in the dream i ate a handful of black pills yes i wanted to be cradled yes i was trying to die no the black pills were not drugs yes they were vitamins yes i tried to kill myself with vitamins yes i had to kill myself with vitamins because i wanted to protect my sobriety yes even in dreams i protect my sobriety yes even in death i protect my sobriety no the vitamins were not time-release yes they were coffin-shaped no i did not die yes i woke up in my bed yes i got in the shower yes the shower turned into a coffin yes the coffin filled with all my headstuff yes my headstuff is loud yes this happens every morning yes i can make anything into a coffin no i do not pride myself on this yes sometimes i do yes sometimes i build a persona around my coffin-making yes female poets and suicide no i do not consider myself a female poet no i do not consider myself a male poet yes i am tired of considering myself no not tired enough to stop considering myself yes all i do is consider myself yes this is what the headstuff is made of yes it is made of made my considerations of myself yes the headstuff is an allergy yes it is an allergy to reality yes there is a way to turn it off yes i can turn it off with light no i cannot do this by myself yes i know where to find the light yes that is a blessing yes hallelujah yes sometimes the light comes to me yes that is called grace yes most times i have to walk to the light yes that is also grace yes the grace to keep walking yes i must like the light yes i must really like the light yes i must like it better than the coffin yes i keep walking there

“What is the use or function of poetry nowadays?’ is a question not the less poignant for being defiantly asked by so many stupid people or apologetically answered by so many silly people. The function of poetry is religious invocation of the Muse; its use is the experience of mixed exaltation and horror that her presence excites…poetry, since it defies scientific analysis, must be rooted in some sort of magic…

Welsh poet Alun Lewis…wrote just before his death…of ‘the single poetic theme of Life and Death the question of what survives of the beloved.’ Granted that there are many themes for the journalist of verse, yet for the poet, as Alun Lewis understood the word, there is no choice…Perfect faithfulness to the Theme affects the reader of a poem with a strange feeling, between delight and horror, of which the purely physical effect is that the hair literally stands on end…

The Theme, briefly, is…the birth, life, death and resurrection of the God of the Waxing Year; the central chapters concern the God’s losing battle with the God of the Waning Year for love of the capricious and allpowerful Threefold Goddess, their mother, bride and layer-out. The poet identifies himself with the God of the Waxing Year and his Muse with the Goddess; the rival is his blood-brother, his other self, his weird. All true poetry…celebrates some incident or scene in this very ancient story, and the three main characters…not only assert themselves in poetry but recur on occasions of emotional stress in the form of dreams, paranoiac visions and delusions. The weird, or rival, often appears in nightmare as the tall, lean, dark-faced bed-side spectre, or Prince of the Air, who tries to drag the dreamer out through the window, so that he looks back and sees his body still lying rigid in bed; but he takes countless other malevolent or diabolic or serpent-like forms.

The Goddess…will suddenly transform herself into sow, mare, bitch, vixen, she-ass, weasel, serpent, owl, she-wolf, tigress, mermaid or loathsome hag. Her names and titles are innumerable…The reason why the hairs stand on end, the eyes water, the throat is constricted, the skin crawls and a shiver runs down the spine when one writes or reads a true poem is that a true poem is necessarily an invocation of the White Goddess, or Muse, the Mother of All Living, the ancient power of fright and lust—the female spider or the queen-bee whose embrace is death…

Sometimes, in reading a poem, the hairs will bristle at an apparently unpeopled and eventless scene described in it, if the elements bespeak her unseen presence clearly enough…

The Night Mare is one of the cruellest aspects of the White Goddess. Her nests, when one comes across them in dreams, lodged in rock-clefts or the branches of enormous hollow yews, are built of carefully chosen twigs, lined with white horse-hair and the plumage of prophetic birds and littered with the jaw-bones and entrails of poets.”

–Robert Graves, The White Goddess


Here is a poem in the new Drunken Boat about not going gentle into that dry-ass night (or not going at all).


My fave sport is romanticizing ppl romanticizing each other.


Feel like this is what all of the Mad Men recappers are missing when they try to ‘analyze’ last night’s episode:

and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air and i eat men like air




Poem called CAME ON GOD’S DICK













I want to surrender to god’s will 4evs.

