The Lab

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

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False Starts: Norma Cole and Alli Warren



the universal message
more massacre

at the bottom
maps were hardly
more edifying

on the floor, on the
wall, on the chair
on me violet

turquoise green yellow
orange red we had to
bring the bodies out

Norma Cole from Natural Light



barged in rot
a fictive future
I guide my hand through
the absurd and sticky
habit whose force
an inflatable estate
along the lobate plains
rooted in cause
owning what opens
to accumulate and swallow
the aesthetic and edible
echo of the world
out in the clearing
beneath the beach
flop along the line
and thumb the brink
the best dreams are those that fail
most comprehensively
women & children
build the barricades

Alli Warren


Norma Cole’s most recent books of poetry include Win These Posters and Other Unrelated Prizes Inside, Where Shadows Will: Selected Poems 1988—2008, Spinoza in Her Youth and Natural Light. TO BE AT MUSIC: Essays & Talks made its appearance in 2010 from Omnidawn Press. Her translations from the French include Danielle Collobert’s It Then, Collobert’s Journals, Crosscut Universe: Writing on Writing from France (edited and translated by Cole),and Jean Daive’s A Woman with Several Lives. Actualities, her collaboration with painter Marina Adams, is forthcoming from Litmus Press.

Alli Warren is the author of Don't Go Home With Your Heart On (Faux Press, 2014) and Here Come the Warm Jets (City Lights Books, 2013). She edits Dreamboat magazine and coedits Hearts Desire Press. Alli lives in Oakland.

False Starts is curated by Steven J. Seidenberg