Dust Storm Hindsight
This year’s tour has been gravel down a tin roof. Wait, that’s rain! No, that’s rust!
That’s a locked door. There’s a smile tripping this stumble. Here’s a lock pick. Here’s a shot. Here’s a rolled back odometer. Here’s a shady wrench. Here’s a lawnmower spitting snake guts.
I’m writing to ya’ll from Denver. We’re kicking about here thru the 9th for This Lil Lit Fest coordinated by Ctch Bsnss of Witch Craft Magazine. The lines ups are dope, writers & poets coming out to represent Nostrovia!, Witch Craft, Spy Kids Review, & Bottlecap Press.
About a 1/3 thru 2016’s tour, & it’s been a hell of a process getting even this far.
A wriggling, sweaty bolus of 4,718 miles unraveling.
Grim & Damp
We made it thru our 2015 tours w/ a 92 Camry Stationwagon named Grim. Our April (2016) venture to Brooklyn for a gig w/ Boog City’s “d.a. levy-palooza” + Detroit’s whirwind smogs + the pressure of delivery driving did her in come early July. Wheezing between gears & hacking up black gunk, she keeled over on the side of the road with black smoke & bites before the rattle.
With three weeks till the tour’s kick off at the NYC Poetry Festival, there was some obligatory cliche moonlighting as heavy drinking and obsessive Craigslist browsing for a new ride. We found a 2003 Town & Country.
Meet Damp, a hyper-masculine, misfiring, stubborn mothafucker.
Intending to sell/scrap Grim for parts, we kept her outside our place, parking an unnamed Damp next to her for introduction. They didn’t say much at first, at least when other ears where about.
A couple days past, & my sunrise cigarettes & I started catching Damp bullying Grim, ridiculing her age. Damp’s cockiness was pulled back & cranked as the days past. At night you’d hear Damp sobbing curses over his sunbaked blue & horrible reputation, cursing his fathers’ inclinations to cheapskate quality for good ol’ American patriotism.
Listen To Your Gut
There were a lot of external assurances that Damp would be a good buy. My gut said otherwise, but quick dice repressed the lil internal squeals, & Damp was driven home. The quicker we got a car, the slower we could cross the country, making $ as we go, & dragging the debts acquired to purchase the car (I am grateful it is to a homie, not an institution) to the surface to begin paying back sooner than later.
Rationalize, rationalize, open your eyes & pay attention buddy, you’re moving too quick to actually be paying attention to what you’re doing.”
Damp got along with the mechanic. His prior owners had cleaned his guts of oil. Not a speck. All of Damp’s gaskets were clear. No rust scarring up the body. Not a single diddly-doo misfire yet.
Yippee, we found that one mint diamond buried in manure graveyard that is Chrysler!”
The honeymoon phase died quick into roadside arguments & mechanical therapy.
Without much choice, we did what we could, & rolled the die again. The clockworks churned ugly.
Well Damp, if this is how it’s going to be, we’re going to ride this relationship till it wrecks.”
The car troubles & economic issues & all that jazz isn’t what’s relevant immediately though. These problems are consistent & persistent. The road doesn’t have mercy on destinations. It’s the circus of in-betweens made tangible with mileage.
So let’s move on.
Hapgood/Eric/& I gas jugged the distance from Tucson to Manchester (NH) in ~3 days & change.
Maps messed us around thru New Mexico, scratching the state w/ an extensive “Z” like formation that sucked our gas tank & Damp into his initial misfire tantrums that’d persist thru the next 3000 miles & back.
We stopped outside Albuquerque & jugged a horde of middle-aged goths & punks returning from an even older mohawk-icon. They mobbed a Circle K & homie Eric played the guitar while Hapgood & I belched lyrics over a sign reading “need gas to NYC.” We played & danced lil circles to the cops moved us along.
We pulled out of the lot w/ our tank 1/2 full, looking for a nearby Pilot or Flying J to fill up.
This pattern was followed across the country (minus Oklahoma, where we avoided jugging).
Hap Staff & His Rats
It’s always surreal returning to NH. Seeing what we’ve left behind. Where we’ve grown from. Ignorances we’ve shed. Faces we’ve worn. Remnants of forts. Walking paths that no longer lead home.
We’re grateful to have gotten the hell out of this state.
Hapgood stayed behind w/ family, & before Eric & I dipped, he blessed Damp for luck.
Oi ! Here’s the full tour :
Tucson/New Hampshire/New York City/Denver/Tucson (Eric dips & my partner, Sid, leaps on w/ N! for the first time)/New Orleans busking & neon & sax & sex & colors & feasts & bones pulling you to dance/thru Southern mugs/up the concrete slope of the East Coast/Boston’s winding bricks/Burlington forest/Detroit’s smoke & steel/unkown Seattle/coagulated Bay/Pacific chased downdowndown/& desert hearts rest
&, with little peace, Damp is going to die somewhere in-between.
We’re either going to meet a ‘patron saint of wherever Damp’s death may be’, & use their tools to repair the vehicle ourselves, or scrap the van, downsize, & hitchhike out the rest of the trip.
We might be making things more difficult than they need to be. We’ll see.
“Ohh, New York, Ohhhh New York, Sing For Me“
Nostrovia!‘s 4th round at the NYC Poetry Festival successfully debuted 2016’s Chapbook Contest winners;
- Bob Sykora’s “I Was Talking About Love—You Are Talking About Geography“
- Emily O’Neill’s “Make a Fist & Tongue the Knuckles“
- Elle Nash’s “I Can Remember the Meaning of Every Tarot Card But I Can’t Remember What I Texted You Last Night”
From a disgruntled ex-publisher I’d cut ties with last year, we received threats of fire & brimstone towards the traveling bookstore. We had to man the stand with a metal bat, just in-case. Everything was riding on how the gig rolled.
The cat ended up being more bark than bite, & we are grateful for this.
& believe it or not, Books & Shovelscovered that gambled rent for the month.
What? $$ outta poetry & literature??
We’re not ahead of the game, but we’re damn far from being out of it.
NOTE : Kinda cliche, you can do better as a writer to express confidence…
Shout out to Michael Ganjehlou + Jennesy Herrera for their support in NYC & making this year’s festival feasible. & to Bob Sykora, for making it out to feature w/ N! <33
To Kansas City, To Denver, To Tucson
This chapter is still being lived.