Thursday, April 30, 2015

Felix Bernstein interviewed me for The New Museum on Speculative art and praxis

What’s death and destruction got to do with your art?

“From Whitman to WalMart” is a new poem I am writing where I start at Whitman’s doorstep viewing him as head cheerleader of empire with his essays calling African Americans “baboons” and his poem for the western pioneers written during the great extermination of Native Americans.  80% of WalMart stores allow sleeping overnight in their parking lots, which I do, meeting homeless families stretching across America, the true results of Whitman’s love of Manifest Destiny.  I show Whitman’s writing as the original TV commercial hiding the true body of unbridled greed that continues to destroy everyone and everything in its path.  I refer to myself as an intestinal expatriate poet.

“Resurrect Extinct Vibration” is another new poem.  In this one I saturate myself with field recordings of recently extinct birds and animals while taking long naps on the earth across America.  I begin writing as soon as I wake, but in the sleeping I return the vibrations of these creatures to my cells, viewing a degraded ecology as vibrational absence along with its poisoned air, water and soil.  In September 2014 the World Wildlife Fund’s biennial “planet index report” claims 52% of wild animals have vanished in the past three decades.  I am accepting and recording the sixth mass extinction currently underway.

Since 2006 I have stopped cutting my hair as both a reminder that my nation is at war and to use as a measuring device for the latest body count for a long poem now over 3,000 pages long.  We are currently bombing six nations simultaneously where we were bombing two when I started.  

To directly answer your question: everything.  I am a queer American who had a boyfriend I loved but someone bound, gagged, tortured and raped him, then covered him in gasoline and burned him to death.  His name was Mark.  He changed his name to Earth.  He was beautiful.  Do not forget this.  The artist Jason Dodge published my serial poem about this that you can read to not forget at

What’s philosophy got to do with your art?

Well I believe poetry is strong enough.  The power of poetry has not failed me like it has failed some poets in recent decades who hoist philosophy to buttress the poem.  It feels misogynistic in a way, like poetry is too feminine, too weak, needs a man’s ideas to move forward.  Love philosophy -- go ahead, I’m not an anti-intellectual I simply don’t need it to make poetry appear more vigorous.

Sigmund Freud said, “Everywhere I go I find a poet has been there before me.”  Not philosopher, but poet.  And you can have whatever feelings you want about Freud but no one can disagree that he changed how we view the landscape of human emotion and the origins of feeling.  “Everywhere I go” is bold.  It’s direct and from a man who was as careful with his words as a poet.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


In a Kansas field I spent several hours burying my feet in the soil while listening to the insects, birds and cars on the highway beyond the trees.  I was born January 1st 1966 at the 838th Tactical Hospital, Forbes Air Force Base of Topeka Kansas.  My mother said the doctor held me by my ankles and announced, “ANOTHER FINE SOLDIER FOR JESUS!”  And I say FUCK YOU to those first words said to me!  My mother ate food grown on this land when I was inside her; we drank from the same aquifer, the sky was as big as it is today.  I took notes for the poem. I dug a hole and deposited shit, piss, vomit, blood, phlegm, hair, skin, fingernails, semen and tears, and in that order. I apologized for being alive.

I apologized for the animals I shot and killed to prove I could provide dinner.  I apologized for having no answers on how to stop the hyper-militarized police on the streets of America while the US military is on the streets of Arab nations. I apologized for paying taxes that purchase the bullets, bombs and drones.  I am a citizen of the United States my nation is guilty of war crimes.  I apologized for not convincing my queer sisters and brothers that repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was only putting a sympathetic face on a multi-trillion dollar military industrial complex.  I apologized for not finding a way to protect Chelsea Manning.  I apologized for not preventing my boyfriend Mark from moving to Tennessee where his murderers awaited.  I am a citizen of the United States my nation is guilty of hate crimes.  I apologized for many things for a long while then covered the hole with my offerings and took more notes for my poem.

AT THIS LINK (a RADAR fundraiser)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


A few people have written to me about my “From Whitman to WalMart” (Soma)tic poetry ritual I am currently doing.
Part of the ritual involves sleeping in my car in WalMart parking lots.
Some poets have written saying they also want to do this.
Please let me share some information with you.

80% of WalMarts allow parking to sleep, but make sure you are parking in one of the 80% that allows this.

Always sleep in the drivers seat.

Always have the windows all the way up.

Always have keys in the ignition READY to go.

Please ALWAYS park so you have a straight shot out of there, and please don’t ever park so that you
need to back out.

I made the mistake of parking at a WalMart among the 20% that doesn’t allow parking to sleep and I woke to find a group of men (I don’t know if it was five or six of them) around the car looking in the window at 3 in the morning. 
One of them had either a baseball bat or 2X4. 
But in just a second I pulled myself forward with the steering wheel, turned the ignition and floored the gas to get out of there.

Close calls are part of living on the road and should be expected.
Please consider my advice because you never know…
Also it is important to have conversations with the other people parking to sleep because most tend to want to talk, especially the homeless.
The retired folks parking their campers and RVs seem less interested in talking, but the homeless, especially the homeless families want to talk because they share information with one another about how to survive out there.

For the better part of 1970 my mother and I lived in our car.
I keep trying to think if it was easier then or now and my conclusion is that it’s a little of both for both.
If you get a WalMart that allows sleeping you are safe so far in my experience.
In 1970 my job was to take care of the can opener.
The can opener was a valuable tool back then but not so much for my life today.
Restrooms are much nicer today of course.
In 1970 gas station bathrooms had a kind of abrasive, toxic powdered soap that came out of a dispenser and it seemed to take a lot of water to remove the oily film it left on your body.
There were far less cars back then and it seemed easier to sleep in out of the way locations.

My one cousin in the army is giving me a camouflage net to throw over my car so I can park off-road and this is not ideal of course, but might be useful.

I hate to make this JUST about survival because it is a beautiful thing to be living on the road, meeting new people, stretching across the belly of the planet.