September 14, 2019

Lindsey Boldt, Sara Jaffe & Steve Orth

Saturday, September 14
7:00 p.m.
Passages Bookshop
1223 NE ML King Blvd., Portland 

$5 suggested donation for the readers (no one turned away for lack of funds)

Lindsey Boldt's most recent publications include: Some Ennui (Portable Press @ Yo Yo Labs, 2019), <<(( ))>> (Couch Press, 2016), and Overboard (Publication Studio Portland, 2012). Her poems, essays, and stories have been published by Wolfman New Life Quarterly, Art Practical, The Drunken Boat, and The Poetry Foundation's blog, Harriet. With Steve Orth, she co-wrote and produced the plays "Dating by Consensus," "Escape from Century Hills," and "The Reading." She lives in Olympia, Washington on Squaxin and Nisqually land.

Sara Jaffe is a writer living in Portland, OR. Her first novel, Dryland, was published by Tin House Books in September 2015. Her short fiction, essays, and criticism have appeared or are upcoming in publications including Catapult, Fence, BOMB, NOON, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She co-edited The Art of Touring (Yeti, 2009), an anthology of writing and visual art by musicians, drawing on her experience as guitarist for post-punk band Erase Errata. She is also co-founding editor of New Herring Press, a publisher of prose chapbooks.

Steve Orth is a fiction writer, poet, and playwright. His work usually involves someone who works retail or service jobs being very confused as to how they ended up working in retail or service jobs. Steve has primarily worked retail or service jobs since the mid 1990's. His first full length book, The Life And Times Of Steve Orth will be published by Dogpark Collective in late 2019.

Poems from Some Ennui

Dang a birthday
how it stirs
a person

I have pulled
worse things from
a body
as I flicked it
through a garbage portal

I have pulled 
                     a chord
from my own chest &
watched it stretch & go

You know, how we
follow these 
threads around
always walking the dog
through space & time
you and I like yo-yo's

Thanks for being here too
it's better when you are

You could just as easily
not -- I know that's true
or come else-wise &
never been near me
on this grid

I have sat 
& stroked
a string 
or set, rather
like one might pet a harpsichord
like one might drag fingers through wet hair
not knowing if it mattered
but doing it to do it
hoping some tangle might loosen
& something come of it

At least it felt good
like finally being put to use
you know
how you go around
not knowing what you're for
some dug up instrument
lacking any context 

They think you're an over-sized fish hook
but really they just had to bend you like that
before they put you in the ground
so you couldn't 
cast anymore spells
from the other 


How I was
when I was like this
face up 
parting the loop hole 
upright in bed
rolling over
my faculties
in use 
or not
I was sure of only
light or music
things that pass
& cannot stay
maybe I was always 
only nothing too
passing for something
light & music
wind & anger
wind & history
looping in so
everything is cyclical
but also stacked
I'm that slinky
you've been jouncing
lucky I can slip
down the stairs
on my own
down the hall
& out the door
I'm going
when the pain comes
I go
in a perfect world
this world next to that one 
at all times

Lindsey Boldt

Burning Earth

For school we read the story about the Swimmer. The Swimmer set himself up a goal to swim his way home through every swimming pool in his town, which had a lot of swimming pools. Telling it this way it seems as if it would have been a funny story, but it was actually very sad. Either the man had lost his job and his house and everyone knew it but wasn't telling him, or a surreal time and memory thing was happening where the man's whole life funneled away from him over the course of the story. To me, this was a sad story, but it was mainly a story about topography. As much as I tried to stay zoomed in close to the character and the "very real pain he was trying to drown by swimming," as I wrote in my Reading Response, when I thought of the story I thought not of the man and his pain, but of a landscape seen from a plane, each swimming pool a cool gash, a window. From this distance the earth around the pools would seem very hot. If hot springs were the result of leftover volcanic fumes, and people came to cool forests to heat and heal themselves in them, then the pools seen from a plane would be the opposite. On a burning earth we would need these pools. On a failed earth we would want the map of the swimming pools that someone had built--not businessmen, not contractors, but a deeper someone--to save us. On my Reading Response my teacher wrote, "I see what you're getting at, but in fact the man is a very strong swimmer. So how is swimming going to help him drown?" I went to my teacher after class and said, "I'm sorry, I got us confused. I'm actually not a very good swimmer myself." My teacher changed my grade from a check to a check/check-plus. "Yes," he smiled, "It doesn't really seem like you're built for it." I went home and looked at photos of birds soaked in oil from the oil spill. I emailed my teacher, who had given us all his email address, to ask if, for my Creative Response, I could write a letter to the oil company. Dear BP, I wrote. I've recently lost my job, and everyone knows it. I'm interested in swimming all the oil spills of the world, and I've chosen yours to be my first. I'm thinking I'll need a special kind of suit. It will need to protect me from the oil, and I think it should also be made from a kind of material that will show some of the oil, but not all of it. What I'm wondering is, would you be my sponsor and buy me the suit? I'll put your name on it, and your logo. You should know that I'm not really built for swimming, so you may want to provide some kind of small boat or buoy to follow me around. Thanks so much. Then I wrote an email to my friend Gregor, who was always coming up with great plans for billboard alterations. He never did them because I was supposed to be his lookout and I was afraid of heights, but he often drew them on napkins at lunch. I would cringe because I was always waiting for the pen to tear through the napkin and I tried to offer him regular paper. Hey Gregor, I wrote, start thinking. I told him my plan and suggested he think of a way to alter the BP logo to have it make whatever statement he thought it should make. I tried to use the phrase World Stage as many times as I could in the email, to make it sound convincing and because I felt bad that he couldn't do any of his billboards because of me. I got into my swim trunks and stood in front of the mirror. Up until about a month before I had really, really wanted my breasts to start growing and as soon as I decided that maybe I just preferred them not to, there they went. Or here they came. These trunks were old shorts that weren't really waterproof because I couldn't ask my mom to buy me boys' trunks, nor could I buy them myself or ask Gregor to. I thought that it might be a good idea for me to sign my letter to BP with my first and middle initials, rather than my full name. I tried to look at myself in the mirror for awhile, then I tried to do other things, but soon I was looking at the pictures of the oil-slick birds again. They looked either slick and hard or very warm and soft, or as if I could make them safe by holding them.

Sara Jaffe


If I had a son

I would

name him


and I would teach

him things

and drive him to school.

But if Vladimir

was an asshole

or like a liar,

I'd probably

throw him

in a well

or something, because


I don't have

neither the time nor the energy

to be dealing

with toxic people.

at this point in my life.

You know what

I'm saying?

Steve Orth