A “Conversation” with Rauan Klassnik (1)– (Huh??)
This is the first of an occasional series in which other people ask me serious and stupid questions about my sex life, how much money I make, gender fluidity, etc, etc. And then I step up on to the stage to give the straight and skinny with as much panache, delicacy and hulking wisdom a human soul can muster post Henry Miller (Ha Ha Ha ha ha):
This started up when I was bored and tweeted:
I guess I was really bored. And I guess I was a little bewildered by some interviews I’d read online recently. (It’s better when they call themselves “conversations” and use phrases like “writing process.” . . . I wish I could get all religious here like crazy old Henry Miller. Fevered and romantic. Like a barbecue of militant, bible maniacs: teenagers at an Amy Grant concert.)
So, anyways, Timothy Volpert answered my distress call, sent me some questions, and here’s the Q and A:
Timothy: Well, let’s get right into it, shall we? Who the fuck is Ron Silliman and why are you so into him?
Rauan: Imagine what it’s like to hold hands with the creature???
(The trees of Eden are begging for me and Ron Silliman to come waltzing back through those cruel and tired ol’ gates).
Most all people think “LOVE” is the answer to everything. And it is– I tell you. Imagine all the universe’s milk, Alabamas, Poetry and honey stuffed, with and without prejudice and reservation, into one little cell. And then imagine all those cells, infinitely stuffed, suffused and embroidered with milk, Alabamas, Poetry and honey, synthesized, lovingly, and erotically– and then sprouted into one perfect godlike entity.
Keats!!!: we frolic in the womb of yr trembling vase!! xoxooxoxoxoo
TV: Huh! That’s very interesting that you would say that. I’ve noticed from following your twitter feed that social media seems to be at least somewhat important to you, and yet, you’ve very publicly quit facebook (a few times). What is it about facebook, as a medium (dare i say, an art form) that you so detest?
RK:. . . . . . . . . . . . .Ten thousand mirror-years of foaming your brain on the Facebook Cocaine Stick. . . . . . . .yeah, yeah, yeah. . . . .
I’ve talked vomitingly about rats and cocaine. And it’s true of course. 1,000% (Yo!) Facebook is the horned Community Cocaine Stick. The cocaine stick that can hostile take over all our lives: Community! Community! Community! (versus Writing! Writing! Writing!). ’cause we all like to cuddle up into our reflection as we loaf, bundling Comcast contradictions (those bastards!!), by the pond (Lily! Lily!), while the birds shit all over our dazed, dreaming heads.
A crow in a boat with no mouth moment! (culinary!)
TV: Your poems, particularly in The Moon’s Jaw, remind me of the verbal equivalent of Pornography, by The Cure. Not the lyrics, mind you, but the sound of the music: pulsing, insistent, and just raunchy as hell. By which I mean, do you have any particular music you like to listen to while you write?
RK: A field of Horses. Ovid. I listen to the music of my soul. Ha. Ha. ((sounds kinda like one of the bullshit tweets (tweet! tweet!) that I have to endure, like water bugs, on my twitter feed from time($) to time($)). But, seriously, sometimes I listen to nothing. Other times it’s either “Gloria” or “Self Control” by Laura Branigan (may she rest in peace!). . . . .”Robert de Niro’s Waiting” by the timeless, raunchy and Über-wise Bananarama is another favorite.
What the hell do I have in common with Alex Dimitrov?
TV: What about actual pornography, is that something you watch a lot of, to psych yourself up or what-have-you?
RK: I’m a sucker for clichés like Hummingbirds and their tiny and thumping, voracious hearts. I mean those ChupaRosas are completely insatiable! Butt, seriously now (???), I should just reference Guyotat taking and taking (and taking with both of his psychotic hands) “writing while masturbating” to coma-like levels that will probably never be equaled. Butt, seriously. Butt, seriously.
And, that’s all I’ll say about this. And that. (smiley face). (smiley face).
There are funerals every day. YOLO. YOLO. YOLO.
TV: When I met you, it was at a reading in Lawrence, KS, and one of the other readers had brought along his maybe 7-year-old daughter. It really enhanced the shock value of your work to glance over and see a little girl coloring happily as I listened to it. Luckily, it turned out, the daughter was from China and barely spoke any English. Who do you envision as the perfect audience member at a poetry reading? And/or do you have an ideal reader in mind, either when you write or afterwards?
RK: I can’t even tell you how many Beanie Babies, Barbies and marbles have passed through my smooth and gleaming hands.
