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: Elizabeth Robinson, Melissa Mack, and Aaron Simon

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

Elizabeth Robinson
from Revisit

Made to wear this cloak of afterness,

what choice have I got but to wonder

if there was truly

a prelapsarian time?

Why does the true black

appear now

as so faded and rusty

when the garment would seem to be

the same?

One can run one’s finger or blade along the surface, where

surface of skin is the symbol for tension; test time

this way.


Melissa Mack


Eagle in a tree
No, eagle’s nest crow
Current, depth, tide, temp
Render surface text
To parse that is a task
The stance distances and knits us
It’s the same with finance capital
May it, the work, enhance our capacity to grasp
The difference
What it is, what it can’t be  


I held a shell.
I wanted something.
To be the receiver of
an address that begins
Whosoever wilt…
I feel so full of willingness.
Finding out what range of thing there is
to be willing to do is a thing too. 
The point is not to separate the iridescence
into discrete sheens.


Aaron Simon

The equinox followed
by sudden address
hydraulic hiss
from the last bus out
Skimming through night
to preview the dawn
where truths are noble
like dampening leaves
Our latitude is off
not long
for this world
its Hall of Immortals
and stone-
faced cats


Elizabeth Robinson is the author of several collections of poetry, most recently Rumor from Free Verse Editions.She has been a winner of the National Poetry Series and the Fence Modern Poets Prize and the recipient of grants from the Fund for Poetry, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and the Brown Foundation/Museum of Fine Arts Houston.  Her mixed genre book On Ghosts was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for poetry.


Melissa Mack is a poet and working person whose book The Next Crystal Text is just out from Timeless, Infinite Light. Recent poems appear in Elderly and forthcoming from 1913 Journal. Her chapbook Includes All Strangers was published by Hooke Press in 2013. Other earlier work includes poems and other writings in ATTN:, The Capilano Review, Try!, With+Stand, the anthologies What We Want: A List of Our Fucking Demands (Small Press Traffic) and Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot (PEN America), Poet’s Theater, the Alette in Oakland conference, and the Oscar Grant Plaza Gazette. She loves collective learning, participates in multiple reading groups, and helped organize the Bay Area Public School and the Oakland Free University. She lives and works in Oakland.


Aaron Simon is the author of Carrier (Insurance Editions 2006), Periodical Days (Green Zone Editions, 2007), Senses Himself, (Green Zone Editions, 2014), Rain Check Poems (BlazeVOX [books], 2015), and On My Way (Breather Editions, 2018). His recent poems have appeared in NoWhere, The Delineator, and Across the Margin. He lives in Oakland, CA.

False starts is curated by Steven Seidenberg
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