September 23–29, 2013
Ben Fama is the author of New Waves, Aquarius Rising and the artist book Mall Witch. He is the co-editor of Wonder. His work appears in the Brooklyn Rail, Action Yes, jubilat, Notnostrums, LIT, Poor Claudia, Denver Quarterly, Maggy and on the Best American Poetry blog.
There are things
You can’t get anywhere
But we dream
They can be found
In other people
No one can fuck
With my love
I’m on this boat right now
Kylie Minogue I believe in you
Is coming up from the cabin
Off an iPod dock
Bobby’s talking about his next tattoo
I’m thinking I wished Claire
Had actually died
I’m in the sun
We’re both smashed
All I did was to come to a funeral
And it’s like I fell into a dream
To live among the orchids
My last gift to Laura
On an awkward night alone
Laid back and pleased themselves
Thinking of the girls at Horne’s perfume counter
Their slim fingers
The make up tones
And that one soft true thing
Or the disgusting and sweet leather
Of Bobby’s jacket
If you like guys like that
Did I read somewhere
That Special Agent Dale Cooper
Was basically a boy scout
From the dog star sirius?
Or how David Foster Wallace said
If you’re ever in a situation
That evokes the capacity for feeling
David Lynch creates
You should get out of that situation
As soon as you have the chance
That are not like our own
Which is not the way television is supposed to work
Usually you have a soft abstraction of everyday events
Detached enough from reality
Canned to be like the lives we live and breathe in
The deviations therein hold our interest
In dark magic
And the dark woods
And the times our real lives
Mimic the currents of Twin Peaks
Cause dread and uncanny temperament
In the self
My mom use to watch this show
And this one particular scene
From April 4, 1991
I know that because I am good
At using the internet
Showed 20 year old
Bank clerk and college student
From Clinton Missouri
Get abducted while talking to her boyfriend
On a gas station payphone
There were long shots,
Where the viewer saw her
Freaking out when she realizes
This guy in a truck was waiting for her
The boyfriend she was talking to got in his car
The lamest fucking station wagon you’d imagine
And tried to find her, and he did find her
Cause in this small town there was no one on the streets
And he heard her scream
When she passed him in the abductor’s truck
So he chased them for a few blocks
They showed the girl struggling with this guy the kidnapper
His truck had a decal across the small windows
Behind their heads
Of a fish jumping out of water
A detail that was backlit by headlights
And pressed upon my unconscious during this
They even played this shrill slowed down version
Of a woman screaming
Basically just like Maddie Ferguson dying
But anyways, the station wagon
Died out during a shift into reverse
And they never found the girl
When I was a young teenager
Buffalo Bill was the scariest villain
I’d seen in a film
I didn’t know as much as I do now
About drag culture
To think it was very funny
The best part
About writing a poem
For Twin Peaks,
There already is a poem
In Twin Peaks.
We hear it from Rita Hayward
Donna Hayward’s little sister
Right after the youngest Hayward sister
A piano prodigy
The real baby of the family
Performs in a pink tulle leotard
And rhinestone tiara
She’d make the perfect tumblr girl
–Originally published in Similar:Peaks::, May 2013.
Tell us about the making of this poem.
“Pearl Lakes” was commissioned for an event at the 92Y Tribeca on Saturday, May 5, 2012, under curation by the Silent Drape Runners. The event brought together performers whose content was in conversation with David Lynch’s body of work.
What are you working on right now?
A novel about crowdfunding.
What’s a good day for you?
I wake up at 4:30 AM. I never really sleep much and often start my day at this time. When I am very lucky and sleep through the night, I might get up at 7:00, but that is rare. The first thing I do when I get out of bed is weigh myself. I do this every morning, and if I have gained more than two or three pounds, I try to eat fruit and vegetables exclusively for a couple of days until my weight is back to my ideal. I make myself a tall glass of iced espresso (I don’t like warm drinks), get into a hot bath and slowly sip my drink as I come to life.
How long have you lived in Brooklyn? What neighborhood do you live in? What do you like most about it?
I’ve lived in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Crown Heights, Fort Greene and now I am back in Crown Heights, a few blocks south of Andrew Durbin’s apartment. After a decade among pre-war brownstones and screenprinted shirts of the Brooklyn Bridge, you’re really ready to see some pastels.
Share with us a defining Brooklyn experience, good, bad or in between.
That wonderful feeling when out-of-town guests leave.
Favorite Brooklyn poet(s), dead and/or alive?
I really shouldn’t say.
Favorite Brooklyn bookstore(s)?
For the past year, I’ve been living in Fort Greene, and Monica has been living in Crown Heights. There is no public transportation between our neighborhoods, and the best route is simply to walk. You develop routines doing this. For instance, we begin at a restaurant on the edge of Fort Greene, usually discussing our individual plans for the day while having Bloody Mary’s. During our walk, while each in our own world of texting, we may stop off here or there, depending on the weather, somewhere on Vanderbilt in Prospect Heights. We stop in Unnamable Books, and we always try to buy something. Then the large greenhouse that sells tropical plants on Washington and Dean, by then it is time for a glass of rosé. I think “rosé” is, indisputably, the most beautiful word.
Favorite places to read and write (besides home, assuming you like to be there)?
I’ve been doing all my reading and writing at the Adam & Sophie Gimbel Design Library on 13th St. and 5th Ave. Simply because it is deadly quiet.
Favorite places to go in Brooklyn not involving reading or writing?
The BBG on member nights, when it is closed to the public and you can sit in the grass and drink.
Last awesome book(s)/poem(s) you read?
Moira Orfei in Aigues-Mortes by Wayne Koestenbaum. I also revisited a recording of an Ariana Reines piece that I like to stay in touch with. It’s a reading from her book Coeur De Lion that appears during an interview on KCRW.
Brooklyn is a playground, but Manhattan is undeniable. As Bloomberg elegantly stated, it’s a “luxury product” worth paying for.