“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter”

I want to keep this short even though there is SO much to say – but I just wanted to express that I wholeheartedly stand in solidarity with my high school, LONG ISLAND CITY HIGH SCHOOL, on today of all days.. I am a proud product of LICHS, and I would not be the individual, the professional, and the creative person I am today if I hadn’t attended this school.

I believe that LICHS has been unjustly targeted by the Mayor’s ineffective plans for “turning around” city schools that aren’t performing up to his standards. The actual proposal as per the DOE is: The Proposed Closure of Long Island City High School (30Q450) and the Opening and Co-Location of New School (30Q365) with a District 75 Inclusion Program (75Q993) in Building Q452 Beginning in 2012-2013. Tonight there is a vote that will determine the future of the school..

I attended the public hearing in opposition of the school closure on the 17th of this month, and was overwhelmed by the support from local officials, past and present students, faculty, community members, and everyone in between. I am at a LOSS as to why an exceptional school like LICHS could land on a list of school closures. It boggles the mind of everyone who hears about it, especially my fellow students from the class of 2004.

As I mentioned – there is SO MUCH to say on this subject – but I’d love to leave you with some of what my amazing Government teacher, Ms. Kapodistrias said, what I said, and what many others said.

full version here


LICHS gives opportunities to EVERYONE. Kids who wouldn’t otherwise have had them. ESL, special ed, low scoring, high scoring, kids with kids of their own, and on and on. It’s all a NUMBERS game and it sickens me – we shouldn’t have to beg to keep this school open. OUR VOICES, our passion for this school should be enough. Bloomberg wasn’t happy with how LICHS scored and so he marked it as a “transformation” school YET DESPITE ITS PROGRESS they pulled LICHS out of the transformation program BEFORE IT WAS EVEN COMPLETED, and dumped it on the “turnaround” list – which basically means if it doesn’t get a vote TONIGHT to keep the school as-is and help it in a way that will actually BENEFIT the students and faculty, they are restarting a school with almost 100 YEARS of history in the neighborhood with a new name, a confusing and stressful situation for students, and a demoralizing situation for faculty. They are exhausted, and it is just not fair.

LICHS is a public school that gives kids from Queens and all over NYC – kids from EVERY background, mental capacity, and family income – a place to get a well-rounded education with top-notch programs including sports, culinary, visual arts, and theatre. Bloomberg could not be more disconnected from NYC education, especially when putting a school like this on the chopping block. Listen to the voices of your own neighborhood – stand in solidarity.

LICHS, I will always love you –

and I will always be proud to say I AM LIC.

Good Stuff

Three special people in my life have some special happenings worth mentioning…

Nick (NJ) Calder is en route to Chicago right now for the world premiere of his first feature film Fear Eats The Seoul on the BIG screen in the Chicago Fear Film Fest! We are still in the process of submitting it to more festivals and spreading the word.. Amazing how far you can come. We’re also filming a music video next month – more on that soon ;)

Mike Stahl, who consistently churns out killer posts (sorry – blessays, actually) for his DeFaced column on SUGAR -N- THUNDER, is reading at Boundless Tales at Waltz-Astoria next Thurs, April 19th. Can’t wait!

Eric Whiptastic just released his first eBook – TIBBY! Another dream that has come really far. You can check it out and snag it for just 99 cents on Amazon right HERE! It’s funny, strange, and well-written – what’s not to love?

As for me…

MORE! »»

Recordings & Updates

A few quick updates!

Thanks so much to fellow LIC’er Eric for supporting poetry in the area and including my poems and spoken word recordings on his great local music/food/culture blog, Sometime in Long Island City! We met at the John Lennon tribute I sang in at LIC Bar back in December. You can check the post out HERE. Thanks so much also to J for being a doll and recording me reading my work (psst.. his next film is going to be pretty insane.. AND this track of his is stuck in my head almost constantly.. but I digress). I put the recordings up on a shiny new Soundcloud – you can check out the playlist on my site HERE.

Here’s one I wrote some moons ago called ‘disassociative’:

Speaking of poetry recordings – I stumbled upon this great new site called A Poem From Us – you can record a video of yourself reading your favorite poem and upload it! I love the idea and I’m planning on participating as soon as I can figure out which poem to read…

Lastly! I am incredibly excited that my book is nearing completion. It’s a retrospective of my favorite pieces of work from 2000 until now, with a dedication to my beautiful Nana, of course.. I’m aiming to release it around what would have been her 66th birthday next month. It has an amazing cover by a lovely graphic designer I know (who is also an incredible burlesque performer!) and I’m currently going over my printing options.. D.I.Y. ‘TIL I DIE! Can’t wait for everyone to check it out.

More soon!

Featured in Queens Poets & Poems Exhibition!

I am beyond thrilled to be included in this exhibition.. My poem “validation” is featured in the inaugural Queens Poets & Poems Exhibit at Queens Borough Hall for National Poetry Month, April 1st-31st, 2012. The exhibition is curated by the Queens Poet Laureate through 2013, Paolo Javier. Paolo – thank you SO MUCH!

The show is free and open to the public during regular work hours.

Here’s the address:

Office of the President, Borough of Queens
120-55 Queens Boulevard Rm. 223
Kew Gardens, NY 11424
(E, F to Union Turnpike/Kew Gardens stop)

Here’s a list of the participating poets and poems:

Lorraine Schein (Sunnyside), “Dreambox”
Norman Stock (Jackson Heights), “How to Become the Poet Laureate of Queens”
Jill Hoffman (Forest Hills), “10. Demeter”
Arlene Gay Levine (Forest Hills), “The Road”
Franklin Bruno (Jackson Heights), “Occupation”
Mark Lamoureux (Astoria), “Mysterons”
Matthew Hittinger (Astoria), “Golden Circe Sips Her Coffee”
Rigoberto Gonzales (Forest Hills), “Point It Out”
Hassanal Abdullah (Jackson Heights), “My Grave”
Rajiv Mohabir (Woodhaven), “The River-Son’s Betrayal”
Vicky Byron (Richmond Hill), “Sketch Artist”
John Rice (College Point), “Outside the Bar in Sunnyside, Queens”
Audrey Dimola (Long Island City), “Validation”
Maria Terrone (Jackson Heights), “The One Chosen”
Andrés Castro (Kew Gardens), “Ignorance Is Not Bliss In Jordan”
Nicos Alexiou (Astoria), “Astoria”
Kate Donohue (Astoria), “What With the Blue Flames Leaping Obediently From the Lungs of a Gas Stove”
Angelica Harris (Glendale), “Taurus Rising”
HaaJar “Hajee” Johnson (Astoria), “Journey Life”
Kevin Michael Wehle (Flushing), “The Boogeyman’s Accomplices”

I’m going to echo Paolo’s sentiment and repost: “Many thanks to Terri Osborne, Cultural Affairs Coordinator at the Boro Prez Office, for spearheading this new and vital initiative to lend greater visibility to contemporary poetry in Queens.”

Can’t wait to see it!

Read my poem “validation” HEREThe subject is something very close to my heart so I’m even more excited that it was chosen for this exhibition.

National Poetry Month…

NYC view from Gantry Park at twilight, photo by me

Poetry is always something to celebrate ;)

But in the spirit.. I’m doing a haiku a day, every day this month – check them out on my Tumblr!

I’m also so excited to announce that I’ll be hosting the Boundless Tales reading series at Waltz-Astoria for the summer months – more dates & details soon!

Boundless Tales will also be featured at the 2nd annual NYC Poetry Festival this summer, which is going to be AWESOME. Congrats!

Reading tonight at Boundless Tales

I’m reading at the Boundless Tales reading series again tonight at Waltz-Astoria, starting at 7:30pm! Debuting a bunch of pieces including brand new work from the past few months. Excited to share..

