The Lab

The Lab is a nonprofit experimental art and performance space located in the Mission District of San Francisco.

False Starts: Anna Moschovakis and Michael Palmer

7-9pm, readings start promptly at 7:30pm
$8 entry (no one turned away for lack of funds), free for members
Reserve seats here

Facebook invite


Anna Moschovakis

Untitled (after, and for, Simone White)

All I was thinking or would ever think was happening and it couldn't be stopped. Some of us were in the pond as the level went down. Fish flung ashore and died. We were lovers and friends but it wasn't enough or it was barely too much, timing, etc., so what to do? Some fucked anyway, off in the reeds. Some watched television underwater, speech upon speech, sung from the bullfrogs’ throats. Believe me, they said, and some did, and we believed ourselves for a while. It was night but there was too much light, who knows from where, and some closed our eyes against it while some closed our mouths instead. There was an agent among us who was trying to work, phone hoisted in air, afraid because nobody was green-lighting anything, jobs were scarce or paid to scale, the agent was in tears and then the phone went dead. There was something dead about the whole scene, unless you were actively friending or fucking, or thinking actively about friending or fucking (sincerely!) then writing it down. Writing was gone, though, or soon it would be, so some were actively becoming bodies again, while some did the opposite which no one could explain. The light became brighter and we closed and closed, we believed ourselves more and more. Our belief had a smell to it, or some other thing to it, which meant we attracted and multiplied. The level went up with each newcomer so we closed and closed and friended and fucked and wrote sincerely as if writing would end, which it would. And some were in plain sight and some off in the reeds, and when plain sight became intolerable again, we closed and the reeds shook, they won't stop shaking.

Michael Palmer

The Laughter of the Sphinx

The laughter of the Sphinx
caused my eyes to bleed

The blood from my eyes
flowed onto that ancient map

of sand
Ridiculous as I am

often have I been drawn
to such lands

rippling oceans of silence
and the distant, enigmatic glow

of burning shops and burning scrolls
overseen by river birds and mitered beasts

sad-eyed scholars and mournful scribes
omniscient ibises

and in the dust-clogged air
the laughter of the Sphinx

endlessly riddling, endlessly echoing,
loosing the blood's engulfing tide



Anna Moschovakis is the author, most recently, of They and We Will Get Into Trouble for This (Coffee House Press) and the translator of Bresson on Bresson (New York Review Books Classics). She edits and designs book with Ugly Duckling Presse and teaches in the MFA programs at Pratt Institute and Bard College's Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts. 

Poet and translator Michael Palmer has lived in San Francisco since 1969. He has worked with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company for over forty years and has collaborated with many composers and visual artists. His most recent collections are Active Boundaries (Selected Essays and Talks), (New Directions, 2008), Madman With Broom (selected poems with Chinese translations by Yunte Huang, Oxford University Press, 2011), and Thread, (New Directions, 2011). His new book of poems, The Laughter of the Sphinx, was published by New Directions in June of 2016.


False starts is curated by Steven Seidenberg (falsestartsreadingseries@gmail.com)