It doesn’t seem fair that you can’t get hypnotized and that’s it.

It’s so uncool to have to surrender again every minute.

Why would I define god?

What kind of mystery is that?

Even when I don’t feel it there’s the experience of having felt it.

“Proving” god seems stupid.

Keep cleaning keep cleaning keep cleaning.

God feels me.

I Don’t See No Riots Here

photos by pennyred

New York is mad cool right now and I bet your cities are too. Of course, if you aren’t in the part of the city where the action is, it’s just regular life.

I go to where the action is. But I don’t do active civil disobedience, like lying down in the middle of the street, because I’m a fraidy cat. Also, I am not an Occupy Writer. I definitely don’t go read poems or Bartleby. Instead, I observe.

It feels good to just be a witness at Occupy, a vessel. What a relief, for once, to not feel compelled to foist words on the world. How empty can I let myself be? Can you ever truly be bare?

Susan Sontag says: “I discovered that I am tired of being a person. Not just tired of being the person I was, but any person at all.”

I am tired of being a person too. But I haven’t figured out how to give it up yet.

I go to Occupy in my usual lip gloss and leather. Sometimes I feel out of place; too much Wall Street, not enough hooded sweatshirt.

Naomi Wolff says: “Most urgently, women’s identity must be premised upon our ‘beauty’ so that we will remain vulnerable to outside approval, carrying the vital sensitive organ of self-esteem exposed to the air.”

Maybe Occupy will find a use for a woman with exposed self-esteem. We do get into buildings very easily. Maybe I will become a spy.

Usually, I’m bored by people who think they’re always right. But rabblerousing, a lil ol’ G.G. Allin fuck it all, 60s nostalgia, cute activist boys, and pure potentiality–yeah–that’s fun. These Occupy kids have balls. They’ve awakened a spirit and curiosity that I thought was dead in me.

So is it wrong to treat Occupy like a grand party?
Is it wrong to go for the sensation?
Everyone has reasons reasons reasons.
I enjoy mine.

Last Night I Did a Poetry Reading in an Alternate Dimension & It Sucked

Last night I did a poetry reading in an alternate dimension and it sucked. The reading was alphabetical so I was supposed to read first. My wife, Faith Fairhead, was reading fifth. Faith was a buttercream blonde. I was like Look at my hot bitch. I felt entitled to act like a dirty dog, because I was a girl and it seemed cute. It wasn’t cute.

As a result of my attitude, the universe swapped my hot wife for a husband, Gerald Ford, who made me very late for the reading. He had to run a lot of errands. I was like Gerald! No Whole Foods! Not now!

I couldn’t figure out what outfit to wear. My mother appeared in a sheep’s head to tell me that leather leggings were very last year. I wore them anyway. What did being a year late have to do with poetry? Maybe nothing.

The reading was at Slimey’s, a deli that specialized in hot pastrami and doubled as an ampitheater. Immediately I knew the leather leggings were a mistake. Everybody was wearing jeans with alt sneakers or velvet boho capes or they were nude.

Everybody was talking about Purple Pinko’s forthcoming trilogy of military flash fiction, FMP. I didn’t know what FMP stood for but I knew it was something cool, like Stephen Dorff’s SFW. I felt about Purple Pinko the way I felt about Stephen Dorff in the 90s. I longed.

Longing is wonderful, because you don’t have to be present for your life—in any dimension. I knew I shouldn’t indulge these feelings. I knew I should be present. I was like How am I supposed to stop thinking about Purple Pinko if his work is everywhere? It seemed like a conspiracy.

I wasn’t allowed to bring paper into the new dimension so I had to memorize everything. I’d memorized nothing. I made up the poems as I went along. One of the poems was called “Colorado.” It was in first person present and it went like this:


I want to be a zombie but the cult won’t click.
I’m in it for a brain belt though I’m bad with unity.
We shoot up with pine needles, only vanilla.
This leaves a hole I cover in postage stamps.
I can’t find the horses and I can’t find the horses.
We go see the world record velvet Elvis.
They do a slideshow of his sandwiches.
Everybody liked him better alive.

