On Dominique Lowell

Because I have been working a bit again on my Critical Mass paper, I was curious about a poem I came across in an online reprint of a bike messenger zine, Mercury Rising #6. In the paper, I try to use the poem, “Bike Messenger Leading the People” by Dominique Lowell, as a sample of the social concerns within the messenger community around the time Critical Mass was founded. So who is this Dominique Lowell, I asked myself. Many people used pen names in the messenger zines so I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find more googling. But I did. For one, she appears to have worked as a San Francisco messenger in the early 90s and a similar version of “Bike Messenger Leading the People” appears in the Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. Her bio is printed in the New Underground Poetry compilation. I also found a great spoken word performance that appeared in 93 on Fog Town Network, and it’s a small showing of just how conflictive the early 90s were. In the style I was already introduced to in “Bike Messenger…,” Lowell spills vitriol on the smug hipster and alternative urban cultures that passively but aggressively seize city spaces. But the end is not just near, it’s here and we’re living it, she states in this great performance: