Melissa Broder is a poet. In Scarecrone, her latest collection, she writes poems about right now, modern life, not about phones and cars and computers but the way we feel. The things we tell ourselves to survive, the way we frame our experiences so that we may live with them. When you finish reading her poems, it is very likely that lines that you have just read will bounce around your brain, like lil’ ribbons attached at the bottom of a kite (and that’s how you know it’s real). She also has an amazing twitter account that you should follow because we all need little bursts of poetry in our daily lives. We talked over email about life, magick, and teenage girls.
Laia Garcia: Did you always know you want to be a writer or were there other times were you were seduced by other things?
Melissa Broder: I started writing poetry in third grade. My teacher Mrs. Hovey said I had talent. That kind of positive feedback felt good, because I was otherwise a bad student (spacey, always daydreaming, typical poet). So I kept writing. Also, the act of writing just felt good. As an anxious child who never felt comfortable in her own skin, writing poems offered relief—and poetry still functions that way for me. I fantasized that one day I would grow up to be a poet. At that time the only poetry I had read was Shel Silverstein. My first poems were rhyming poems.
Here is one of my first poems:
The Candy Shop
When I walked into a candy shop the first thing I saw was a lollipop
I think I’ll have some Lifesavers, or maybe a cookie with five different flavors
How about a peppermint stick, or maybe a chocolate Twix?
Cherry candy would be dandy
A chocolate sweet would really be a treat
[something something I don’t remember this part]
How about a cake with honey?
Oops I forgot I didn’t bring any money
Ah, I love this! There is something about it that seems unmistakably yours, even at a young age. Indulging in this fantasy and then real life hits and you’re just like “oh, oh well,” which is a feeling I get in a lot of your poems I think, and why I relate to them. The feeling of “ugh, the world” but instead of “woe is me,” it’s more of an… “ok it is what it is and move on” kind of reaction. More of a fighting feeling, not so much to belong but to exist in the world the way you are.
Yes, it’s a real struggle for me in reality. I think I’m just wired to want out—not in a suicidal way, necessarily, but in a shift-in-perception way. In a relief from self way. I’m always looking for secret vehicles and passageways out. Sometimes the vehicles are dangerous, or like I get hooked on the vehicle itself. I attribute the feeling of escape or pleasure to a particular vehicle, rather than the destination or something that already exists somewhere within myself, and kind of move into the backseat. I forget that there are other vehicles or life outside it. But poetry is one way of getting out of myself that has never hurt me. It can be slower than the other vehicles, but it is very powerful.
Yes, that makes perfect sense. I think in the end everyone is trying to find that vehicle. Sometimes I just want out of my brain, like how nice would it be to turn your brain off for a little while and exist in this sort of, white-out room bliss with nothing else invading your being? I am still looking for my vehicle though, or maybe I just need to take it for a tune-up. (I don’t drive and therefore I’m bad at car analogies). But anyways, I feel that when I read your poetry and I think it helps me escape also. I’m sure it helps a lot of people escape, I mean, that’s why we all read, right?
I recently moved to LA (Venice) and am deep in the car game. One of my favorite things is to drive around LA with the sunroof down and listen to rap. It gives me white-room bliss (you gotta learn the traffic patterns so you can get the open road, but it’s there). I mostly bike and walk everywhere in Venice, but once or twice a week I get out of my neighborhood and go driving and it’s the best.I’m really glad my work helps you (and maybe others) escape. I am all about escape.
scarecrone by melissa broder is now available through the emily books imprint, curated by emily gould
my poetry book, takahe, is available now for pre-order
cover is by kelly schirmann
2 cosas pegajosas -
hoy traduzco bebiendo a sorbos un gin&tonic mal hecho en noche de verano tan caluroso dos poemas de óscar garcía sierra:
two sticky things
BOOTY OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS
i don’t know how to dive in head first and i don’t know if that makes my head feel disappointed. my girlfriend has a pool and my girlfriend’s pool has a smaller pool
that contains the liquids that don’t yet smell bad enough to be
happy without us. the deeper i dive in her pool the more i feel like my girlfriend exists and the more i feel something the more disappointed i feel when it’s finally the feeling of someone. we bathe together until we shrink so much that people could carry us around in the pocket of their swimsuits and forget that we are there until we’ve shrunk again so much that we don’t know if we’re bathing together. my girlfriend’s pool has a family of pools to feed and works hard
for a shitty wage in order to protect her little pool from tv shows
starring drugs and bodily fluids. underwater you try to walk in heels
but since i don’t know how to dive you return to the surface with the same face that you make when i don’t know how to make you happy
underwater we need each other so much that we invent porno versions
of cartoons. the version of cartoons where man reaches a state in which everything that leaves the body is more important than that which enters it.
