What drives you to write?
Suicide and my zombie drug dreams where I’m still using and people (including myself) are getting slaughtered. People think you get clean and sober and everything is great, but I say that’s when the train wreck really comes, so hold on!
Who are your favorite authors?
Without a doubt, Lucille Clifton, Pedro Juan Gutierrez, Luis J Rodriguez and A. Van Jordan.
What is your favorite book?
Who Shall be the Sun by David Wagoner
What does “place” mean to you?
Place, to me, is something very active in a piece of writing. Place moves beyond background and becomes a central character in a creative piece. Place is not separable from language or character. Place moves the scene forward. Place speaks in place of narration. Place becomes tension. Place lives!
What is your favorite place or environment?
The gutter of human behavior. Wherever VICE lives! And the flip side to that would be the Cascade Mountains in Washington—otherwise known as my backyard—and El Malecon in Havana, Cuba, my new adopted home and muse.
What do you look for in a piece of writing?
I look for something that’s innovative in form and language. Heavy use of enjambment, slant rhyme, weird syntax. I look for poems that make me want to hit my head against the wall because they break my heart, and poems that cause me to laugh out loud.
What’s something surprising you learned last week?
The low number of gays in the military.