your mind and you are our sargasso sea

back writing i am wondering about why i like most writers i like. the one conclusive thing i can admit to is i am amazed by the risks taken, across the board--texture, density, language, sound, spare, over-wrought, imaginative, content material--

i get to wondering if i too risk enough like my writing heroes & the writing i enjoy... so many!

sitting at the tarp sky table at awp, andrew zornoza & i were talking about gordon massman, who was sitting to my left--whom i just adore as poet & person--about how amazing his work is, etc. andrew said gordon's work makes him feel he isn't risking enough or something like that--& i had never thought about writing like that before which now seems funny to me. i guess i feel i've always just put it out there for better or worse--but, i do agree with andrew & feel much the same way. am i doing enough?

so thank you awp. thats the best thing you couldve left me with. i mean hello, new book was pretty damn superb & hello, nerve-wracking readings were okay-this is doable--but now back writing i want to do more by way of putting it all out there. ive started seeing poems in my head all day again, for the first time in awhile. it feels good.

Gordon Massman

And this little piggy squealed "no, no, no, no," all the way home.
And then all the toes were accounted for: the big, the middle, the
nondescript, nondescript's neighbor to the East, the itty-bitty
which made baby laugh like a nautilus. And then the toes blinked
out like a disappearing photograph, and baby went on a minia-
ture vacation to Puerto Vallarta where a lion almost devoured
him like a fortune cookie, but he escaped and wind rattled the
blinds like dangling bones, and he whimpered and whispered a
prayer-precursor to the Divine Death Overture, something about
soft protrusions and blue rain. And baby Carroll decided he
was having none of it and shattered two panes in the living
room belonging to Daddy and his entourage one of whom played
the Ace of Spades and raked in the kitty while on the artery a
flying mechanical scream engulfed horizontal human moans
in a white steel cube smudged with a red intersection and far,
far away two events happened simultaneously: an imaginary
Holstein jumped over an idiot moon keeping constant vigil on
the continuous catastrophe, and in the silo accompanied by
secret platoons of yellow anthropods Jack finally found Jill's
gooey ooze representing nucleic acid's undeniable invincibility.

Trickhouse #5 Interview:

GORDON MASSMAN: I believe the great nerve-work and fiery forge within each one of us almost godly in its omniscience and powers of perception. I believe you, [...], are murderer, industrialist, mendicant, spiritualist, rapist, whore, misogynist, and lover. I believe you are all human permutations from Hitler to Gandhi. When a man is nailed to a tree for his sexuality or ethnicity, I believe you are both the nailer and the appalled. You both refuse slavery and smoke crack alone in dingy rooms. You are God and The Devil.

I throw as best I can, as believably as I can, the billion colors of human existence through the prism of myself. Over long and intense personal interior struggles I have unearthed my otherwise unspeakable capabilities and visceral dark emotions: rage’s boiling mud, shame’s hot cauldron, the alligators of self-loathing. Not only am I a beautiful child, I am a hideous monster.

Like us all.

Therefore, the person in my body and the person in my text are one in the same. He is me, and I am flinging from my deepest core—making visible—what is universal, I believe, in every male human being. I want my work to spark if not an already conscious embracing, then some subterranean dreamlike ghostly recognition of who you, my reader, are. I want to insist that my sometimes disturbing visions are more or less within everyone, with slight variations. Hasn’t every father fantasized infanticide? Doesn’t every husband want to binge on lovers. Doesn’t murder and suicide lurk in every man?

I subscribe to Eric Fromm’s concept of the word “love” (in The Art of Loving). Loving is an art to be practiced and mastered. To succeed one must make it his or her highest priority. Most fail. Most flounder in passive pools. I believe that, at sixty, after dozens of attempts, I have learned to love, passably, acceptably, maybe even beautifully. I do believe that loving is human beings’ most divine calling. It’s just infernally hard.