Posted in Almost Dorothy, The Potty Mouth Interviews

Brent Goodman: The Buddha System


The Brother Swimming Beneath Me

Brent Goodman loves Bubba Gump. Brent Goodman loves the universe. Brent Goodman is a sassy man. Brent Goodman is not Brenda Goodmen. I don’t know why he agreed to be interviewed by me, but he did, and I promised I would do everything in my power to ruin his reputation. If you haven’t read Mr. Goodman’s work, or Mrs. Goodmen’s work, or never tasted Bubba Gump shrimp, it’s time you get on board. Take a bite. Wrap yourself up and let him swim inside your head.

Almost Dorothy: Dear Buddha, if heaven is not an ecosystem, then what makes a field of dreams?

Brent Goodman: I’m sorry I thought I made that crystal. In the fire ants’ trail of footprints, raindrops river the forest floor. Sometimes a kid in a little league uniform with thick lenses peers down into the grass, focusing the sun into a ribbon of smoke. A praying mantis stops praying. In heaven they call this “good weather.”

AD: Do you dream in color, black & white, in language & text, or a combination of all the above?

BG: I enact my dreams inside a towering office building, each cubicle converted into a low-budget experimental theatre group. Then it’s simply a matter of knowing which elevator stops on what floor and remembering your blocking. Fortunately, the same silent friend from childhood who taught me American Sign Language also taught me to communicate telepathically. That simplifies things a great deal. I used to ferry scripts and stage notes from one dramatic space to another. Yes. In color.

AD: Do you always dream in sequence? What dream recurs most often and why?

BG: I dream in self-similar spirals. I often awake believing I’m a student going to school to become a teacher.

AD: I misread “Meat to Carry Our Minds” as “Meat to Curry Our Minds”. I was like, whoa, sassy sister. Then I realized i’m an idiot. I like my title better. You cool with that?

BG: Curry is a better verb than carry. We should transpose them interchangeably in every day speech, like “Hey man, don’t curry a grudge,” or “Could you curry me on your back? I’m really tired.” For real, I’ve retired that title, I don’t like it. I stole the expression from an NPR interview but no longer hear it harmonize with the rest of the choir. Plus now I’m a vegetarian. Please cross it out in all your copies.

AD: Favorite meal ever?

BG: Curried kale and chick pea salad. Or Ahi sashimi with a dipping dish of soy sauce, grated wasabi, and pink ginger. Both meals enjoyed with chopsticks (forks incite violence).

AD: In your first queer poem, you wrote “ask me anything”. So, are you an oyster or a clam? Clairvoyant or buoyant?

BG: I’m on the half-shell. A bed of melting glass. You call this a reply to my Craigslist personal? More fetish questions and no face pix?

AD: Tell us about Maier. Maybe something you’ve not told before.

BG: The newborn cousin named after my brother at the beginning of Maier is now a senior in high school. That makes parts of the poem 17 years old. We aren’t close to speak of, but we’re Facebook friends.

AD: Tell us about mom.

BG: She grows smaller every instant. I believe she still may occasionally wear a lime-green Izod of mine from 8th grade.

AD: What haunts you and what gives you comfort at the same time?

BG: The only forces known to simultaneously create and destroy universes are gods and black holes.

AD: What makes you smile wildly like when you were a little boy?

BG: Marijuana. Kelvin. Sometimes certain poems. Most Beck remixes. Tidy whities.

AD: Favorite drag queen name (besides Bubba Gump)?

BG: Miss Construe.

AD: Are you the outline, shadow, earth or sun? Explain.

BG: I am intersected by vectors. This gives us choices.

Brent Goodman is the author of The Brother Swimming Beneath Me (2009 Black Lawrence Press) and two chapbooks, Trees are the Slowest Rivers ( Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press), and Wrong Horoscope (Thorngate Road), which won the Frank O’Hara Award. His work has been featured in Poetry, Diagram, No Tell Motel, Court Green, Rattle, Poetry, Green Mountains Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, and Zone 3, among others. He is an instructor in the Dzanc Creative Writing Sessions and an assistant editor for the online journal Anti-.

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I'm not real, but I'm a writer.

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