Remember November, when the temperature was turning and the snow was just starting? Now that those things are gone, remember these Five Poems from Christopher Citro, from the November Issue.
1. What happened the last time you ventured out beyond the searchlights?
You know that old Twilight Zone episode where the drunk ventriloquist loses his mind and in the end winds up trapped as his own dummy’s dummy? Something like that, only more unsettling.
2. What made you call these poems, despite being in the skin of prose?
This is an unexpected question. The simple answer is that I call them poems because that is how I wish them to be read, as prose poems, as members of that mongrel family. I hope that they do at least some of what one expects a poem to do, only without line breaks. Rather than tap dancing to the various rhythms available with lineation, I hope these poems play with the rhythms of different Â types of prose, in this case neighborhood gossip, love letters, artist statements, fairy tales, etc.
Rather than being “in the skin of prose,” I prefer to think of these poems as having the bones of prose.
If their form is their bones, the words themselves maybe are their muscles, syntax their tendons, punctuation their body piercings, and their published existence online one of their many possible skins. (Admittedly, the metaphor breaks down at this point. I’m beginning to feel a bit like Dr. Frankenstein, which is an image I am entirely comfortable with.)
3. Who would you free and why?
Minds. Because the asses will follow.
4. If you ran for office, what would be your campaign song?
A. I would not. B. If I did, “Mama Soul” by Harold Alexander, obviously.
5. What do you wish you could do?
There isn’t enough time to really answer this one. It’s banal but true to say the usual: “fly,” “become invisible at will,” or “communicate in English with my cat.” In the context of this interview, I’ll add “write better.” I’m chipping away at that last one, a little bit each day.
6. If you’re no Shakespeare, then what are you?
I am amazed. Also, unemployed.