portion of the artwork for Michael Dwayne Smith's poetry

Michael Dwayne Smith’s Comments

Wouldn’t write poems if they weren’t bloody chaotic adventures. That’s what I demand of the experience—whelping surprise.

What I start gets subverted, redirected, exploded—you know, intentionally jacked up, in order to find an unintended place and away from whatever I “thought I was going to say.” For good measure, structure, rhythm, language, music all get jostled yet again, sometimes violently, especially if a draft bores when read aloud. We take Serendipity for some wild rides (me and my horses, in the Joy Harjo sense) and thus can find ourselves pretty far afield.

That’s when Mister Logic Pants gets let out of the box. He identifies shards of rationality and supervises use of intuitive glue to form a poem’s final mosaic of shapes, edges, and colors.

We respect Mr. LP, and congratulate him when a process concludes, but we’re always a little uncomfortable during the obligatory beers-n-cheers that follow. Back in the box, Mister Logic Pants, back in your all too well-organized box.

“The Entrepreneur and His Fortunes” is a mutant bit of ekphrasis. A photographer friend of mine likes to shoot crumbling Mojave Desert towns and happened to capture the front of a long-shut local seafood restaurant. Standing guard at the entrance is a life-size Cap’n, complete with skipper cap and pipe and rain slicker. Made me wonder about who started the business, its story in the town, why it closed. This led to pondering the real life Cap’n of industry, and us trying to captain our own lives, and who serves who, and … well, you get the picture.

“We Cover Our Heads from Light” percolated out of a particular day of hypersensitive voyeurism directed at the beat-down people walking around my All American small desert town. You, too, have seen them shuffling about, no doubt. 

“this sunday feeling” is a play on poem titles from Tao Lin’s this emotion was a little e-book, published at Bear Parade. This was in fact my first contact with Tao Lin. The occasion had to be marked, and since I couldn’t pee on it, I responded in my usual way: a shiny object is something I pick up, turn around, play with until something new shakes out. Ta-da!

“What Raven Steals” and “The Reformed Painter Poet Fails an Imaginary Artist” are a newer species for me. Am secretly pleased with these and with their progeny (offspring coming to a journal near you). Again, I’m always monkeying with the genetic blueprints of my poems, hoping to stumble into experiments that move the language and ideas into territory heretofore unknown. These got me there. Love exploring the in-between, borders, transitions, the silence that separates Basie’s notes. That’s how these felt, how they surprised in the bricolage.

And with that, I’ll leave you good and generous readers to them.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 41 | Summer 2013