Category Archives: CityReads NYC

handed a ticket through blood

the circus is in town and I’m handed a ticket through blood.

a strong man melts to nothing at the sight of his sorrow not standing there.

the siamese twins don’t share much in common besides loose cloth.

the bearded lady holds on by a thread and smiles through to the strangers.

there are wrestling midgets who don’t fit anywhere from what they’re told, but they enjoy the company and they let the sweat roll.

the clowns all run around the field playing tricks on each other and you.

and a woman in a box who is soon to be sawed in half by a magician who’s lost his touch wonders how she got here.

i hear they have elephants under the tent held together by ego and loose chains, few people in the room for now.

and a lion locked in a cage he can’t see with a hurt paw from last weeks show.

the acrobatic brothers don’t know each other, and never have and haven’t tried and never will.

the cyclops is afraid to lose himself though he dreams as clear as you or i.

and no one likes the room of mirrors, so they reflect nothing in return.

the tunnel of love is a quick ride with a cyclical queue and charges the most per ticket compared to the others despite its tendency to break down and rumored to have killed a man before.

there’s a fortuneteller wearing bifocals in between the carousel going backwards and a snake charmer who can’t find his flute.

and that snake charmer just the night before couldn’t sleep because he misses a girl who’s never there.

and that snake is in the mood for familiar sounds and spits poison when he’s agitated.

a man who can guess your weight forgets his own with each lame guess.

the $2 kissing booth describes our existence well.

and there’s a three legged dog who trails behind the whole gypsy carny from town to town because he’s still able to and doesn’t have much else to do anyway.

the circus is in town and it may only pass thru once and things pass quicker these days.

and it’s just in your backyard.

and you’re passed along a ticket while standing in line with the others.

Thanks For The Poetic Warning

By Justin Cude

What strange times we’re living in. 

The times they have-a done changed, old friend. 

Thanks for the poetic warning. 

A scene far stranger than the governments anti-psychedelic propaganda campaigns of the sunshine years. 

Only the lookers could see this coming. 

You can’t unsee this madness unfolding.

You don’t come back from this trip.

 Neither might the world. 

What an abstraction on the horizon. 

I’ve seen light from the cracks once or twice. 

Leonard told us to notice.

Gold even poured once before. 

The mind’s alchemy says twice, and might again. 

But concrete dries quicker than it mixes, and they mix it quickly, don’t they?

And, I might be gone a long ole’ time. 

That’s the way its been feeling. 

Ghosts from the past made human again. 

Sleeping with those still more recent. 

Darkness dies to light then has its revenge again before its over. 

A worthy opponent who shocks the crowd with each landed blow. 

An underdog for unknown reasons with blood in his eyes from years of irreversible attrition. 

The only fight worth a damn to hands untouched. 

The birds still fly south though we’ve confused them. 

It’s harder now to know the way. 

I’ve slept under clear skies with no stars. 

But have held the sun in winter til dawn. 

The world needs her then so I must stand to go despite the cold. 

Wild poppies provide rich and vital blood for the fields they devour. 

And color when you chose to look at life for the way she moves.

A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

How did you come across the book?

I was back home in the Philippines when I first saw a copy of the book and it seemed interesting to me at the time but, I wasn’t… I just wasn’t at the point where I wanted to purchase it because I was reading a few other books at the time so I wanted to finish those first. And then, when I got to New York a few days ago, I was at The Strand Bookstore over on Broadway and 13th, I saw this book again and decided to buy it then.

So far, what have you gained from it?

Well, I actually had no idea that this book was written in the 1950s or 60s, but I think the reason that its coming back to the shelves and coming back to popularity is because the message and the core of the book is very relevant to us now. Like… basically the premise of ‘A Brave New World’ is society has become a place of homogeneity and a lack of individuality, because everyone is genetically engineered and conditioned from birth to have these certain traits and there’s this caste system thats involved where every caste and every person has a specific role to do, and… to me… I… I consider myself an individualist. I like to do my own thing. I don’t really like corporations and institutions and things like that, so… the perspective that I think is worth looking into is… how trends and things that are popular nowadays… look into how they come to be and why people subscribe to them, and if at anyway that takes way from their sense of identity… even though I think its important to have things in common, but… the extent to which we subscribe to these ideas and institutions is reflective of who we are as a society and I think while its important to have these things which we have in common, I think we should all strive to maintain our own passions and individuality.

Its a heavy read. It plays a lot on the concept of human sexuality. And now, more than ever, women are being objectified and taken advantage of. Women and men, for that matter. But, this book kind of… well… it’s obviously through a male gaze. Aldous Huxley is a guy, he’s writing from a male perspective, and… the women in the book, they are treated as sort of objects. First of all, there’s no emotion involved in personal relationships in this book… its all just like people getting together and having sex and absolutely no emotional attachment… literally hit it and quit it, and nobody has any emotion. But, yeah… the character that I most like from the book is named Bernard Marx, and he seems to be the only person who can think for himself. And, what’s interesting is he’s different from everybody else in the sense that… like for his level, he’s an alpha so he should be like tall, strong and buff, but he has a physical defect and he’s small, he’s frail, he’s thin, but aside from that, aside from himself being estranged from society because of his physical defect, its also… intellectually he’s different. You can tell because of the way he thinks. He has passions. He’s an individual and he can think for himself, which I find to be interesting and I kind of relate with him on that level.

