June 4, 2021 Poets on Couches Poets on Couches: John Murillo and Nicole Sealey Read Anne Waldman By John Murillo and Nicole Sealey The second series of Poets on Couches continues with John Murillo and Nicole Sealey reading Anne Waldman’s poem “How to Write.” In these videograms, poets read and discuss the poems getting them through these strange times—broadcasting straight from their couches to yours. These readings bring intimacy into our spaces of isolation, both through the affinity of poetry and through the warmth of being able to speak to each other across the distances. “How to Write” by Anne Waldman Issue no. 45, Winter 1968 Perhaps I’m kidding myself about the life I lead Sometimes I feel I’m dying like a lot of things I see around me Then I turn on the TV and understand that everything must still be moving Music, for example, and I rush outside around the corner to a concert It’s so easy Everything accessible from where I happen to live at the moment Things like rock concerts not too many trees on 2nd Avenue Once, on the Sixth Avenue bus I got a sudden sensation I had been alive before That I was a man at some other time Traveling You would think this strange if you were a woman If I were a man right now I’d be getting out of the draft but I think I’d want to be a poet too Which simply means alive, awake and digging everything Even that which makes me sick and want to die I don’t really, you know I just don’t want to be conscious sometimes because when you’re conscious in the ordinary way you have to think about yourself a lot Dull thoughts like what am I doing ? Uptown in a large crowd I want to sit down and cry because everything is simple and complicated all at once Everyone has this feeling Even people downtown It is very basic to the way we are which is why I can say “we” A lot of drugs can change you if you want because you too are made of what drugs are made of In fact you are just a bundle of drugs when you come right down to it I don’t want to go into it but you’ll see what I mean when you catch on That’s not meant to sound snotty I’m open to whatever comes along This is the feeling I get before I take a plane Then everything’s the same afterward anyway All into one space and here I am again alive still, same worries on my mind The thing is don’t worry! You are doing what you have to what you can You hear from your friends They let you know what’s happening in California, Iowa Vermont and other places about the globe They take you out of your little room just like the newspapers or the news or the man you live with and put you in a much larger room one in which you are in constant motion around the clock John Murillo is the author, most recently, of Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Nicole Sealey is the author of Ordinary Beast and received the Rome Prize. Her poem “Pages 5–8” appeared in the Fall 2020 issue.