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: Kevin Killian, Claudia La Rocco, and Tongo Eisen-Martin

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

Kevin Killian
for Anselm Berrigan
Just when you think something is real,
a diamond
it turns out to be cubic….
zirconium.  When does our luck
change, Anselm?  Is that
willow tree still weeping
there?  Two lifetimes I’ve
spent hunting the fake and
pasting glitter into the
holes.  Does that laddie
with the twinkling eye
sad and happy not
to see me there.
Next time our luck will
change: I’ll knock on the rock,
a huge crevice will appear,
with you in it, like that old-
time sword standing up.
The past and present king,
once and future Spring.


Claudia La Rocco
"Wish you were, wish I were”

                                                            for kes

It’s funny to get flowers when you’re traveling
You can’t keep anything

Eastern bloc skies
the right-wrong shade of orange                          electric-green stillness

Why didn’t I tell you certain things?

The hero walks in, walks out
The extras have no sense of propriety
I wonder about getting just what we desire.

The preamble at the butcher shop:
My, what big eyes you have


Tongo Eisen-Martin
Channels to fall asleep to

While shoe box to shoe box travels my childhood

Professionals roll garbage cans around a conference room
Half the size of a holding tank
Half the hope of a holding tank
Full of third world retail flattery
“nothing wrong with the blind leading the blind,”
                                                                                    we think they just said

porcelain epoch
succeeding for the most part
dying for the most part
married for the most part to its death

when a hostage has a hostage
that is u.s. education

stores detach their heads
and expect you to do the same when you enter

God says, “do not trust me in this room”

Two fascists walk into a bar
One says, “let’s make a baby.”
The other says, “let’s make three… and let the first one eat the other two.”

your sky or mine
read from
the book of pool room enemies

“I’m the best kind of square. Poor and in love with the 1960s. The first picture I ever saw in my life faded from my storytelling a long time ago.”

Not even ten years old
And most of you are on my shoulders

The store’s detached head smiled

casually be poor
            teach yourself
            how to get out of this room
            and we’ll leave you enough blood
            to turn off the lights
            on your way out

casually be poor…
            they are all cops when you are poor

Kevin Killian is a San Francisco-based writer and artist.  His books include Impossible Princess, Action Kylie, three volumes of  Selected Amazon Reviews, and Tony Greene Era.  Recent projects include a novel, Spreadeagle, and Tagged, nude portraits of poets, artists, writers, musicians, etc.  In 2017 Nightboat Books published Writers Who Love Too Much: New Narrative Writing 1977-1997, a capacious anthology Killian co-edited with Dodie Bellamy.

Claudia La Rocco is the author of the selected writings The Best Most Useless Dress(Badlands Unlimited, 2014) and the novel petit cadeau (The Chocolate Factory Theater, 2015). animals & giraffes, her duo with musician/composer Phillip Greenlief and an ongoing roster of collaborators, has released two albums: July (with various musicians; Edgetone Records, 2017) and Landlocked Beach (with Wobbly; Creative Sources, 2018)  Her poetry and prose have been published in 6X6 #34: I Like Softness (Ugly Duckling Presse), Imagined Theatres: Writing for a theoretical stage (Daniel Sack, ed; Routledge), On Value (Ralph Lemon, ed; Triple Canopy), et al. She has received grants and residencies from such organizations as the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation, and Headlands Center for the Arts.

Originally from San Francisco, Tongo Eisen-Martin is a movement worker and educator who has organized against mass incarceration and extra-judicial killing of Black people throughout the United States. His latest curriculum on extrajudicial killing of Black people, We Charge Genocide Again, has been used as an educational and organizing tool throughout the country. His book of poems titled, "Someone's Dead Already" was nominated for a California Book Award. His latest book "Heaven Is All Goodbyes" was published by the City Lights Pocket Poets series.


False starts is curated by Steven Seidenberg
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Later Event: April 20
24 Hour Telethon!