Would you recommend it, and if so, to who and why?

Absolutely. I don’t think this book is meant for any particular demographic. Its hard to just humanize people in general, so, like I said early, it’s very relevant to our society today and the things we have going on in that society. And, like… old, young, whatever, there are themes which definitely reflect the world we’re living in today, so absolutely anyone should read this book. I definitely recommend it. Like, I’d make my kid read this, for sure! Yeah. I think its timeless.

The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth

How did you come across the book?

My friend who is also a very avid reader was purging her quite enormous book collection… she ran out of space… and she decided to announce anyone feel free to take through so, I purged her shelves and just saw what was interesting and I grabbed it actually from her… and she never ended up even reading it, so… I’m reading it instead of her!

So far, what perspective have you gained from it?

Initially I thought it was going to be going in a certain direction, and now that I’ve gotten a good way through its not what I expected. Um… but its… very interesting. Its really about the relationship between writers and reality…. which is what appealed to me.

Would you recommend it, and if so, to who and why?

Uh, I think so far my first gut reaction would be yes, I would recommend it. Um… and… I would definitely recommend it to other avid readers. Other people that really enjoy reading. Only because that… that’s what this is really initially about. Um… its… really good for those who appreciate that, you know… discussion, the intellectual… the questions that come from reading books, um… so, that’s why.

Salvation on Sand Mountain by Dennis Covington

How did you come across the book?

It was assigned to me by my class. That is, ‘Spiritual Autobiography‘ at The New School.

So far, what perspective have you gained from it?

Oh! The perspective of the religious… intensely Christian in the south… there are snake handlers, which I’ve never heard of before. And so, this is all new to me… and its very interesting.

Would you recommend it, and if so, to who and why?

Oh! Um… I’m only a little bit in… like page 20. But, I’d… so far, I think its written really well and I would recommend it to people looking to learn more about places they don’t know, and parts of religions that they don’t know. And… for anyone looking for just a good book!

Once Again

By Justin Cude
I’ve been out 
there
in the
burning
wind
the ground
roaring
under
and
I’ve seen
it
and felt
it’s
power
it’s
rage
til it’s
end
and I don’t like
new
to
begin
when I can’t
see
can’t see
back
over
where I’ve
over where
I’ve
been
who does?
who can?
who
than?

But I’ll turn
either
way
so it goes
now
to the wind
burning
as it does
so it goes
Once again.

Don’t you know,
now,
by
now
you’re
my
friend, and
always you
always you have
been
and
I’ll be there
without,
without
all this,
we’ll see,
seen,
seeing,
pretend
and I’ll know
you
from back
when?
but we won’t feel
like that,
no
not like that, no
not
like that
then
again.

So I’ll turn now
to the
wind
burning with
and
within,
against
until
faced
with
as it will
we’ve seen
Once again.

I won’t stop
turning
and the wind
it
wont stop
we learned
burning
and I
won’t stop
trying
no,
I can’t stop
it’s
trying
So I’ll keep
turning
And I’ll keep
trying
and
I’ll

Turn now
again
till the
and its
end
to the
still burning
and trying
wind
once again
friend.

The Books We Read

By Justin Cude

I’ve read tons of books lately. Hold on. Bear with me. I don’t say that with any type of pretentious. Its just a way to start this piece. But, seriously, lately I have read tons of books. From Self-help horrors to border-line erotica novels. From the lone pessimists attempt of optimistic existentialism to the bonding painted along a band-of-hippies psychedelic rove. Books which reign the top 100 to ones spawn from the endless graves of underground novella. I’ve read deeper into the works of authors I truly love, and have flirted with the lines of authors I’ve only just met with a glance. I sat down yesterday and read a whole damn book. I’ve only done that once in my life, years ago, and it felt wonderful to experience this again. But, this piece isn’t about the number of books I’ve read through in the last few weeks, but rather about what I have noticed, as I have before, by doing so.

The books we read influence us. Greatly or subtly, it doesn’t matter. They teach us. They touch us. They lead us and they push us. Some can hold you back. Many will move you, either which way. The ones we love, we do so for many reasons. There’s not just one reason we read and continue to. We read for many. And, we keep reading because those reasons are always further affirmed the more words we finish, the more pages we turn, the more books we try. We know why we read, individually, and our knowing of that is enough to continue forth. Every book I have ever read has provided me with at least one line of life; life learned, understood, challenged, gained, lost, made aware of, or changed. Even if only a line. I read for that one line. That one line that provides the life I needed to experience as to allow my own life the right, or the acceptance of, to just be, and for me to just be along with it. For life to be what it is, at any given moment, during any given experience of its provide. And, for me to be who I must and who I choose to be in response to and in demand of that greater providing.

I read for that one line. And, I read for this one life. Because, the books we read provide the life of others, while we’re out learning and living towards the writing and the sharing of our own. There’s wisdom there. There’s trial and error. There’s love and the exploration of its layered and endless complexities, along with it’s simplicity. There’s death and our questions. There’s wild stories from all walks of life, and there’s devout peering into the uncertainties we face. And, there’s us, reflected in the words so humanly placed. The books we read are shared closely with the lives we live. The lives we live are steeped in the richness of books we read.

So, I encourage you to read on.