performance piece by Laura Kochman

Last night I went to a few different First Friday art shows, several of which took place inside a converted warehouse, floor to floor, room to room. It was like walking through an experimental lit journal. There was a performance piece with pudding and pickles, a miniature wall that had not been built, a down vest pinned to the wall behind plexiglass.

It was hot and moist. One of the curators asked me what kind of artist I was, and I said a writer. I thought about the perfomances of self taking place all through the thick hallways, and that repeated ritual in places like this. Who are you? What art form? Can I say I have been practicing exfoliation? Pinned to the bathroom wall, exfoliating, behind a slab of glass.

by Laura Kochman

I am worn out from all this visiting and walking and talking. Yesterday, I got incredibly worked up about something unrelated and had about an hour of loud, nauseous tears, but I can't help feeling like I wouldn't have been so upset if I hadn't been so tired. I am the most vulnerable to my own neuroses when I am worn down like I am now. I was so upset, in fact, that I forgot I got another acceptance yesterday. I have never gotten back-to-back acceptances like that. And my parents, who(m?) I love a lot, are here with me, and I am feeling a little more at home in my new home every day. Also my couch doesn't smell of cat pee anymore, and I ate a lot of pickled mussels tonight. I have to tell myself that Okay, self, you can be upset about the things that make you deeply sad, but you also have to be happy about the good things.

As Dottie from This Is My Life would say, Girls, this is a Life Lesson.


I cannot tell you how many times I've seen that horrible film.

summertime, and the living is easy and bitten by Laura Kochman

I should probably be honest--I'm not entirely sure if I have seventy-two mosquito bites. I MIGHT have that many, except I'm too afraid to count them. Every other day, I garden, and I come home with at least 10-15 new bites on each leg (and a couple more on each arm. mosquitos do not seem to like my arms? I wish I could make the rest of me somehow like my arms. Or one giant arm). Rest assured, though, I have many mosquito bites. More than you. Today was sleeping in and spooning the cat and cinnamon raisin bagels with cream cheese and driving to the lake and scaring away the snakes and floating on noodles and eating carrots and crackers in the shade. We even talked about fried pickles on the way home, which is not as good as real fried pickles, but better than nothing.

Up next is a couple hours of card games and then barbecue with boyfriend and then board games and watermelon cake.

I'm just going to ignore the creeping anxiety about my DJ set email being ignored. It's not like the radio show isn't tomorrow or anything.

tear it down, build it up by Laura Kochman

The last time I kept a blog, it was a travel blog. I went places, and then I wrote about them, with pictures, and I never really wrote about myself. The places seemed more interesting. It's still there, at http://laurakochman.blogspot.com/ and I can't access it anymore, so read it if you'd like and then don't tell me about it because I'm embarrassed by my youth.

It's May 23rd, and this summer I'm reading / writing / gardening / watching The Wire, though not in that order. I have eight tomato plants, two red peppers, two different kinds of okra, two different kinds of watermelon, basil, oregano, an orchid, a Wandering Jew, and a toothless cat to take care of. I have a book manuscript and a chapbook manuscript to finish, and a poetry submissions log to tend (not to mention the impending contest submission queue!). I'm about to start DJing a radio show. We're putting the finishing touches on my first [editorial] issue of BWR. I'm officially halfway through my Masters program at the University of Alabama. I have plans to build a coffee table and finally hang my giant collection of broadsides.

I'm about to move house, to leave this little brick duplex I've lived in for two years, to live by myself for the first time. I've never been any good at leaving a place behind [See: the poetry I've been writing for the past two years, full of abandoned and rented houses, questions of home and belonging and longing]. It turns out it runs in the family, because my dad's been updating me on the sale of my grandmother's house in Philadelphia, a house she's lived in since 1953. Next to go is the beach house in Margate, part of a composite house that is the center of my book manuscript. Truthfully, it's the house as it was, the people as they were, that I miss, but houses contain those things. Others: Bubbe's various rental houses in Ventnor, NJ, the house on Disston Street in Philadelphia where my mother grew up, the house on Large Street where my aunt used to live.

They're still there, but other people inhabit them. The Margate house will probably be torn down, and so will my little brick duplex in Tuscaloosa. So they live in poems, little brick houses, and this little brick blog. It's a kind of preservation--pickling the summertime for future use. I do love a mixed metaphor.