Obviously, with the title, ‘Waxing the Dents,” one might think we could have a lot of car poems here, maybe, but really what is the internal connection between those words and the title poem?
Well, let’s just say there is a tracing of the track, so to speak, between the disconnect, damage and brokenness of relationships, mainly as found in my own relationships between Fathers and sons and men in general due to what I perceive to be our lack of intimacy skills.
As the last stanza in the poem says,
He thought the fact that we’d
gathered there, under a
blazing, burnt August sky,
proved we had passed that
place on the road where
father and son kill each other
for fun, rather than spending
a long, silent day waxing the
dents in what men made to
carry them both far away
from each other.
Clearly, there’s a calm acceptance, a coming to terms, one could say with the presence of intense passionate emotional energy nurturing and sustaining a diverse range of subject matter and the voices they use to describe their experiences, could you elaborate on that?
Sure, I think early in my writing life, now into its 24th year, I began to realize that emotional energy was the gas tank gauge, revealing how much clarity, courage, and willingness were there to say what had to be said, especially when it came to anger, rage and reclaiming my body by using erotica to name where I live, in my body, in this world, in the intimate reflections of relationships. Like in the first lines of, “Eschatology,” a love poem for my wife, the poet and visual artist Laura Coe Moore,
Even though you can take me any way you want,
you’ve chosen to take me seriously, with teeth in my skin
reminding me why boundaries bleed in pleasure’s war
against the domination of reason…
or again at the end of “Parasympathetic Pink,”
Holding me down, like a brush in your glass,
I begged to be pink again, to feel myself splash off the end of you
like Pollack using bourbon for blue.
In the elegiac poems written for friends lost in the AIDS pandemic, rage became a magnifying glass helping me to get into and past the trauma of those losses.
From, “A Bethlehem Morning,”
Ask, “Where is the Christ of
those dazzling queens, those
baby-faced men with perfect hair
who could dance away darkness
forever? And what about the
angels they were given at birth,
divinely appointed to keep them
from evil, who watched them die
There’s also the sound of what might be a longing for deliverance, a recovery of something, from within yourself that needs to be owned before it can be released, any truth to that?
Yes, there is and the two areas of psychosocial trauma are institutional Christianity in childhood and drug addiction in my adult life, both of which are intimately connected. Poetry became a dialect of deliverance, a way to hear my voice in the ruins, and write some psalms of freedom, such as:
From “Mudslide Boy,”
the swallowing must have been,
and still be so wrong
about being right, like all religions based on blood
and the million ways to spill it.
And the end of “Glass Animal,”
The lighter scraped my
thumbprints raw as the dirty
glass bowl of dopamine clouds
became a place where nothing
lived, not even animals a child
might see. Maybe that’s what I
feared the most, that you
would find a piece of me
breaking through the sand,
then pull me out of a hole in
your foot, howling like an
If you will, please tell us little about your writing practice, how do these poems become what they are meant to be?
I start each day at 4:00 A.M. and spend two hours working on poetry related work such as responding to rejections, acceptances, emails from editors, revising work in process, and reading my favorite poets, such as Carl Phillips, Fanny Howe, Louise Gluck, Paige Lewis, and others. Having Asperger’s syndrome also is a major gift in terms of how natural it is for me to be so militantly disciplined and focused on my art. We have no arguments within.