Ask the Author: Marie-Elizabeth Mali

Marie-Elizabeth Mali offers us a glimpse into five years of marriage in the March issue and she talks to us about being married to a poet, perfect moments, and what to avoid in marriage vows.

1. What are the benefits and challenges of being married to a poet?

The benefits of being married to a poet and sharing a life—and a car—with another person passionate about words is that he’ll pull a gigantic Webster’s from the back seat to settle word disputes or run into my office to share something he just read or wrote (and stop what he’s doing when I do the same). The challenges are never knowing what’s going to end up in a poem, like what snide remark in a moment of irritation may end up getting broadcast to the world in the guise of “art.” Though we give each other free rein to write without assuming it’s necessarily about us, we also ultimately retain a modicum of veto power over what personal information ends up in a poem that will be publicly shared.

2. How do you go about recreating perfect moments like

“At our hotel breakfast table you take the bananas we swiped

for snacks and make them kiss. When they start to hump

and moan, the couple at the next table staring,

I ask you to stop.”

Thank you! That particular poem is a rare one that popped out practically in its final form, so it’s hard to say how I typically go about recreating such moments. I usually keep eyes and ears open for moments that feel like they may translate well into a poem, moments that are unique to the way we interact but have some resonance that might connect to others engaged in the mad experiment of building a life with another human being.

3. Is it better to write a poet a love poem or buy them something cool like a flamethrower or a cape made of tanned chupacabra?

Though both those objects have now moved to the top of my “must have” list, I’d have to vote for the love poem over a “thingy” thing every time. Especially if said love poem subverts the genre of the love poem in a creative way.

4. How is marriage a riding crop? Does it ever require a safe word?

What a great question! For me, marriage is very much a riding crop, used to spur me on toward staying awake. It’s a way that I’ve decided to grow as a human being, which is often uncomfortable like sandpaper, since I often don’t like what I see about myself in the process. It definitely requires a safe word at times, which for me is actually the phrase, “I need to be alone right now.”

5. What would you not like to see in marriage vows?

Some version of “We’ll hold hands forever and go to sleep in the numbing illusion of safety that the institution of heterosexual marriage provides while denying those who love differently than we do the right to get married and have equal rights.” Not to mention anything having to do with the word, “obey.”

One phrase we put in our vows that people loved was, “I promise to be your fierce friend, supporting your growth with love and honesty, standing up for you, standing up with you and standing up to you.”

We also ditched the “till death do us part” bit in favor of, “I want to be there holding your hand when you die.”

6. What fruit would not be good to cast in fruit porn?

The unpeeled durian: My cunt cringes at the spikes and stink of it, though the creamy, custardy, delicious flesh is sexy as hell and could play a leading role in fruit porn any day.

  • It would have been better to have the income tax kick in only on high income earners (and make it range from 4% to 27%), increase the business tax to 33% before the health insurance exclusion and a $500 per month per child refundable child tax credit, with additional credits for providing retiree health care and long term care, a 9% VAT (or more) to fund discretionary spending with receipts visible (unlike the business tax, which would not be receipt visible or border adjustable because it can be zeroed out with exclusions and credits) and with net income and Social Security getting a matching 13% bump to compensate for the higher levy, an a 13% payroll tax for OASI, which essentially makes up for lower gross wages because most tax liability is transferred to the employer. Of course, if Cain did that, he would be using my tax plan.