I am driving up a mountain pass on my tractor,
a blue plume behind me, when I spot
an abandoned car on the side of the road
with no license plates. I am just cresting
the pass, my speed has slowed; I could almost
step off this tractor, I think, and start over,
and try something totally different,
like breaking both my ankles, I think, because
stepping off a moving tractor is so different
than say stepping off your back porch,
and the car is on blocks and all the wheels are gone.

I don’t know how to behave but
I know what I believe. I believe
that if I stick my head in the oven
I won’t take it out. I believe in
corduroy couch cushions. I believe
in digging a tunnel with a small
silver spoon. I believe in tunneling
with this spoon under the city
and never giving up.
I believe in after-breakfast naps
and Russian roulette—
Russian roulette while eating ice cream
as I watch the evening news.
I believe in the evening news.
And I believe in celebrity.

I believe in those photos
on the web of Putin playing doubles
Ping-Pong, outdoors, in his Speedo.
(Find those.) I believe in haircuts
and bubble gum, and putting my face
down into a pillow or cushion,
and that when I do this I will see
the future, plus other cultures, most
of them, and I’ll get work done
that couldn’t be done another way.

I believe in tacos and mortification.
I believe that all people fall
into one of two categories: Doonesbury or Far Side.
Well, or Andy Capp. Andy Capp type people.
They’re everywhere.

Are you an ascot man, or a poncho man?


Do you like butterscotch pudding?


What is the title of your new collection of poems?

Thin Kimono.

Isn’t that a brand of condoms?


Is that an electrical wire poking out from beneath your haircut?


When you envision a “lump in your pants” is it in the front or the back?

Poncho man.

When I swing this baseball bat past your face maybe tell us a little something about your childhood.

Dayton, Ohio.  My mother wrote sonnets on my face with a Sharpie.  My father drove a dump truck called Heidegger.

Can you say something about your feelings for me as an interviewer?

[at this point the interviewee stands up and tries to flip the desk over but can’t;
he says “poncho man” a number of times… ]

Would you say you were an “earnest” person?



Would you say you were an “earnest” person?

Poncho man.