the louderARTS Project

Corie Feiner

...there was anguish and doubt here, certainly, but not melodrama. What could have been sentimental was not, thanks to Ms. Herman's plain-spoken poetry and delivery and the simplicity of the dancing and choreography.
• New York Times, April 25th, 2002

Corie Feiner (formerly Corie Herman) is the original founder of The Poet's Open at Club 13. After running it from 1996-1998, she passed it on to Guy LeCharles Gonzalez.

She is a 2004 Pushcart Prize nominee for her poem, "Tattoos." Her poetry can be found in journals such as: The Cortland Review, Runes, Tiferet, Calyx, Kalliope, So to Speak, Phoebe, and 5 AM. She is seeking publication of her second book, Maw-Maw (and working on making it into a play).

She has performed all over town and recently opened for Cornel West at a Tikkun conference in Washington, DC.

She is a teaching artist for Teachers & Writers, Poets & Writers, Poets House, and The New York Public Library. She believes that words are an action capable of making change.

info@coriefeiner.com
www.coriefeiner.com




On Land
In memory of Howie, tent city, and the Tompkins Square Park riot

I heard that neighbors spread their backs
against trees, threw broken balls of cement, and hard

lumps of dirt into metal shields and police blockades.
I heard they made their arms into chains and rang them

above their heads. I heard there were bulldozers.



I look for Howie--blue baseball cap, curly
gray beard, gaunt blue jeans. I look for the spot

where his shanty once stood--the flattened
cardboard boxes, the thin legs of plywood,

the used cords of cloth. Inside it smelled of boiled
hot dog water and beer sifting into a drain. Howie

swept floors, collected cans and slipped
his fingers into coin return slots. Still,
he told me, I can't afford rent. Can you?



I pass a garbage can that is shaped like an elderly
lady bending to a bird. Surrounding it: burnt

clothes, blackened boxes and lung-shaped bottles.
I look for the spot of Howie's fire where I huddled

like a bird, tucking my beak into my chest.
I listen for the snap of batteries, wet wood

and nails; look for where Howie squatted
when he said, If you ever in trouble, you yell

Howie, his hands cupped in a circle
around his mouth. He would have cracked

a bottle against the ground and run, turning
his voice into a siren to defend me.



Imagine a short barreled shotgun
pressing a circle above his ear, a thick

boot holding his shoulder to the ground,
a nightstick coming down

onto his knees. The hard crack.
The tear gas, erupting. Howie --



There is a park here now: gingko leaves
like shy yellow fans, sectioned off dirt

where dogs can piss and run, a playground with a tire
chained to a wooden beam, and rows of red flowers

surrounding the center square crowded
with pigeons pulling at thrown crusts of bread.



previously published in Phoebe



© Corie Feiner



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