It didn’t matter that the poem sucked, because the microphones were broken. This lent itself to simultaneous feelings of Sisyphusian something and liberation.

Following my reading was a reading by a naked girl. She read microfiction while a Haitian man vomited and vomited into a bowl next to her. Vomit is always great. The crowd went wild. I wish I invented that performance art.

A journalist from The Star Daily Star asked if he could take my picture. All the velvet boho capes were watching me and they mouthed C-O-R-P-O-R-A-T-E. Not one to turn down interstellar publicity, I posed.

The journalist was like You won a big prize this year. How does that feel?

I was like No. No prize.

He was like Then where have I heard of you from?

I was like You’ve heard of me from nothing. You’ve heard of me from the air.

Amma Doesn’t Blog

Just got back from seeing Amma. Now I am in bed, coming down, with my face pressed against the white cotton shirt I wore today. It smells of roses.

Some say that Amma is a living saint. For many years I tried to make sense of the mystical experiences I have in her presence. I googled the words: kundalini, shakti, ecstasy. I compared my experience to that of others. But I’ve stopped trying to understand.

I would not say that Amma is my sole teacher, or guru. I have had many great teachers. Yet Amma is a touchstone I return to year after year. She might be my most powerful teacher. This was my sixth year with Amma at the Manhattan Center and every visit is different. I always learn lessons.

My first experience in Amma’s presence brought on such intense feelings of bliss, peace and transcendence that I was frightened I’d been dosed. This encounter taught me that visceral shifts in consciousness are possible without drugs. It crystalized my faith in a higher power.

My third year, I ignored an impulse to volunteer to wash dishes. Instead I sat by Amma like a god-junkie for eight hours straight until I got vertigo and had to go home in a taxi. I think Amma was teaching me that spirituality is not about feeling good all the time, but about service.

On another visit, I brought someone very close to me to meet Amma–a person who claims he has “no spiritual wiring.” I thought I could convince him otherwise and “give him” a peak experience. While this person now respects Amma as a humanitarian (he calls her a spiritual genius), on a sensory level he was unphased. He just sat in the balcony ho-hum, reading Harper’s and eating a doughnut. The lesson here? I am not in control of other people’s perceptions. I forget this lesson a lot.

So much of learning seems to be about remembering. Today I got a  message that I hear in my heart every time I am with her, and then repeatedly forget.

In my heart I said to Amma: It is so easy when I am with you to feel peace. But what about when I am not with you?

And Amma said to my heart: I give you permission. I light the spark. But peace is in you, child.

Easy, Rider

I am not a Hindu (or even a Hindjew). But I do have a writing mantra that I’ve been using for years. Wanna know what it is? Ok.

Om aing saraswatye namaha.

It’s pronounced: Om eye-ng saraswatee-yay nah-mah-hah.

“Aing” or “aim” is the sound seed for the goddess Saraswati. For more about that funky bitch, have a looksee.

I like to sing it to the tune of Suffragette City or Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground.

Here’s a heady freak with an “om necklace” doing her version.

I Want To Be the Girl With the Most Cake

What up yo? Oh me, not much, just trying to stay somewhat spiritually fit as I navigate the waters of ego.

My default settings are More! and What’s next? But if I get quiet, a little voice says: Slow down, trust me and know that you don’t have to make anything happen.

Also there’s this beautiful review of Mother in decomP. Thank you, Spencer Dew, for being the first reviewer to use the word “methadone.”

20 Years of Schoolin & They Put You On the Day Shift

I consider it a luxury to work in an office with a door that closes. A brief look into the history of my employment may reveal why.

My first job out of college was as a canvasser for CALPIRG. I was the one with the the clipboard and the “rap” about old growth forest. You shut the door on me. Nader’s little sweatshop kept me fed for four months; if people asked what I did, I told them I was an Activist.

None of my early 20’s jobs–pizza delivery girl, Peachy Puff, waitress at “horror” theme restaurant Jekyll and Hyde (they still owe me $200 from a shift serving Mummy Burgers to 50 Down Syndrome children on Christmas)–could ever compare to my second job after college.