My ideal reader is a room full of 7 year olds!!! Uhhhhmmmmm, I’ve mentioned many times and places (most memorably in my “Fuck The Reader” conversation with Jon Cone) that this writer works things out to his own satisfaction and has faith (by projection of universal humanity–shudder!!) that if the system works in me then it can work in certain others.
Also, I’m thinking that the value I bring to live readings is shocking. Like off the chart. Maybe I should start charging. And double for kids.
TV: What do you do for “a living”? Most poets teach. Do you teach? I feel like people don’t take me seriously as a poet because I don’t teach (but maybe it’s because I am not worth taking seriously/maybe it’s all in my head).
RK: At dinner after a reading in Brooklyn (aka The Fluff Machine), someone asked me if I taught– and I remember, as I looked deeply into his doe-ish eyes, that I said something like “I’d like to think I’ve been teaching people my entire life.”
I mean, really, it was horrible. Truly and utterly horrid. And the way I said it! My entire heart and soul smirking like the footman in T.S. Eliot (yikes!!).
Sometimes I wake up weeping.
Perhaps if I sent that guy one of my sliced-off fingers?? Or maybe my tongue even??
Maybe that would cure me of all this gleeful malice ???
TV: Roughly how much do you make in a year, before taxes?
RK: When I was a fledgling, romping the days away, I wrote a bunch. Filled journal after journal. Bushels of them. So many journals they filled a thousand warehouses. No sweat, though (Ho!): I bought and refurbished a small town to store them. Palaces, and such, I mean. Sports car after sports car. Then burned it all in the desert.
And– you should see how badly deformed my fingers evolved from all the abuse my poetry gift (o, sad, sad gift!!) heaped on them!!
I’m a new man now, though. Hardly write at all. And my fingers are like a God’s.
TV: I feel like there is a fairly obvious Rat Fink homage in the character of Sky Rat as depicted on the book’s cover. My dad was a big fan of Rat Fink- do you think my dad would have liked your poems, if he was still alive?
RK: Ummmmmmmmm….. Uhhhhhhhhhhh….. O, wtf, I guess now is as good a time as any to tell you that your dad and I were famous and energetic lovers and that we got into some seriously delicious and heavy duty role playing shit.
Our favorite “thing” actually was for your dad to be Fink and I the evil and insatiable exterminator. It was all respect and dignity though. Like handfuls of caviar smeared all over a skinned hedgehog. Or a Theodore Roethke poem.
The rest of the details are quite ordinary. And, besides, I promised your dad I wouldn’t share any photos of video. Not even the one we called “Vlad the Orgy Impaler.” . . . . Or the one filmed, ad hoc, in the back of a Home Depot delivery truck…. (o, that one was perfect jazz! … O, that’s what your dad and I were: perfect jazz!) xoxoxoxooxoxoxo
TV: I can’t help but notice a certain amount of gender-fluidity to your work. That’s pretty hot! Talk about that a little bit.
RK: Once you’ve idolized a dog with the palm of your brainstem then, well, just about anything’s possible. In Vegas I gambled on Eternity. And it came on strong, like a roller coaster, or a pastry stuffed with cream-puff History.
The Holocaust melts in your mouth. Like croutons on a salad. So many failed bits of a fish thrown about like bone dust in the whining, yawning wind. Proust belly dancing left and right, exclaims and exclaims, and everything goes to hell (as in my favorite Max Jacob poem).
Being a woman’s like riding a bike. A man like a pike.
Let me pound your chest up through the who-who stars!!!
TV: Do you consider yourself a feminist?
RK: (hold on a just a sec, plz, while I unpack a William Butler Yeats poem!)
Yes, I’ve danced for men. And I’ve killed for women.
I have vamped and yawped from the tops of trains and billboards.
For the torn, the corn and the unborn.
And I have done it all with an insatiable cosmic modesty.
Like when I reconned from town to town in a glistening skeleton carriage.
(of course, kid, I’m a feminist. But there are sooooooo many rats in me).
TV: So, how’s your sex life? Have you actually attempted any/all of the depraved acts you write about, or are you pretty vanilla IRB (in real bed)?
RK: Headaches plague us. But I do run, also, a construction business. (perhaps you’ve seen it on MTV???) And I’m not judgmental. Will build you whatever you want. (Would you like to dance?? … Ice, Ice, Baby….)
Remember that dog, poisoned, writhing on the tarmac ????
Draw a bath. Surround it with condoms, flowers and razor blades. (Will you please dance with me!! O, I am just itching and itchin’ to cut the rugs).
Time’s beautiful. Listen to it. Thump. Thump. Thump.