Poet Of The Week

Eric Amling

     August 3–9, 2015

Eric Amling is the author of From the Author’s Private Collection (Birds, LLC). He has published chapbooks with The Song Cave and Greying Ghost Press, and his work has appeared in Fence, the Brooklyn Rail, Boston Review and Minus Times. His collage work can be found in The Wild and is forthcoming in Intercourse magazine as well as exhibitions throughout the US.

Cool New Fear

 
Mishandling of a delicate situation is somewhat of a turn on
I read about daily life bereft of reference points but surviving in practice
Like it’s supposed to be some interesting post-mortem box set
The truth is I come home every night and botch an ideal solitary mystique
With an escalator for a nervous system
Perpetually tumbling a canvas sack of benzodiazepines

I am not interested in your writing about the Chateau Marmont
I am interested in the pigeons pecking at the puke of the party girl
I’m trying to keep this accessible for translation into major foreign languages
Like an animal’s quest to solve an insignificant problem
It’s the only way I’ll phoenix

I am forced to love life or suffer the pleasure of not caring
Staring at a marble pyramid on an onyx coffee table
Unmarred by so much work of delusion
I’m looking for a streamlined artistically-styled peace
Placing yourself in a poem is martyrdom
It comes from an anxiety that death feels like eternal blue balls

I apologize if I evoke a cool new fear
Searching for a single visible object to embody public virtue
Like chakras dipped in chocolate
Like songbirds on the chiseled forearm of a mute
On what I believe is the gilded rubric
Lest the lousy stone on a mesa
Vandalize the temple of a non-believer
Though murder is passé

Someone has had to die in order to know
What to eat or how to sail
I wanted to be your trinity maker
But it’s the promises that are keeping me delinquent
And you’ve already failed me
There’re artists and stuff everywhere
Famous in their transparent malaise
And I fear I simply cannot hold this pose a second longer

 
–From From the Author’s Private Collection, Birds, LLC., 2015 (originally published in Prelude).
 

Tell us about the making of this poem.

A late addition written for the book From the Author’s Private Collection. It’s a culmination of lines that you say to yourself in the morning after attending yet another uninspired event you guilt yourself for being a part of.

What are you working on right now?

Long term: To buy a modular home constructed out of Hempcrete.

Short term: A series of text and collage work entitled Cheap and Nasty.

What’s a good day for you?

No harm no foul.

How long have you lived in Brooklyn? What neighborhood do you live in?

I grew up in south Brooklyn, in Marine Park, and left when I was seventeen. Currently, I live in a one bedroom in the Flatbush/Ditmas Park area. I’ve been back in the borough since 2009. Brooklyn has certainly changed, but those long faces you see on the B train, they are still heading home to the stabilized neighborhood pressure of protecting their stoop with awnings from Fiberama Manufacturing. If you spend most of the year watching the MSG sports channel, like I do, you’ll only see commercials from the probiotic-requiring food establishments my family patronizes on special occasions, like Communions. During the summer you can hear the fishing boats come into Sheepshead Bay and my mom would say “fresh catch coming in” and we’d continue eating our miscellaneous.

What do you like most about it?

It’s a neighborhood without a catered trajectory. There are lifers here. In the middle of it is a Victorian area where you get to experience the seasons. It’s a neighborhood of identities not worn on your sleeve.

Share with us a defining Brooklyn experience, good, bad or in between.

After a pleasant walk in the park you stop in a nice bar for a negroni and later discover the guy you’ve been talking to was friends with the guy that murdered your sister’s boyfriend fifteen years ago.

Favorite Brooklyn poet(s), dead and/or alive?

I’m sure the second grade public school class of 2015 turned out some good material this year.

Favorite Brooklyn bookstore(s)?

The Thing.

Favorite places to read and write in Brooklyn (besides home, assuming you like to be there)?

I do the majority of my writing in my office on the Upper West Side and like many, I presume, get my reading done on the train. I don’t know, maybe someone else’s shower?

“If I’m not at home I’m out.”

Favorite places to go in Brooklyn not involving reading or writing?

I haven’t been to Dead Horse Bay in a while. Sunny’s. I like to walk. I’ll go where the laughs are.

Last awesome book(s)/poem(s) you read?

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, Pornotopia: An Essay on Playboy’s Architecture and Biopolitics by Beatriz Preciado.

Why Brooklyn?

The place was Victor Memorial Hospital, on September 29th, 1981, I met the world to the theme music from Days of Our Lives.