portion of the artwork for Michael Meyerhofer's poetry

Michael Meyerhofer’s Comments

“When the World Will End”
Hollywood has convinced us that when disasters come, they find us prepared, beautiful, and articulate (at least for the hero, and what are we if not the heroes of our own stories?). But in my experience, the real world is astonishingly good at making us look stupid—or, better yet, reminding us of our own beautiful absurdity.

There’s something about being a kid that we tend to forget as we get older—namely, the blend of fascination and stark horror that we experience whenever we learn something altogether new that challenges our view of the world. This usually seems to happen in regards to mortality or sex, which always felt strangely intertwined when I was young, I think because I viewed sexuality (like death) as a dizzying, incomprehensible transition.

“Why Don’t You Dry Off After You Shower?”
I don’t know why but for some reason when I was 18 or 19, very depressed and deathly shy, I went through this phase where I’d barely dry off after showering. Looking back, I think it was probably a strange expression of grief over my mother’s death (and other things), plus a bit of a cry for attention from someone who had no idea how to interact with other humans.

“Flight Safety Instructions”
I suppose this is a bit of a meta poem, but it’s also about mortality and vulnerability, and the fact that they’re always there in the background of every situation, even though we instinctively work hard to ignore them, and are generally so successful that we don’t even realize it until a change in the status quo—some kind of turbulence—jars us back to our senses.

“Washroom Lamentation”
I’d wanted for years to write a poem about the ubiquitous awkwardness of men’s rooms, which I think serves as a metaphor for society and masculinity (as well as human fallibility and frailty), but the challenge was to work in some humor and express the awkwardness without going overboard. I remember being told after an earlier draft that there are some things you just can’t write about, which is something I’ve always disagreed with. Put another way, I think the more awkward and difficult and unromantic a particular setting is, the more it’s screaming for the kind of clarity that poetry can provide.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 53 | Spring/Summer 2019