When I was 22, I spent a year working as a Secretary for a Tantric sexuality non-profit (yes) in Marin County, California (where else?) called Celebrations of Love. Please. See for yourself. This woman was my boss.


Sometimes I feel jealous of Arda Collins.

Then I watch Micky-Mick struttin’ and remember: Arda can’t do this.

When the Moon Is In the Seventh House

Actual poster owned in college

At 20 I went through a dark period involving copious Easy Cheese, psychedelic beads and a hot glue gun. During this time (we’ll call it the crafty binge-eating hippie era) I became deeply enmeshed in astrology.

While I no longer actively, uh, practice astrology, I still have “the gift.”

All this week, I’ll be providing an astrological love analysis for anyone who buys the book from Small Press Distribution. You’re single you say? Even better! I’ll tell you who to date and who to avoid.

Just shoot me an email on my contact page. And believe.

Things I Love (That Jayne Cortez Would Hate)

I recently had the privilege of seeing the great Jayne Cortez perform at City College. I’m no expert when it comes to performance poetry, but Jayne is the O.G.

During the portion of the evening where students get to ask her our asinine questions*, someone asked who her influences are. She responded: “I’m not influenced by ANYONE.” ‘Nuff said.

I’m totally obsessed with this poet. Yet I gleefully engage on a daily basis in behavior that she would likely deem toxic, anti-feminist, corporate, and/or plain old poopoo.

I know I’m not alone in letting down the artists I admire. Take legions of Morrissey fans in the 80s and Where’s the Beef?

In honor of diversity, and because it’s feckin’ fun, I’ve comprised a list below of things I love that Jayne Cortez would probably hate:

1. Chuck Bass

2. Chuck Bass & Blair Waldorf : the special moment

3. Chuck Bass man-on-man action

4. OPI Axxium color gel manicure (stays on forev)

5. Norbit 

6. Nike iD (love me my Pegasus+ 25 iD sneaks in all-black with silver swoosh)

7. Who? What? Wear?

8. Marie Robinson at Sally Hershberger

9. Nicorette (2 mg please)

10. Bergdorf’s 5F

11. “Chrome Plated Woman” 

12. Spanking The Monkey (rivals Harold and Maude, and I don’t say that lightly)

14. Perfekt

15. “Wouldn’t Get Far” (floatin’ away on the hood of a Camry)

16. Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo


*This is reminiscent of when I saw Fiona Apple at The New Yorker festival and Sasha Frere-Jones asked her all of these random questions, like: what do you eat for breakfast? (not that I don’t want to know) (and fyi: she doesn’t eat eggs) when there’s really only one question for Fiona Apple: Is it worth it to be so crazy to be so talented?

I Wanna See You Come Back As the Light

I love this Devendra vid for Seahorse. It makes me want to move to Topanga Canyon, surround myself in faux bois (and real bois) and grow facial hair. That would be beatific.

Milk Fed


"Milk Fed is a romp…a pageant of bodily juices and exploratory fingers and moan after moan of delight."
–Los Angeles Times

"A dizzily compelling story of love, lust, addiction, faith, maternal longing, and…frozen yogurt."

"A revelation…Melissa Broder has produced one of the strangest and sexiest novels of the new year..."
–Entertainment Weekly

"A thrilling examination of hunger, desire, faith, family and love."

"Milk Fed bravely questions the particularly female lionization of thin and loathing of fat, landing on fresh explanations…deliciously droll…a celebration of bodily liberation."
–The New York Times

"Melissa Broder’s Milk Fed is a delectable exploration of physical and emotional hunger."
–The Washington Post

"A sensuous and delightfully delirious tale… Filled with an unadulterated filthiness that would make Philip Roth blush, Broder’s latest is a devour-it-in-one-sitting wonder."
–O, the Oprah Magazine



The Pisces


"A modern-day mythology for women on the verge — if everything on the surface stops making sense, all you need to do is dive deeper.."
–The New York Times

"The Pisces convincingly romances the void."
–The New Yorker

"Explosive, erotic, scathingly funny…a profound take on connection and longing that digs deep."
–Entertainment Weekly

"The dirtiest, most bizarre, most original works of fiction I’ve read in recent memory…Broder has a talent for distilling graphic sexual thoughts, humor, female neuroses and the rawest kind of emotion into a sort of delightfully nihilistic, anxiety-driven amuse bouche…"

"A page turner of a novel…funny and frank."
–Washington Post

"The Pisces is an intellectual, enthralling voyage into one woman’s swirling mind as she brushes with the extraordinary."

