N!’s 2015 Chapbook Contest winners!