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A Reading at Wyld Chyld: Long Island Welcomes Me Back   Leave a comment

I’ve read in a lot of different places in my career. Bars, bookstores, bakeries, all have been subjected to my literary genius at one time or another. But until the lovely and amusing Peter Dugan invited me to come on down to Long Island and read at the Wyld Chyld, I’d never read in a tattoo parlor before.

Helen R. Peterson reads her poetry at Wyld Chyld

Reading to the crowd at Wyld Chyld

Wyld Chyld is part tattoo parlor, part café, divided down the middle so the whir of the needles doesn’t disturb. Located in Merrick NY, it offers a unique intimate setting for a reading. I was the first to read, something I don’t usually like to do, as I like to riff off of what others present when deciding what to perform. But, in the end, it almost seemed as if the open mic readers had read my mind, bringing poetry that had similar themes and influences as mine did.

The other feature was Lloyd Abrams, a local Long Island poet and former educator. His poetry was entertaining and thought-provoking. He and his wife were kind enough to invite me to spend the night at their place and not make the three-hour drive back to Connecticut, but I politely declined, as I had kids to get on the bus in the morning.

The Wyld Chyld crowd

Listening to Lloyd Abrams read while sipping my green tea.

I always enjoy traveling to Long Island, as the audiences are always welcoming and encouraging. That’s why I’ll be traveling down that way again this Friday, May 18th, to feature at George Wallace’s series at the Barn. This will probably be my last Long Island appearance before the big move to Michigan in late August, so if you’ve wanted to see me live, make a point to be there!

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Out of Our   Leave a comment

Homeless Hoarder

Image by richardmasoner via Flickr

Read the issue here

Out of Our is a great, gritty, print zine out of San Francisco that isn’t afraid of throwing a bit of its grit on the internet as well. In my publishing history I have it down as a 2009 credit, but I actually  had two poems in the January 2010 issue.

Both “The Collector” and “It’s All Over” are sad poems illustrating a sense of loss. The Collector has never had love, and so he fills his life with things, trash picked from the ground, to compensate for the lack of people in his life. Sadly, the more trash he collects, the more humanity avoids him.

“It’s All Over” was written while watching a couple eat together at the local casino. It was obvious that while they were together, they weren’t “together” any more. Both were in their own little worlds, avoiding contact with one another, barely speaking. At that point in my life, I was used to eating alone, and was deeply affected watching this deterioration. I vowed I would never again allow myself to be caught in such a relationship. Sadly, I have not been able to keep that vow.

Today, go people watching. Don’t try to write a poem or story as you people watch, just jot down short notes you can use later. Hypothesize about their lives, put yourself in their shoes. Create.

The Shine Journal   Leave a comment

Baby eating baby food (blended green beans)

Image via Wikipedia

http://www.theshinejournal.com/petersonhelen.htm

The Shine Journal published a story of mine last month called “Baby Love“. The story is based upon experiences I’ve had with all three of my children, but was written when all I had was my oldest, who is now 12. As a baby, wherever we went people would be offering him gum, candy, stopping us in the middle of the supermarket to goo-goo at him. What was funny was usually the offered treat was completely inappropriate for an infant without a single tooth.

Because this was my reality for so long, grocery shopping trips that would take me five minutes alone taking 30 minutes or more, I had to write about it. I did. however, give it a little twist, thinking about how the adult behind the baby might benefit from all the attention given their little one, and how someone NOT used to having a baby would handle it when an infant is thrust upon them for whatever reason.

What is your reality today? What occurs in your day to day life that is mundane to you, but could be interesting to someone who lives a different kind of life. Switch places with them, use your imagination and write it out.