act like the worst and the best thing that could happen to you converge in the chemical compound
that can detect piss in pools. the overrated version of my genitals
that you’ll show your parents. the annotated version for children of my favorite life
-of all the ones i imagine when i feel like i’m drowning- the one in which you don’t know how to breath and i show you how to backwards so that people will laugh at you and no one else will love you because i’m the kind of person that gives pet names to his bodily fluids.
HOW CAN I KNOW IF YOUR CONCEPT OF LEVI 502s MATCHES MINE?
we’re in the fitting rooms of a parallel universe where everything is unisex. up until today
i’ve erased my initials from the underwear of everyone i’ve slept with.
up until today i thought that my life was shitty until i realized that i don’t
have anyone to compare it with. today i swapped the picture of you in underwear you gave to me for my last birthday for underwear and i was inspired by you to make an alcoholic version of myself. today i feel human like when i fill my mouth with things and someone asks me to speak and i have to pretend that i like to talk with my mouth full.
there was a summer so hot that everyone swapped their underwear for mouths full of underwear. you’re erasing your name from my fake boxers while
you put up your hair, making it into the shape of stuck gum in a porn chat.
today i saw two people that looked like us do thing that we used to do when we didn’t look like each other. there was a summer so hot
that there were never again hot summers because people
didn’t know how to use the heat with control. nature is your underwear every night when you’re able to take them off without first removing your outer clothes. there was a summer
so hot that you took your bra off through your pants and you opened your eyes wide aware that
in the future you’ll appear in everyone’s textbooks as the person that did away with all that was pre-established in the art of removing your bra without first removing your outer clothes. there was a fucking shitty ass summer in which they made us chose between pain and the ability to feel pain, i’m sitting on someone’s face who has their pants down and a fishnet jersey from American apparel on and i ask you the favor of not
calling me again until you find the pair of panties with my telephone number that i gave you. tomorrow we’ll take revenge on people who are happy feeling happy without them even knowing.
UN CULO ABIERTO A SUGERENCIAS
no sé tirarme de cabeza y no sé si mi cabeza se siente decepcionada por ello.
mi novia tiene una piscina y la piscina de mi novia tiene una piscina más pequeña
que cuida de los líquidos que aún no huelen lo suficientemente mal como para ser
Just wanted to let ya’ll know that I’m taking a little bit of a break from the internet, so I can:
The break will probably be for two weeks or a month, I’m just feeling things out right now.
ALG will continue as usual (big s/o to Guillaume Morissette)
and if you want to get in touch with me, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading, byeeeee
The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it is not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of the other person—without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. —
Osho (via sarahjeanalex)
(Source: lazyyogi, via fatpatsuicide)
Austin Islam interview on Unlikely Stories:
I like tempo. I think of writing in terms of tempo, or comedic timing, usually. I like stuff that’s fast, has a certain snappy or quippy quality. Every now and then I’ll slow down and read something that treats words more like a gourmet meal, sort of rolling everything in and around your mouth and examining every feeling. Most of the time, though, I need poetry or status update lit or whatever that gets me through a moment. Instead of a sip or smoke or whatever, I need you to tell me why I’m here. What is going to make taking the next breath worth it. What works for you, what might work for me. Give it to me, I need it. Throw it at me. Don’t make it difficult to put in my vein. I don’t wanna have to pull chunks out and set them aside and all of that. Of course I like it when there are layers, I can read something again and catch what I hadn’t before. But most of all I need a hit.
read the full interview here
Powell’s City of Books in Portland
get your copy of ‘40 Likely to Die Before 40’ here
get your copy of ‘40 Likely to Die Before 40’ here