Ten Things I’m Thinking About
Michael Fassbender in my bed. (Photo of MF by Mark Seliger for Vanity Fair, March 2012)
1. When you write a found poem, it’s like looking at one of those “magic pictures” in the mall, you have to let your logic go slightly out of focus as your eyes roam the text, keep track of the phrases that glitter at you from the rows and rows of scribblings, let go of that compulsion to drive the story, and instead let the phrases rearrange themselves as they will. It’s like walking into the very messy office of the smartest person on your staff and just trusting it all makes sense.
2. The thing about being a practicing Christian is that you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. With knowing that the Bible is true and you don’t get to pick and choose the passages you believe or don’t believe, the literal verses, the extended metaphors, but you have to believe it all even the places where it confounds you like the several places where it says that homosexuality is wrong that I can’t reconcile with the deep, abiding love I have for my gay friends.
3. I’ve known of several people who said yes to Christ and didn’t last a year, including my father, and well, Charlie Sheen, too. I think people are disappointed when Jesus isn’t Santa Claus. When life still sucks sometimes and is confusing and hard. When all your past mistakes don’t just disappear. But that’s just it. It’s not about our life, it’s about our service to others, that’s how it all works out. I mean everything goes wonky, including our lives, if we stare at them too hard, like how a perfectly innocent word—like “which” or “bulbous”—can suddenly look all wrong if you stare at it too long.
4. I am falling in love with the man who’s speaking in my poems. Or my poems are showing me the man I want to fall in love with. But I don’t want him to smoke. Even though once upon a time I loved a boy who smoked and wore Drakkar Noir and had a mullet. It was the late 1980s. Which is maybe an excuse. And I was lonely.
5. I don’t blame Chik-Fil-A for putting their money where their values lie. But the problem is that too many groups act as if homosexuality is a super sin of some kind, like it’s responsible for all of the world’s ills. What about poverty? What about lack of education? What about so many of our people sleeping on the street and eating out of garbage cans? Do they really think Jesus would go picket the funeral of an actor who appeared in a movie with gay themes when there were mouths to feed and parent-less kids to raise and comfort? Even if I let my eyes go all the way out of focus, I just can’t see the same Jesus they seem to be seeing.
6. A lot of life is about hunger.
7. I think that if I were to explain to Michael Fassbender about my poetry project, he’d get it. Because he’s Irish. And he has a sense of humor. But I could never tell George Clooney because he’s American. And American men are scared of poetry. Unless they’re poets. Or old hippies. Or went to prep school when girls still wore white gloves to school dances. I still remember how uncomfortable a musician I knew looked when I told him I was writing poems about his band. I think it was actual fear in his eyes. But I’ll be kind to the memory and say it was just discomfort. Who can blame him? They taught it to us all wrong.
8. You don’t have to get everything. You don’t have to understand everything. Sometimes just a phrase resonates. Or a series of sounds. Or a rhythm. Or just one image. Or sometimes the words just feel delicious in your mouth though altogether you’re not quite sure what they mean, and you don’t really want to know.
9. People want to know everything. We’re uncomfortable with faith. With having to acknowledge that someone else has a better answer than we do. Who are we if not the sum of what we know? I think we err when we measure success by the number of our answers rather than the number of our questions.
1o, Here’s a poem from the series. All of the found poems are from MF interviews. But i think maybe I told you that. Or maybe you follow me on Twitter. Or maybe you just know me too well.
“His Third Love Poem
Damn the consequences of trying to open myself up:
the repulsive, the naked, the dark ferocity.
We’re supposed to follow certain etiquette and behave.
If you don’t mind, I’m just gonna look at things without the sugar coating.
We have all these voids we try to fill in different ways.
I want to just do something good, to provoke
intimacy, see what happens underneath the veneer when
people break, when there’s no barrier.
Can we be more human in a way?
(Found in “Michael Fassbender by Josh Brolin,” INTERVIEW magazine, 2011)