You have a book out with Great Weather for MEDIA, tell me about it.
I am very proud of this book. It is a memoir of sorts. Mostly stories and poems about my childhood and growing up poor, but also stories and poems about my life into adulthood. Dealing with addiction, dealing with epilepsy, dealing with the death of loved ones, remembering the path that got me here. Really though, I say fuck a lot and I try not to say too many dumb things.
Sounds like a downer, is that the case?
Well, I’m not a very funny. I can tell stories that have funny moments, but I myself am not a very funny person. I love to laugh, and am a stand-up comedy nerd, but I’m not very funny, no. I prefer dark humor and there are few more laugh worthy moments than running away from a burning meth lab and realizing that you will not be burning up with the trailer house. I may just have a weird sense of humor.
What are you reading right now?
About to start I wear the black hat by Chuck Klosterman, but am reading Amie Zimmerman’s chapbook, and everything on Drunk in a Midnight Choir.
You proudly call yourself white trash. Is that a reactionary thing to being called such names, or is that a political stance?
Which is it?
I have been called many things. Hillbilly, Heeb, Redneck, Wigger, Wedo, White Boy Willie, Jew, White Trash Willie, Kyke, Welfare Willie, etc. I am open to admitting that some or all of these might be true, but I am also a bitter about being called them. I don’t like being bitter, so I wear my scarlet letters proudly. I mean, my dad has a mullet and a Hulk Hogan mustache. He isn’t being ironic, he’s just kind of putz. I like to embrace my inner putz too. Plus it’s fun to see reactions to a poor Jew from the Midwest and South. Poor Jews are looked at weird. It confuses people like a chicken coop in the city, an is that even allowed? kinda thing.
That kind of upbringing seems like a difficult way to become a poet, what was it that made poetry and writing your path?
Well, my first reaction is to go on a rant about how Rich People have better resources and access to education and that leads directly to the career you choose (or most likely gets chosen for you), or your path in life. I have seen so much wasted potential in trailer parks, project houses, and poor farming communities. Those are the people the rest of the country ignores. The ones who suffer for the Rich People. I guess that is a relative term if there ever was one. Anyone who hasn’t had to wonder where their next meal was going to come from, or been homeless, or had to break the law to eat or stay warm, is a Rich Person to me. I’m the richest person in my family because I have a bank account, and they all think I’m famous because my name is on a book. And I know that Rich People don’t get some of my writing because they’ve never been through it, but I try to write these real life things into something even a Rich Person would understand. That was a joke…kinda. See? My sense of humor is weird.