Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bunch Of Pals Asking Me Questions: Part 3

Where can I find some awesome MC Hammer style pants? - Laura Straub

I rarely speak of this because I’m afraid he’ll demand them back: my high school best friend actually bought those pants for an 80’s themed Christmas karaoke party we had at the Dairy Queen we worked at in high school. He wore those and an Iron Maiden shirt. We lived together in college and I would add them to my laundry and wear them around the house. Eventually, I moved out and kept the pants. One day, he said he hated me and I said I probably hate you too and we never spoke, especially of the pants, again. So I guess you could see if he’s found a new pair.

(Sadly, I won't have these for the tour. I left them in Muncie SAD FACE)

What if God was one of us? - Ryan Rader
I’d have a legit reason to believe.

Who are your biggest literary crushes (alive or dead)? - Laura Straub
What does the word "crush" mean anymore? I thought I knew what it meant, but now I'm not sure. I remember "crushing" as being like I wanna leave that person on the mantel of my heart and look at them when I go into the kitchen to get some popcorn. Now, it's more like I wanna buy that person a beer and let them talk and I'll laugh and maybe if all goes well we can swing our legs over the side of the front porch and I'D BE SO HAPPY.

Actually, these are probably similar answers to who do I most admire in the scene, as far as the alive ones go, since sexuality has been thrown out the window (by who you ask? I'm not sure or don't wanna blame anyone, but it seems obvious, no?)

Add to the list:
- Nick Sturm: absolutely one of the people I enjoy talking to the most.
- Matt Hart: probably the coolest person on earth.
- Abraham Smith: I'm not sure how those poems come out of a human being.
- Melysa Martinez: have you seen that picture of her in body paint? have you talked to her? (I know you have, Laura, so "you" here is everyone and no one and me)
- You: after not seeing you for what five years, AWP was a tease; you're lovely and wonderful and IM SO RIGHT ALWAYS.

Is there any connection between your love for music and your love for poetry/language/literature? - Christopher Newgent

Absolutely, how I came to them, how I experience them, both come from this little stage of yearning inside me, this sense of both wanting to be better adjusted, or at least expressed, whether I'm doing it or living through someone else, and also that human need to be a part of something greater than myself.

I've never been a musician. I've tried to play guitar. I've wanted to learn to play the drums. I can't sing worth a shit. But I'm great at getting stoked and supporting and showing up. So from like 14 years old and beyond, I went to local shows, to see touring bands, friends bands, and whoop and holler and say GOOD JOB. When I couldn't play it, someone else seemed to know the song that would simmer down my silly heart or buck up my chin.

With writing, especially readings, I come to it because the poems and stories and essays that people are reading and writing today speak to me and for me when I'm too tired to get up from your couch. I know this isn't a good answer, I feel like I could write pages upon pages on this, but I think this settles one thing: it's not about me or you or Matt Bell or Brian Oliu or Layne Ransom or Ashley Ford or Laura Straub, for me; it's about that ability to hold each other up, to be a part of something greater than ourselves, to constantly be looking for what I can be a part of today to make tomorrow better, some of my most important life lessons from that sadly defunct In The Face Of War.

Where have all the cowboys gone?

I saw them throwing a pigskin last night on a television, like standing on top of a TV, or maybe it was a picket fence in Ohio. They thought it was a river. They had hats on made of dead things, but maybe their shoes were still alive. Their horses couldn't walk on the blacktop. Their wives couldn't walk at all. It was strange to see a gunfight in a public place and feel okay about it. I'm surprised you can't find them; their hope broke down about 3/4 a mile back thataway. It has a lowercase t painted on the side. Each of them looked alike but also completely different. Brown jeans and silly necklaces, glow sticks in their mouths. Except one, who didn't even look like himself. He looked like a pro football player because he was wearing a helmet and shoulder pads.

Who are you? - Ryan Rader

Probably closer to these 16 and 18 year old versions of myself than I'd like to admit.

Why do you think hardcore/punk held such importance for guys like us when we were growing up in the Midwest? And how do you feel about that kind of music now that you're a college graduate? - Ryan Rader

We Midwest teens have a strange struggle between frustration and hope. It is both with others and ourselves. Sure, we're pissed about how shitty our communities are, but we're also pissed that we haven't done more, tried a little harder in school, volunteered more at the hospital, spent less money on Taco Bell, to aid in that betterment. That might be the first time I've admitted that. Yet still, we seem to have a hopefulness that is inextinguishable, even though it may hide in the garage at times. We see the potential in the friend who will probably be a rad firefighter, if he just finishes high school. We know there's a good chance we might say something that makes someone not kill themselves someday. And that is where punk/hardcore music, at least for me and the bands I listened to growing up (Comeback Kid, Have Heart, In The Face of War, Shai Hulud, Welcome Home; feels funny but I'd even put the Distillers in here, who I've never been able to get myself to stop listening to), thrives: in that expression of frustration and guilt and rage, but in that unshakable optimism, no matter how subtle.

