by David A. Kirschenbaum
My girlfriend of 3-1/2 years broke up with me when she picked me up from the bus back from Memorial Day weekend and my dad’s 61st birthday. A few weeks later I found out that while I was away she cheated with a guy who lived across the hall from me. So my then- brother-in-law came up to Albany the day of the Baseball All-Star Game, which we watched on a million tv’s on my first visit to a sports bar. The next day he helped me move to a third floor walkup on Madison Ave, next door to a liquor store.
Rod and I had talked about starting a press for awhile. We used Ferlinghetti and Pictures of the Gone World as our model. If he could make his press’ first book one of his own, then we could do the same. Since there were two editors, we settled on doing a flipbook, what I’d later learn was called a dos a dos.
Rod did a best of with his half, which is what I was planning on with mine. But my breakup led to a flurry of new poems, and my portion turned into a series of break-up poems from the point of view of 24-year-old me, the broken.
We did a run of 100 copies, which lasted from the day they came out, Aug. 5, 1991, until right around the autumnal equinox the following year. I met Julie at the marathon reading of Leaves of Grass that we organized for that day at the Moses statue in Albany’s Washington Park. A week later I would be on my dumpster-dived couch, me with some sorta flu, my head resting on Julie’s lap as she ran her hand through my shoulder-length hair while singing John Denver songs to soothe me. I gave one of our last copies of our flipbook to her, without telling Rod first, and he wasn’t very happy about it.
I left the masters for the flipbook and our second chap in the back of a cab in Albany, along with $50 to help pay for reprints. And that was that. Ever since I haven’t really looked at the poems until I was going through my archives and read the entire chap over the phone to my pal Daniel Nester, who appreciated them. So I thought I would share them here for the first time digitally to show the evolution of the press and, well, me. Enjoy.
P.S. It’s funny, I’m told by some who are close to me that I speak too candidly in my work. These same people, when Boog first started with this chap, were effusive with their praise for my work and that we started a press. Memories can be selective I guess.