Thanks so much to Aida for the invite and for supporting my work, and the work of fellow local writers, playwrights, poets, and authors.. Always looking forward to it!

Facebook invite HERE. Support local writers in Queens, and if you’re a writer yourself – go to the website and submit your work so you too can READ! :)

Spotlight on HerHattan NYC!

I was thrilled to have HerHattan NYC do a great spotlight piece on my Compass Project!

HerHattan NYC covers emerging female talent and entrepreneurs in NYC. In their words, it “exists to share the stories of talented women who, everyday, work to make their dreams a reality and watch their passions unfold, in the city where you have to make it to live it.” So glad to be a part of it – thanks so much to Stephanie and Irma!

Check it out HERE!

And find HerHattan online on Facebook and Tumblr.

My first little book!

Recently I’ve been absolutely dying to make a book, so this morning I followed this quick and easy Instant Book tutorial from Hero Arts and made a little blank white book from plain printer paper. After accidentally stapling it to my desk (don’t ask..) while adding more pages, I took a NYLON magazine and my words to it and this is the result…

I love that it happened organically and is a snapshot of this time. This is my first little book of this sort – I haven’t made DIY books/magazines since I was pretty much a wee lass, and it’s absolutely wonderful to tackle it again. More to come.. Hope you enjoy!

The funny thing about pain is..

Butterfly’s Side by Janielle Beh

At the beginning of this month I was honored to have one of my newest poems, “transfiguration” featured in a wonderful digital poetry mag called Words Dance, curated by a poet – and human being – I greatly admire! Amanda also runs Kind Over Matter which is one of my favorite websites, so thanks SO MUCH to her for including me!

Check it out HERE.

And here’s a brand new one..

open your wound so
the flowers can grow out
from inside of you;
anything beautiful that
could have a chance to be
is getting tangled in stitches
and scars.
– ajd, 2/22/12

Did I also mention that my best friend Nick Calder is raising funds for his debut feature Fear Eats The Seoul on Kickstarter and you still have 7 DAYS to donate?! This kid is the real deal. We’re in the process of submitting the film to festivals around the globe, and the $$ goes directly to that. Check it out!

Miss you, love you

It doesn’t get any easier – but the love gets stronger.. And stronger.

missing you

it’s the little things
that catch you
walking in to see
your saint jude
and cross candle
on the kitchen table
near a stack
of photos,
the frame i bought you
that played
“you are my sunshine”
the way you always
sang it to me..
and the last
letter i wrote you
on the flowery stationery
you sent me,
in the little purple envelope –
letting you know
that i could never say
your possessions
now here –
without you..
striking the match
to illuminate the
between our two worlds.
now –
we light your candle
for you
the way you did for us
every morning –
closed your eyes
and held saint jude
to your
beautiful face,
speaking your prayers
in your mind –
which is now the
only precious space
we can still hear you.
call out, forever love,
call out loud,
because we are
all listening..
every day through this
never-ending winter,
and every single day
after that.
– ajd, 1/12/12

I miss you, beautiful Nanny. So, so much.

Right now

This just about sums it up.

with thanks to rilke, neruda, rumi

i am experiencing
the strangest
of spirit –
like staring
into the face of
rilke’s angel,
so terrifying in
its beauty
and absoluteness.
i somehow feel
surged with the
that could
launch me over
a cliff –
and, laughing,
i would descend –
and in
so doing –
float right back.
i feel like
i am in danger of
detached –
“heart broke loose,”
whirling dervish
spouting the
that is becoming
so much more
than the
what is the
danger here?
i am
by a force
that is
beyond and
within me –
i could lose it
but somehow
walk on.
perception is
pried loose
from the bonds
we make –
there is such
in the wildness.
the order without
before our eyes..
the step,
sometimes –
it’s that easy
to take.
– ajd, 1/25/12