Robert Alan Wendeborn appears in PANK for the second time in the August issue. He talks with us about the worst poem he has ever written, his future and the stresses of poetry.
1. Where do you like your future to come unannounced?
I like it to come from somewhere unexpected. Typically I can see it coming just by having my eyes open and everytime I close my eyes and then open them again I see the future, but sometimes I look around with my eyes open and realize that I somehow made it to the future without closing my eyes an awful lot. Sometimes I like where the future has taken me, and sometimes I don’t. I have never opened my eyes and realized I was in the past. The past isn’t very active in my life.
2. How often has Xanax diffused you?
Since having been “prescribed” Xanax by a pharmacist in Juarez two years ago, I have only been completely diffused once or twice. Usually it’s airplane candy and heartbreak vitamins. When applying for the Ruth Lily this year I got really stressed, so took some and then forgot if I mailed the application. I didn’t win, so I’m just pretending I forgot.
3. What is the high stress about publishing books of poetry?
In Poetry World, poems and books of poetry are little space ships that Poetry World’s citizens, often referred to as Poets, are forced to study and build and create. The Poets of Poetry World regularly have to work late nights fixing intricate parts of poems and books of poetry in horrible conditions: usually small, isolated, and poorly lit rooms for little to no pay. It might be the closest thing to rocket science I’ll ever do. But riding my bike might be closer to rocket science.
4. What is the worst poem you’ve ever written? Would you be brave enough to share?
I write two kinds of poems: bad poems and not bad poems. Sometimes in workshop people think a poem is bad and then tell me all the reasons that it is bad. What you see below is the beginning of a poem that was universally misunderstood and un-liked by my workshop. I’ve only read this poem three times since the workshop because it went so bad.
A. We Are–
Something in between. Something lost. Something finding: lucid, like ghost breath, breath, breath. Breathe?
It means and means and means there’s meaning out there meaning. What and Who are doing meaning with a railroad tie.
We are all “Loose and loss; lose and lost,”Â since immemorial.
It’s slippery and leading, letting them loose.
The pigs will eat the roots. The pigs will eat the shoots.
The field is now their pen. Wasn’t that the plan?
No one can remember.
It went on and on like this for five pages. It’s not good. Maybe there are good parts…
5. Who wants to live forever?
I don’t know. The idea of eternity scares the shit out of me; good or bad. I think once I did everything I wanted to do, I’d end up bored and alone and then I’d just lay down in a deep hole somewhere forever, which might be what life is actually like.
6. When does a good decision happen to a bad person?
Maybe never. Bad people take advantage of good people, their niceness and good decisions, which then makes that good decision a bad one. Like letting Lindsay Lohan out on probation for instance