d with d

Poetry is a throwback to a time when music was only a rumor; isn’t even love different than it was 20 years ago?

It’s like music composed of memories, or like if memories were chords, or remembering chords in place of people, in place of places, names instead of corpses instead of faces. Nobody worries too much because it just sounds right.


Full-length albums are one of the few stable footholds for the past, so the act of piracy is literally saving the dead?

I mean, steal your grandparents, steal your whole culture. I used to be a student—perhaps we all were—but, after a time, there were no more students; everyone was too magnificent for sitting in classrooms pretending to learn things. Now, everyone reads books and no one has time for war. Everyone watches movies all day, sings along, makes murals that encompass whole city blocks.


It’s like, if we keep training people the same way, we’ll keep having all the same problems? Laundry will go undone, or if it’s done, it’ll just be done over and over, spin cycle, spin cycle, spin cycle, until the clothes all disintegrate. You dig?

Yeah, if you have to tell people what you are, you’re obviously not what you think you are. No charming person ever said “I’m charming” to someone who wasn’t already completely aware of that person’s unique charms. Only thoroughly good people have told me that they’re evil. In this way, I distrust books that have to tell me that a certain scene is beautiful and profound. It makes me suspect the author’s just staring at the dirt rings in their empty tub.


“Either I’m in a beautiful field with all my beautiful friends and important things are happening all around us, or I kill myself right now.”

“Either the water comes out of the faucet and drowns the whole world, or I leave here clean.”


What’s sadder, someone saying “I’m special” or someone saying “I’m worthwhile”? 

I think a lot of my enemies are ancient ghosts, bent on taking their revenge on the whole world. They’re the couple seconds of silence before the song picks back up and you realize that’s not music, it’s math, and that’s okay, you’ll die too, and when you’re dead you’ll wish the whole world turns out the exact same way.

It’s Phoenix, Arizona, all over again. 

Basically, until people stop pretending their nihilism means something they’ll never be able to have fun with it. They’ll spend their days building new golf courses instead of ever having an orgy on the short, soft pelt of the putting green. I don’t think anybody’s ever done that, and that’s a dumb thing to never have done, during summer or a warm weekend in autumn.


Ugh. Who will save us from ourselves?

It’s like in the Wachowskis’ Speed Racer, where Royalton breaks it down for Speed—all the races are fixed, “All that matters is power, and the unassailable might of money.” They can try to strip us of hope, make us despair. They can put a $1,000,000 bounty on our heads, hire ninjas to poison us, threaten us with bombs, financial ruin, mockery. But if we don’t give in, they can never rest easy. And undoubtedly one of us will get them.


How one can never functionally relinquish one’s privilege, but one can use their security clearance to leak thousands of pages of classified documents to the world?

One’s secret thoughts leaking out through poetry journals… The noise an egg makes admitting one single sperm.


How do you poem?

Think of the thoughts the world should have.


How do you poem?

Eat of the spirit and shit it out.


How do you poem?

Poems can only fill the void prayer leaves. One gets down into a subservient position, thinks really hard about an accident that will happen in some years or decades, and then calls 911 to ask for forgiveness.


The reading series, If Not For Kidnap—

The joy of allowing someone to use your brain for awhile and the arbitrary lineage of time. It’s like, if you think to do it, why not do it?


The book. Eyelid Lick. Lineage?

Ecclesiastes -> Twilight of the Idols -> Naked Lunch -> Grapefruit -> Miss America


And the next one?

So far:

The Pillow Book -> “The Wreck of the Deutschland”  -> The ROVA Improvisations -> PiHKAL -> To Live Don’s Life

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DONALD DUNBAR lives in Portland, Oregon, and helps run If Not For Kidnap. His first book, Eyelid Lick, won the 2012 Fence Modern Poets prize, and a chapbook, Slow Motion German Adjectives, is out from Mammoth Editions. He's been interviewed by people besides himself at Harriet and BOMB.

Profile image: Drawing of Donald Dunbar by Zachary Schomburg

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