Cathexis Northwest Press
.beanie.; .adios.; .2017.
By: Brad Geyer
I am a bean
I am being being
I m b n, n s pagnol
Good is a French karate chop-
Good is me on a good day
A hangover is a bad daze
There’s good daze and bad daze
A daze like this shouldn’t exist but here we are
On est là
Dans mon lit, chez-moi
Mon lit es una cama in a run on life sentence where I can’t sleep
I said my bed is a comma in a run on life-sentence where all the sheep to count
are on the lam.
A M B here I am
Elle est gone
Elle est over
In the space of an LA layover,
hell day over, elle est done
Pass the titos, c’etait divertido,
et c’est bon
Elle est fine, ни моя no more anymore mi amor
i don’t love you, mais como se dice “toi”
à l’imparfait, porque c’est ça que j’aime, ouais
you in the imperfect past, hoping for a futur simple
but i’ll follow your example, and go the fuck away
Gone, jusqu’i doit rencontre ces sentiments i tuck away
Porque parfois the profession is professing your obsession in confessioн.
Это моя прабда, ето моя жизнь
es mio, my, mio, my, mio, моя choix
c’est solo moi là.
Место means place
And I suck
And I understand "You make me hate myself"
is not a pickup line
And seven years of bad luck
isn't a real thing
And New York City is not a happy place
And a friend you can't rely on in an emergency is an iPhone
And maybe Marine Le Pen won't win
And maybe love is just a thing
Just a thing in a whole world of things
That means as little as a brush in a bathroom
And maybe 15 lanes of traffic outside my window won't ruin my summer
And NYU is New Jersey
And solipsism isn't real
Because you are real.
You are real.
Brad Geyer is a Brooklyn-based writer, slam poet, musician, photographer etc. His work has been featured by The Atticus Review, The Hopkins Review and others, activist organizations Global Citizen and Move On, and poetry slams/open mics around the world. He likes the beach, the sun and Dashboard Confessional.
"beanie: A M B I E N
adios: I had just found out that the Hopkins Review would be publishing my first multilingual poem, and i was excited, but also despondent, worrying that i’d never be able to write another one (conveniently ignoring the fact that i had, in fact, already written numerous others). So in that moment, i sat down and wrote this piece to prove to myself that i could. Fortunately, i’m not running out of ways to say “I’m in love and really angsty about it.” Just some language notes, i say моя (Moya) a lot, which is Russian for “my.” Moya Russki is barely rudimentary, but throw in a couple pronouns and people will think you’re fluent. The last lines, in English, would say: 'It’s my my my my my my choice. And voice. And look- i’m the only one here.'
2017: This was not written for public consumption. It wasn’t written to be a poem. It was a private message sent to the 'you' of the piece. The line 'You, love,' originally had her name in place of 'love,' and you’ll have to take my word that the piece was much better that way. And i lived in a bedroom that gave me the feeling of living outside of my house. Like those glass elevators that hang off the sides of buildings. My bedroom, though very much part of the interior of the apartment in every way, gave me the sensation that i lived outdoors, suspended ten to twenty feet over Astoria Boulevard and the Grand Central Expressway. And some of us had the first awareness of worldwide fascism gaining ground. And i was in love, with the personal effects of other women in my house, and love elsewhere, my silly love, always real, always getting me to indict myself, real, really gone."
Interview with the Poet:
Cathexis Northwest Press: Can you remember the first poem you read that made you fall in love with poetry?
Brad Geyer: I’ve been in love with writing poetry since the age of ten, well before encountering anything more challenging than “Where The Sidewalk Ends.” The playfulness of children’s lit, whether Dr Seuss’ language-bending or the zaniness of Louis Sachar, in conjunction with an excessive diet of They Might Be Giants shaped my initial development as a writer. While my early school teachers worked around-the-clock to imbue in me a reverence to the conventions academic writing, my after-hours reading replaced parameters with guidelines, commands with questions, and none more important than “Why not?” This is all the most pretentious way of stating that i really liked writing dumb limericks in 5th grade, and i’ve basically been doing it ever since. CNP: Who are your favorite poets? Any specific poems?
