Interview with a Poet — Thinking About Poetry Series

Interview with a Poet — Thinking About Poetry Series

Image by Author (Pre-Pandemic-Quarantine weight-gain, of course.)

Happy Friday, everyone! I was asked by Zay Pareltheon to participate in Scrittura’s “Thinking About Poetry” series, and my response was published here. Thank you for inviting me to participate, Zay. I enjoyed writing it far more than I imagined!

Pete Beardsworth – Everything is Just Colors and Shapes – This song just feels like Happy Friday morning to me.

State of the Kiln

World outside my window (Image by author)

State of the Kiln

Well, hello there! I suppose I have a bit of explaining to do, what with my whole ghosting of my own blog for a few months and whatnot and so-forth. To my half-dozen loyal fans, I apologize. I promise that it wasn’t planned.

Everyone in my family is safe and accounted for so far. Thank the Infinite, the fickle forces of fortune, or whatever deity you prefer. I am certainly grateful, all things considered. So, where have I been?

You see, what happened was …

… well … you know …

*gestures passively at the world*

 … all this.

You see this shit too, right?

A few fun facts about me; (1) I am almost famously, aggressively non-confrontational, to my own detriment; (2) I foolishly expect the world to respond to my kindness and empathy in-kind, and once that blows up in my face; (3) I have odd, quirky ways of dealing with my runaway anxiety and depression, and yeah, I’m talking about fixations beyond my normal go-to mind-numbing solutions.

These unprecedented times are when my normal escapisms (alcohol, weed, writing, gaming, sex, porn, etc.) don’t quite cut the mustard.

I still indulge in them, but, I mean, come on; Erin and I actually discussed a bug-out plan where we drain our bank accounts, leave everything behind, and flee to Canada if things continue to go south … and that’s … well … hilariously insane coming from citizens of a so-called “developed nation’s middle-class”.

I’m surrounded by people who voted for Voldemort to Make Nightmares Great Again. What’s worse, many people who I once respected believe that both choices are equally bad instead of the more rational perspective of “less than ideal” versus the continuing nightmare hellscape full of rabid, heavily armed, utilikilt-clad, incel manbabies. (No disrespect to peace-loving utilikilt enthusiasts. It’s a great look as long as you’re not actively assaulting LGBQT and/or interracial couples.)

Many of my former colleagues cannot be bothered to even try to have sympathy for the marginalized, the oppressed, the voices forever silenced by the state in racist, sexist, classist government systems that are apparently functioning as intended.

(I’m not saying Biden is the solution, as we’ll have to hold him to his promises, but he’s not naked aggression and brazen fascism either. That’s where we are politically; “He’s kind of a dick too, but at least he’s not an openly bigoted fascist!” I’m depressing myself again and getting way off track.)

I feel tidal swells of empathy for those backed into a corner, left with no recourse but to flee with the clothes on their backs, depending on the kindness of strangers, and it just recently occurred to me that the idiocy of fate could place me in those shoes in just a hilllbilly racist’s heartbeat.

Contemplating all this really fucked me up for a minute. Anyone and everyone alive can be – and are – only two or three bad days away from being without a home of their own; from being without a freaking country of their own.

So yeah, jingoism at the gates, pandemic at the disco and everywhere else, the rising dreadful sensation that no one is coming to our rescue, and what do you get? You get a trauma, and you get a trauma, and wifey gets a trauma, and Barry needs a fuck-ton of hugs just like everybody else. Or something stronger than my normal escape tactics.

Some of my extra-curricular fixations include color-coordinating the towels in the linen closet (Erin loves this one), daily raised-leg pushups (this one too), picking my old scab wounds till they bleed again (Erin’s not too trilled with this one), and tugging at my pandemic beard until I leave bald splotches on my face (Erin hates this one).

I also pulled back from nearly all my social media platforms, except for Medium. During my hiatus from here, I published over 50 unique poems and/or short stories, much of it along the lines of soft erotica. Most of my work is for other Medium publications and is therefore behind a paywall.

I dunno; I haven’t sold-out or anything. In fact, my most lucrative month was in December when I earned nearly nine dollars. I can’t explain it; it just feels good writing there, almost as good as color-coordinating towels, pulling out my beard-hairs and preparing a bug-out bag.

I also write for my friend Tre’s Medium publication, A Cornered Gurl, which is not hidden behind a paywall because Tre has always been awesome like that. That’s just how she rolls.

So, where do we go from here? Am I back now? I have no idea. I’ll try to keep a presence here, as the WordPress community has been very kind to me. But as we know, the only constant in the cosmos is change, and like it or not, change is coming for us all.

I’m trying to be gentle with myself, and I thank you for your continued grace and patience as we continue to find our way through … you know … *gestures haphazardly* … whatever the hell this is, and whatever tomorrow brings.

Your blogmate,

Barry  

P.S. – Here are a couple of Christmas photos.

World inside my window (Image by author)
Bookie, snug as a bug (Image by author)
The Doodle-Bug, with her cute, sticky, gross hands ruining my favorite Christmas ornament, Wally Payton. Meh, it’s just stuff. It’s not like I included it in my bug-out bag or anything. Her mom’s in the background, pretending to work. (Image by author)

UPDATE: Whelp, guess it’s back to pulling out my beardhairs…