"Get ready to laugh-cry over and over again...a perverse romance that captures the addictive and destructive forces of obsessive love. The Pisces is as hilarious as it is heartbreaking."

Last Sext


So Sad Today


"What separates Broder from her confessional that she doesn’t seem to be out to shock, but to survive."

"Broder presents a dizzying array of intimate dispatches and confessions…She has a near-supernatural ability to not only lay bare her darkest secrets, but to festoon those secrets with jokes, subterfuge, deep shame, bravado, and poetic turns of phrase."
–New York Magazine

"A triumph of unsettlingly relatable prose."
–Vanity Fair

"Her writing is deeply personal, sophisticated in its wit, and at the same time, devastating. SO SAD TODAY is a portrait of modern day existence told with provocative, irreverent honesty."

"At once devastating and delightful, this deeply personal collection of essays…is as raw as it is funny."

"Broder writes about the hot-pink toxins inhaled every day by girls and women...and the seemingly impossible struggle to exhale something pure, maybe even eternal...there's a bleak beauty in the way she articulates her lowest moments."

"Broder may be talking about things like sexts, Botox, and crushes, but these things are considered alongside contemplations about mortality, identity, and the difficulty of finding substance in a world where sometimes it’s so much easier to exist behind a screen."
–The Fader

"…So Sad Today is uplifting and dispiriting in seemingly equal measure. It’s a book that’s incredibly human in the way it allows for deep self-reflection alongside Broder, which speaks not only to her powerful writing but also the internet’s magical ability to foster connections."
–A.V. Club

"...delightful...Broder embarks on an earnest, sophisticated inquiry into the roots and expressions of her own sadness...deeply confessional writing brings disarming humor and self-scrutiny...Broder's central insight is clear: it is ok to be sad, and our problems can't be reduced to a single diagnosis. "
–Publishers Weekly

"Broder is probably the Internet’s most powerful merchant of feelings…"

"Vividly rendered and outspokenly delivered essays…Sordid, compulsively readable entries that lay bare a troubled soul painstakingly on the mend."
–Kirkus Reviews



"Broder manages to conjure a psychic realm best described as one part twisted funhouse and two parts Catholic school, heavy on libido and with a dash of magick. This gritty, cherry soda–black bizarrely sexy in its monstrousness."
–Publishers Weekly

"I don’t know what a book is if not a latch to elsewhere, and Scarecrone has pressed its skull against the hidden door. It is neither drunk nor ecstatic to be here—it is a state unto itself."

"Lushly dark and infused with references to black magic, Broder's work often feels less like a book and more like a mystical text."

Meat Heart


"Out to 'crucify boredom,' her poems show us how any relationship with the divine is no less at risk of engendering grotesque lust...What makes Broder such a pleasure on the page is her insistence that these dramas play out on a workaday stage infused with surreal Pop and imaginative muscle..."
–Publishers Weekly

"With a title recalling Yeats...Broder risks the divine in her second book...shrewd, funny, twisted, sad poems..."
–The Chicago Tribune

"Meat unbelievable and overwhelming for its imaginative power alone, but if you listen past the weird you can hear all sorts of things: sadness, seriousness, life, death, and a whole lot of laughter....Broder is a tremendous talent"

"...Meat Heart embodies that strain of sustenance, that sort of psychosomatic excitement most valiant art more or less tries to pull off…Her poems don’t bore or bear down. They beam oracle energy. They pump a music of visions for the life-lusty death dance."

Melissa Broder's Book Cover


“This debut from Broder is as funny and hip as it is disturbing… a bright and unusual debut.”
–Publishers Weekly

"…obsessive, energetic and pop-culture-infused poetry…"
–Time Out New York

"Broder’s insight and honesty will make your brain light up and your hair stand on end.”
–The San Francisco Examiner

"Broder’s verse is acrobatic and whip-smart… its own creature."