BG: Theodore Roetke’s villanelle “The Waking” is the closest thing to a holy text I have. I need to be careful or else I’ll write an essay about it right here. Honorable mention is Plath’s “Daddy,” the Berryman Dream Songs, and Bob Dylan’s “Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie.” The Irish spoken word artist John Cummins has been a major inspiration to me. I think of Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays.” Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est,” what a display of the power of poetry. Beyond the Norton Anthology, Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus” is a poem that every American should have committed to memory. Over the years, many of my favorite poets have been my friends and peers, whose work won’t be found anywhere but on aged printouts in forgotten files in the homes of myself and my classmates. CNP: Can you share for us a little bit about your writing process? Any specific rituals that get you in the zone?
BG: My writing process these days (for poetry anyway) is laying facedown in my bed at 4am and tapping into my phone the last semi-coherent thoughts I have before passing out. Hypnagogia lends itself to nicely to my style, I think. Or that sweet spot where you're drunk and hungover at the same time, waiting for the train back to Brooklyn for what may as well be 5 days. I don’t know exactly how it works. It’s like falling asleep - terrifying and inscrutable. I have no idea how to go to sleep, and yet (with varying degrees of success), i manage to do it, more or less, every day. Faith, really, is what it comes down to. And an openness to turn the faucet and go with the flow. CNP: How do you decide the form for your poems? Do you start writing with a form in mind, or do you let the poem tell you what it will look like as you go?
BG: I don’t believe in anything prescriptive, or approaching art, love, or life with a specific destination in mind. No one ever needs to write a sestina again. Elizabeth Bishop did it, and it’s over. But let’s not be sure that “form” strictly means “villanelle, sonnet” etc. Every poem operates within it’s own set of rules, and What Those Rules Are is not as important as simply Being Aware That They’re There. My piece “adios” doesn’t have a form with a corresponding name, but i think we’re aware that it’s there, just by the rhythm of it, where the words falls, the syntax, the rhyme, i think it’s clear that there are rules being followed even if we can’t articulate exactly what they are. Now, maybe i’m just saying “the real form is the friends we made along the way,” but to look at form as something that’s either Petrarchan or prose i think is an obsolete approach. Form is fluid, like Kinsey’s sliding scale of sexuality, and some can be bi-sectional or hetero-formative. But going full-form can be a terrific exercise, and i’ve had a lot of fun writing deep acrostics and other Roethkian experiments. Strict form can be like taking acid, writing yourself to a place you never would have found otherwise. Basically what i’m saying is that form is bad, form is great and form doesn’t exist. CNP: Any advice for poets who have yet to find their voice?
BG: Read and write and read and write. Reading other poets isn’t about finding a style to emulate, its about adding tools to your arsenal, discovering more exotic ingredients you can add into your mix. Every time I’ve read a poem and shouted to myself “whoa, you can do that?” I’ve become a better poet. Yet I still have no idea how to punctuate that last sentence. Also, ride trains, and planes and anything else where you can have privacy, limited mobility and changing scenery. Stay in motion. Don’t be a dead shark. Art happens when you leave you comfort zone. There’s something in you that you don’t want to say, but you have to say it. And this thing will pretend to have been said, it will trick you into thinking you’re saying it, while remaining safely burrowed inside of you. It has extensive security measures that you will have to figure a way around. It’s a long journey. Start with a book and and a pen, in a chair that’s going somewhere. CNP: What is your editing process like?
BG: Painful and perennial. Stare for an hour and take a word out. Put in back in a month later. Forget what words mean. Let them age a bit, and then come back older and wiser, like a professor correcting my own assignment. Get distance and perspective, because the words you want to say are often the words that are getting in the way. And what you’re writing and what you think you’re writing are never the same. Dave Rudden taught me that. and Robert Olen Butler. And Jason Ockert. CNP: When do you know that a poem is finished?
BG: When you stop changing it; when you have another one to be worried about. But work doesn't have to have a final state. How do you know that a person is finished? They're not breathing and they don't have a pulse. Is that the ideal state of a person? Any work of art can go in a by number of directions. What's the final state of a Bob Dylan song? it's different every time, constantly being reimagined, by himself and every other artist in the world. A piece doesn't have to have a final resting state. It's existence can be fluid. That said, if you can read a piece all the way through without having to stop and wonder if you should change a part of it, then it has reached a comfortable destination. And you can leave it there for as long as you'd like.