Maybe it is because I've moved back home, I'm single again, I'm hanging with a couple of the dudes from I used to back in those days again, and I'm recovering from my most terrible nervous breakdown, but these songs and bands and attitudes mean more to me than ever. Like I've been listening to "Turn It Around" by Comeback Kid on repeat for a few weeks; those two minute blips of THIS SUCKS BUT IT'LL PROBABLY BE OKAY save me again and again.

Do you think your pomes have social relevance? - Christopher Newgent

My poems have as much social relevance as this tiny-tailed cat on Christopher's floor . Does my father have social relevance? Social relevance is my pickup ; my poems are the bed Thomas Patrick Levy likes to ride in. My poems have as much social relevance as a dumb rock. Does Cracker Barrel have social relevance? Social relevance is a cable package ; my poems are a show you've never seen. My poems have as much social relevance as I do. Does homemade pottery have social relevance? Social relevance is skateboarding ; my poems are assholes. My poems have as much social relevance as pygmy goats. Does disc golf have social relevance? Social relevance is here today; my poems are on the road tomorrow.

Why don't you call anymore? - Kyle Broyles

A little messy pile of factors: 1) me moving away; 2) the haunting fact that you knew Sara way before I did (even though that's pretty much irrelevant, I know); 3) I'm a routine guy and you're not and we fell out of "running into each other"; 4) a little disappointment in the fact we didn't hang more when we were neighbors.

Anywhatever, I think you're mega-neat. I'm glad you came to the reading last night. I hope I call you soon.

How about the not very literary just to shake things up: How do you view the role human beings play in context with the natural world, and why? - David Tomaloff

I think my answer to this question can be summed up by explaining the differences between disc golf and ball golf and how they interact with nature and thus how I am a part of it because of the sport (disc golf duh) that I play 4-5 days a week.

Disc golf courses typically are typically in places that are already being used by the public, like parks, or places that exist in kind of a cleared yet unused area, like church land (though these usually suck) or a wooded dump (ELWOOD). Typically, the amount of trees and other plants that needs to be cut out is minimal, and the grass does not need to be maintained beyond mowing. Ball golf, on the other hand, typically, uses specific-to-that-sport land and requires a good deal of artificial maintenance of the grass and trimming of trees and such. I prefer disc golf for other reasons as well, like the flailing grace of the sport and the subculture, but this aspect is super admirable and aligned with what I think as the answer to your question: be minimal in the effect and maximal in the fun, man.

BTW: if anyone ever wants to play or talk about disc golf, I'm more than happy to do this with you. Like stoked.

Which poem was the hardest to pen and why? - Melissa Ewers

Here I'm taking hardest to mean the biggest emotional jut my body experiences when I finish a poem: An Addition of Blank Spaces. I wrote this after reading "King of the Rats" by David Peak at Wigleaf, an intense little smack of a story. It's a wacky wild associative trainwreck that shook me up quite a bit. One of those that you look at and say "where did that come from, dude?" and you're face has no answer. I still am like WOAH WUZZ when I read it.

Here is the start of it:

The webcam is a family man
which makes the teenager

a shotgun answering the chat
request in double-clicked pow pows.

Sometimes a better solution
is to buy a leopard or hide

yourself in a blank reflection
of the moon. This is a hint

towards the survival of 2011.
I can only slaughter a virus

so many times, a lesson a father
should teach. Sturdy, imagine a tarp

over his bald head.

Do you ever worry or think about the distance between the speaker in your poems and you as a poet/person? Are you okay with people assuming you're the speaker, or do you work to maintain that you & your speaker(s) are separate entities? - Joshua Helms

What is it that Dean Young says? Something like "All my poems are autobiographical. I just don't know who they're about." Maybe I'm too emotional, maybe I'm too selfish, maybe I'm not smart enough of a poet-thinker, but I don't worry about this at all. A good deal of my poems in here are "me" as the speaker, sure, but even the ones that are not "actually me," like "An Addition of Blank Spaces," the speaker is a part of me, came out of some wacky feeling, some point of my body sitting in a room, and I have no problem acknowledging that fact. I have a poem in my first chapbook called "Unlimited Texting," which is a sestina with the ending words being text lingo like LOL and BRB, and it is in the persona of a young teenage girl about losing her best friend. That's not me, obviously, never was, but when I read that poem, I feel like that is about me. To riff a bit on what Gregory Sherl said in an interview I did with him awhile back (Is “Where You Were” Realer Than “What You Were Feeling?”) I wonder if it matters who you are, who is talking, and does it matter more than what the speaker is feeling and what the reader is feeling in response? Sure, that can be me, as long as we are all feeling the goodness!

If Rambo and Johnny Castle dined at the Golden Corral, what would they talk about? - Ashley Farmer

Possible topics: the aesthetics of kicking ass, how are the potatoes, how they both have the first name John, war as dance, dance as war, cool painting on the wall, not girls though Castle would try, me obviously

What is your terrible power? - Ashley Farmer

One of my favorite bands, Away With Vega, have a song that goes: "Don't talk to me about rebuilding, because I've lifted up, and I've let down, everyone that I know well." Sometimes that lyric gets in my gut and I'm like GEESH MAN TERRIBLE.

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