I should have asked Trini Dalton for one of her poems because they were amazing I thought. Trini’s a prose writer and an art writer and a rock writer and so I was both surprised and elated that she’s lately taken on our sport. Poetry’s on the rise I said after the reading and Trini agreed it was true. All I can say—only being able to give an impression of this event—which was marvelous on not one, not two but on three counts because she read this evening with Kate Zambreno and Masha Tupitsyn - and all I can say is that all three read I would say quite briefly and also so virtuosically—and that none of their works resembled the others. Margarita from the bookstore described the event as “the edgy lady” reading and I wondered how they felt about that. I mean the word ‘edgy,’ the word ‘lady’ the whole pile of bricks. But Margarita said it in the best spirit. And she Margarita revealed to me only a couple of nights ago at the Samuel Delany reading that she herself is a translator and just translated a Chekhov was it play, was it story. I don’t know. But I was glad to hear Margarita is bursting into language herself. Like into song but into print instead. Anyway Kate read from a novel that she said it was the last time she was going to read from. She gave it to me. It’s seven blocks away right now so that’s all I’m able to say about that book. Except that she read it so well. There were several repetitive moments in the parts she read especially in the latter section which she also described as miserable pornography or something like that. But it was actually funny and fueled by the several repetitive motors within it, surges tracing the seam of something that in its very denial of sex, felt like sex. Because that’s how sex works. And she read in a kind of accent. I told her her entire book was in drag. Not her, not the writing, the book itself. The object was crossed dressed and she delivered it just like that. I was out there making pronouncements tonight. Masha Tupitsyn read the beginning of a long essay about John Cusack. I was sitting with Robert Marshall and we turned our gay heads to each other. It felt like that. John Cusack. We were shocked. Masha explained that he had been in some important film Say Anything which I wondered if I have seen and that his character Lloyd Dobler in this film installed the idea of acting in Masha’s twelve year old head. She thought he was him, that John was Lloyd Dobler and when she saw him one day hailing a cab he just seemed all wrong. He wasn’t Lloyd Dobler. He was someone else. It was pretty interesting. She cited various film books referring to the reality of the actor and I realized I would happily read every one of these books. Why don’t I read books about film when I love film so much. I think about acting so much. I was stumped. Michael Miller was also there and we mainly talked about the problem of the other Michael Miller who also is a book critic in New York even writing about Lynne Tillman who Michael Miller I has written about so that just seemed all wrong. I explained how I feel about other Eileens. I think I’ve written a poem about it:

Eileen Gray
Eileen Wournos
Eileen Myles

There might have been another Eileen too. I don’t think it has a title. Trini’s poems she said were just very short and written in stanzas. For a moment I couldn’t even remember what a stanza was. I thought it was a form. And it is. It’s any form. Isn’t it. It’s an arbitrary stop that became codified. Her poems were about among other things “the room upstairs.” Which meant death. And her poem put all these favorite things in it like a little grave. In Trini’s hands the poem because an unabashed little container, a sarcophagus, an allusion to a language of space ie “the room upstairs” which in her oeuvre is referring to the most radically other space there is. We can’t even imagine this space so we make euphemisms, like poems. The presence of the poem is the correlative of the place that isn’t. Isn’t that true. Isn’t that what everyone is talking about. Yet the room upstairs is definitely not on the rise. Poetry is.

Originally Published: April 26th, 2012

Eileen Myles was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was educated in Catholic schools, graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and moved to New York City in 1974 to be a poet. They gave their first reading at CBGB's and then gravitated to St. Mark's church where they studied with Ted...