6. Demo To Ink- Ron Silliman

Chax Press


Laura Moriarty was definitely there, we were standing in a group on the field at Woodside Elementary in Concord. Brandon Brown was probably there, but sort of as a black amorphous blob, and then suddenly a young Ron Silliman walks up, he looks exactly like Michael Koshkin, he's handsome, and short, he has five o'clock shadow and a fade, he's wearing stylish black rimmed glasses. I think to myself "wow, I'm like 3 actual feet taller than young Ron Silliman," and then Moriarty is talking about her poetics and I'm mouthing over Brandon Brown/ black amorphous blob's shoulder to her "it's young Ron Silliman...this is fucking crazy...young Ron Silliman is here..." but Moriarty doesn't quite get what I'm saying, looks at me confused, and keeps on talking about her poetics, and now we're walking down Pierce St. in San Francisco in front of my old building, and it's raining, I get a running start and slide a few feet on the slick pavement, I'm sort of showing off, and then from behind me comes young Ron Silliman bombing down the street like Tommy Guerrero (skip to 1:16mark in video), only he slides a lot further than me, and looses control, falls back and hits his head on the pavement, goes limp and keeps sliding down the block. I run up to young Ron Silliman and he's dazed and bleeding a little from the head, and now I'm taking him into my arms, carrying him into my apartment, wrapping his head in a bath towel.  I worry that young Ron Silliman might be dying...and suddenly I'm thinking about Natasha Richardson and I'm getting really scared for young Ron Silliman which makes me think about my 7th grade teacher, how her and her husband went to Tahoe for a weekend ski trip, to Alpine Meadows, a resort I used to go to a couple times a season with my family in the winter, and that was the week she had been doing her poetry block in class, we wrote haiku, persona poems, sonnets, and then later, after our teacher didn't come back from that trip for a very long time, we learned that her husband had been in a terrible accident, he'd collided with a tree while skiing that weekend, he'd died, and now I'm standing in my bathroom on a rainy night with young Ron Silliman who's bleeding from the head and I'm thinking about my 7th grade teacher's husband and I'm remembering all of this dream coming in waves this morning on my way to work listening to Joy Division thinking about Ron Silliman's fantastic Demo To Ink which made me think of Tod McCarty who gave me the book back in 2006 while we were both working at the Naropa Audio Archives which made me think about drinking beers with Michael Koshkin on his porch in Boulder writing silly drunk Ted Berrigan sonnet imitations and then I thought, oh yeah, young Ron Silliman, he looked exactly like Michael Koshkin in my dream last night.


7. The Complete Poems 1927-1979- Elizabeth Bishop

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

bishop< Didn't I read somewhere in the recent past that EB was recognized by some committee somewhere in America to be the most important artist of the 20th Century? And by "artist" they meant The Whole Art: painting, writing, sculpture, movies et al. Am I making this up, misprision? This is that big pink book, I read this on my lunch break in my car. I hated this book. It wouldn't end. If there is one thing I really regret about college (besides taking out grad school loans) it's all the "complete works" books that I was forced to purchase (and now read). A lot of lounging around Brazil commenting on the indigent; The Fish is still a fun poem, "...coarse white flesh/ packed like feathers" is a fascinatingly disgusting image in the key of knee surgery or David Cronenberg. Kevin Killian sort of recently participated in some kind of art show based on the work of Elizabeth Bishop (I missed it because my Gmail calendar was acting the Luddite), I wrote him at the time that I was having a hard time slogging through the Complete Poems, he didn't write me back.

8. There Are People Who Think That Painters Shouldn’t Talk A Guston Book- Patrick James Dunagan

The Post-Apollo Press


I was walking down to Amber (now The Residence) with my brother (maybe), spotted Dunagan at the Church and Duboce MUNI tracks, was like "eeeeh yoooo..." and Patrick was all "oh, heeeey, man..." and then we bear hugged and vigorously shook hands (Dunagan has this great thing where his whole face lights up with smiles, his face turning beet-red), I said "hey congrats on your book!" and he goes "what do you mean?" and I'm like "the Post-Apollo book...Lindsey told me they're going to do it..." and Dunagan is all "oh really? I haven't heard that...oh shit, seriously?" and I'm like "yeah that's kind of weird...no one told you?!" and he's like "I haven't heard anything...I mean, I gave them something to look at..." and I'm all "yeah dude, it's a done deal, they're doing the book...congrats" and he goes "awesome, but just in case it's not a done deal, I'm not going to get too excited..." and me "get excited, your book is a GO, green-fuckin'-lit bro" and him "okay, I'm excited, but cautiously..." and me "ok..." and him "ok..."...


9.  Area Sneaks #2


Joseph Mosconi and I spent a week together in Greece in the Summer of 2008. We shared a room. I was in a miserable state. Mosconi spent a week listening to me vent about girls and relationships and fuckery, Mosconi even took walks with me through old Greek graveyards like a real mensch. Mosconi and I drank a lot of coffee together and I drank a lot of beer by myself. I swam in the Mediterranean a lot and didn't eat very much. Susan Gevirtz and Steve Dickison were also there, and along with Mosconi they handled my funk with compassionate aplomb. God I was such a bummer that summer. Here's a photo of Gevirtz, Me and Mosconi (photo by Dickison) on Paros (right before my backpack was swept out to sea only to be found the next morning by Thanasis Maskaleris during his morning swim, contents of backpack, destroyed).


Originally Published: April 30th, 2015

John Sakkis is the author of The Islands (Nightboat Books, 2015) and Rude Girl (BlazeVOX Books, 2009), as well as numerous chapbooks and ephemera. Since 2005 he has edited BOTH BOTH, a little magazine of poetry and art. With Angelos Sakkis he has translated four books by Athenian poet Demosthenes Agrafiotis: most recently Y'es and Diaeresis (Dusie Press,...