Monday, September 21, 2009

Feature: John Burroughs Day 2

I Hear Change

I hear the
Thing you can ever
Be sure of is

I hear



But try telling that
To a dollar bill.

© John "Jesus Crisis" Burroughs (first published by the tao, how, and what now of Jesus Crisis & in the Hessler Street Fair 2009 Poetry Anthology)

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Dollar Bill by Jen Pezzo

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What most often inspires you to write?

An insatiable thirst for self-expression -- but also sometimes my fear I'll forget something clever -- or even my fear of the inevitable end. Other than that, it's probably a toss up between being pissed off, being bored, and being in the mood to masturbate. Most men have regular jobs and beget and raise children. I have only my songs and poetry. They are the offspring I hope will survive me -- my probably futile graspings at immortality, or at least longevity.

If you lived in Shakespeare’s time would you be a playwright or a musician and why?

I'd probably be a poet, playwright and musician in a debtor's prison. But if I was any good and had a bit of luck, I might have had an aristocratic patron to pay the bills and keep me out. Seriously, I think they're all parts of who I am -- and they probably would be even if I was born elsewhen [sic] or had the benefit of a full featured Back to the Future DeLorean.

If you were a woman.. instead of a man... do you think your poetry would be different from what you write today?

I feel like we all have (or should have) elements of both inside, so I'm not sure. Then again, if I were a woman, I might have gotten pregnant and had children, I probably wouldn't have gone to prison, and I would have never married Geri. So yeah, I imagine my poetry (and everything else) would be dramatically different than it is.


  1. These are shorter answers than I might have given last month -- but I'm trying to be a bit less longwinded.

    And I can always claim these words of Lao Tzu as inspiration: "He who speaks does not know. He who knows does not speak." But I suppose that according to that, even my shorter answers still prove my lack of knowledge. ;)

    Then again, one could say typing is not necessarily the same thing as speaking. I'd be interested in studying the Chinese word translated "speak" and seeing if it denotes all expression or just verbal....

  2. charlax is only being wise
    when i say I love this guy
    his poem and his style
    I love this way he writes

  3. LOL.. Thank you for tolerating my questions. I wish you had been longwinded this was your chance. Your opportunity to have fun and say whatever you felt. So it intrigues me, the very first answer, that poetry does so much for you, even so far as to eat into your 'happy time' among other things.

    I find the thought of your being hypothetically female and pregnant also intriguing. I'm sure that would itself beget its own form of poetry if you were. I know it would change things for me.

    Thank you for being a good sport John. I didn't want to repeat all the traditional kinds of interview questions.

  4. Yes, this poem nails it. The holy dollar will tolerate no blasphemy: no decency, no restrictions on corporate voraciousness, no social tampering with the status quo. The dollar keeps us mesmerized and barbaric. Keeps love chained and spirit moaning.

  5. Thank you, Chris, Nabina, Charles and Tim!

    I did get a little more longwinded in response to day six's questions - just for you, Chris... lol.

    Perhaps obviously, this poem was inspired by the whole "Change" theme of the last US presidential election. Not so obviously, not long before I wrote it, I'd happened upon a hiphopish song called Change for a Dolla by Replife - so that was kinda hovering around in my head. Replife is the nom de musique of Cleveland poet Daniel Gray Kontar.