A Faster Scalpel
A house will bend, but pride holds me closed.
He was the forearm of our transferred dark,
morose flesh one loomed to adventure.
My complexion kicked till it widened.
I watched him watch his women, watch me.
I watched the explosion turn chaos
and the figure he played of you, you
carried through the collapsed family,
a bed dressed plump, and gracious
the faster scalpel. Señor noticed it was you,
me, noise, people, their rumors of a sky
to keep close, to see hope in an anesthetic
mother who thought that wood a friend’s
casket, mom who pulled gossip away
to some pressed dark locked parlor.
I plowed toward his bedroom, his want
told around the tender you pet
as bereavement, as rebellion full.
His will took the eyes of life. They stayed
peeled to the constant broke of abandoned
mornings. To death, Mother, he will save me
and flinch me loose from the bones of anatomy.
Everyone talking conquests, Quiet,
make something of your torture.
Questions for a Debut Novelist with Whom You May Have Fallen in Love While Preparing for the Interview
- Your book has an effective first-person plural narration; can you talk a little bit about you and I as a “we”?
- Did you feel that hug between the clauses?
- Are you a verb man or a noun man?
- A Brick or a Skipper?
- You write about the origins of your characters’ desires; what are some of your own fantasies and can you attribute them to certain triggers or expectations?
- Are the animals’ appetites in your writing a metaphor for your own hunger?
- When was the last time you fed?
- Your book is about how people handle and mishandle each other; I wondered if you would speak of how you wish to be handled.
- I’ve seen the tattoos on your forearms in previous interviews; do you have any tattoos on your torso?
- Do you mind raising your shirt a little higher?
- “You can say something truer in fiction by mythologizing it,” I quote. Care to co-develop a creation story?
- It’s hard to escape that you’re writing about mixed-race identity; do you have any Creek Indian in you?
- Do you want some?
- Will you share a personal experience with me in which the animal isn’t tamped down but set free?
- Do you kiss with your eyes closed? No. Don’t tell me.
Piss & Vinegar
(after Tim Dlugos)
West Village Lower East Side
Cigarettes Crystal Meth
Rapture Salad Milanesa
Black Con Leche
Paper wallets Clay dolls
Tim Dlugos Julio Cortázar
Ft. Walton Beach Montevideo
Americano Yerba Mate
About the Author:
Chip Livingston is the author of the story/essay collection NAMING CEREMONY (Lethe Press, 2014) and the poetry collections CROW-BLUE, CROW-BLACK (NYQ Books, 2012) and MUSEUM OF FALSE STARTS (Gival Press, 2010). His novel OWLS DON’T HAVE TO MEAN DEATH will be published by Lethe Press in 2017. Chip’s writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, South Dakota Review, Cincinnati Review and on the Poetry Foundation’s and Academy of American Poets’ websites. Chip is on the faculty at the low-res MFA programs at Institute of American Indian Arts and at Regis University. Visit www.chiplivingston.com.
About the Series:
All Accounts and Mixture is an annual online feature celebrating the work of LGBTQ writers and artists. For this series, we seek work from authors who self-identify as “queer,” while acknowledging that this designation is subjective and highly personal. Our goal is to provide a forum for writers whose voices might be mis- or underrepresented by the literary mainstream.