In which we ask a contemporary American poet the same questions Teen magazine asked now-pregnant teen idol Jamie Lynn Spears; see original interview here.
Sharon Mesmer is the author of Annoying Diabetic Bitch (Combo Books, 2008), The Virgin Formica (Hanging Loose, 2008), Vertigo Seeks Affinities (Belladonna Books, 2006), Half Angel, Half Lunch (Hard Press, 1998) and Crossing Second Avenue (ABJ Books, Japan, 1997). Her prose collections are Ma Vie à Yonago (Hachette Littératures, France, in French translation, 2005) and In Ordinary Time and The Empty Quarter (Hanging Loose Press, 2005 and 2000). Lonely Tylenol, an art book in collaboration with the painter David Humphrey, was published in 2003 by Flying Horse Editions/University of Central Florida. She is a two-time New York Foundation for the Arts fellow in poetry. We caught up with Sharon while she was doing time in the wilds of rural Pennsylvania--and when shes says wilds, she means "like a bear came right up on our deck last night and stuck its nose against the glass door"--with an iffy internet connection. And we're glad we did!
BAPB: You’re in Jr. High, right?
SM: Yes, and like Kentucky I am 56.3% illiterate.
What are you most looking forward to?
Experimenting with rideable unicorns — flaring nostrils, slaying the evil beast. I am evil and narcissistic! But tonight I am just contemplating the magic of dolphin elbows.
What kind of car do you want?
One with sensitive teeth. You’ve probably heard of a narwal, who may still play a role in mating rituals or determining male hierarchies. Narwals hate dolphins, tho.
What's your favorite subject?
The atavistic mating rituals of unicorns. We believe in One Unicorn, The Pink, The Invisible. Every day we discover new plant life, insects, and animals in humanoid form. The Giant Unicorn (Elasmotherium sibiricus) was once a massive powerful female dark elf.
Do you play any sports?
Wringing every possible dollar, pound, yen, drachma and Euro singing “Kashmir” and “Stairway” to the back rows of interchangeable enormodomes the world over.
Are kids in school treating you differently because of Nickelodeon exposure?
They wake up knowing I am putting in the work to pursue my dream, and it makes them feel alive and free. Right now, their sensations are unfolding like the petals of a flower, and the stimulus is so overwhelming they can't be anywhere BUT in the moment. It's like a perfect storm of "a-ha" moments. They learn more and more from my thighs. My glutes are two vacuum hoses they LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to process. They love learning. They love to learn, and I love to facilitate their long-term goals, the path to the summit.
You have a new puppy named Ali, right? How is she?
Ali's stratagems originally emerged as mercantile vigilantism incarnate via her asymmetrical silhouette which blurred the boundaries of day/night. Just as Nature equipped the porcupine with a means of defense, Ali wore her embattled position external to the world: ethnic communities turned into war zones once normative gendered binarisms were undone by the shock of pleated chiffon in a wearable skirt length. Drawing on Nietzsche, Ali announced with aggressively concocted assurances the primacy of her surfaces as a navigation between the elegant Scylla of Balenciaga/Dior historicity (purposefully reserved non-flounciness) and the cheap Charybdis of Wal-Mart blackguardism (fabrics that "degrade," i.e., stretch denim).
How old is she now?
Old enough to open the floodgates to even more delish seitan dishes.
She's a mix, right?
A rock and roll behemoth. The horsey-chested Zep frontman.
What are your feelings about Ali?
POP ADDICTION. JUNKIE. Ain't hooked on phonics!
Where did you find her?
In an Irish hornpipe playing D major in a pirate-themed restaurant in Washington, DC after a poetry reading. Nothing made sense until the crone's head swiveled on that too-long neck and her milky gaze fastened upon my voice. Then she grinned, toothless.
Do you dress her up?
I burn her! I burn her! It's like she has a satchel sewn to her hip, and the dress is all pulled and strange. Her dress-up maid has the night off and she has no help at all! Do you want to help her dress up? All kinds of clothes for you to dress her up in — I like that nun dress the most. If you like your dress up games with a little dark edge you might like to check out a Skimpy Prom Gown, a.k.a, SHE LOOKS LIKE A STRAIGHT UP LITTLE WHORE IN THIS "DRESS"!
Do you try to coordinate it with what you're wearing?
No. Listen, cows are sacred. Cows are auspicious and sacred, grantors of every wish and givers of life. Of all kinds of gifts, the gift of cows is applauded as the highest. Cows are the foremost of all things. Themselves sacred, they are the best of cleansers and sanctifiers. People should cherish cows for obtaining prosperity and even peace. Cows represent the highest energy both in this world and the world above.
What is your fashion style?
There is nothing more sacred or sanctifying than cows.
One should never feel repugnance for the urine and the dung of the cow.
What do you like to do for fun?
Relieve the suffering of others both for moral purification and for bettering the lot of our brethren. Relieving suffering is greater than that of working for one’s own salvation.
Was it really scary?
Not as scary as seeing scary Pam Anderson without her makeup. Personally I would like to remember her as the Pam Anderson of old. It is amazing how much difference makeup can make if someone really knows how to apply it. Most regular people don’t though, and don’t look any better with it on!
TV anything you watch?
What are you so worried about? Sharks surviving out of water?
Are you watching Joey?
Yes, from inner Mongolia, letting my wild little man gallop like crazy. I'll send you pictures when I get my computer set up.
So, you have to get TiVo?
Pinocchio's dream of becoming a real boy came true, so why not DVRs starting at $99.99 (and you own it)?
Do you have an acting coach working with you?
I carry Marilyn Monroe around with me like an albatross.
Is Zoe like you?
Does Zoe lick you? What? Is "Because hot chicks like you work here" a valid answer? I was like, you know, "What if you could make those sounds on the cello?"
How are you not alike?
I have hoodies like Zoe has botox. Zoe lives a madcap life and she's not apologizing for it. Zoe was like "I have to learn Esperanto today because starting next week that's my character — and not very white in color either."
Will that change as you get older?
What has already changed are literary trends like poo-inflected promiscuity — they went out with NEA-supported performance art involving yams. When Sharon Mesmer tells us that humanity should be accorded the laurel wreath of "a unicorn boner," she fails to mention that behind her mask of benevolence stands a plan for world conquest and the promotion of vapid slam-era libertinism. My personal goal is to derail Mesmer's fascist poetic plan completely. If I stop, urge me on. If I retreat, kill me.
Have you gotten advice from mom or sister about business?
Mom: Battlestar Galactica is beginning to suck.
Sister: Big time. In a soap opera way.
Mom: I'm speaking as friend to friend. I know the space you're in, the pain, the shame. But it must also be said that journaling is an important spiritual practice.
Sister: Each morning I sit under my sycamore tree with my journal. The snooze factor weighs heavily. I write something typically pretentious, possibly the word "importune."
Mom: It must also be said that Lennon & McCartney wrote some really bad cello solos. Oh sure, they covered them up with harmonies, but those bad solos are still lurking inside their so-called classic melodies.
Mom: Burned muffins, a wicked plane crash and fish biscuits . . . it must be said: writers must be honest individuals who don't use literature as a commercial tool, but rather as a way of expressing the words that must be said. Robert Plant, for example, has no use for your money.
Sister: What else must be said?
Mom: "Why Can't I Have Voluptuous Dome-like Breasts?"
Sister: Booooooring. What else?
Mom: I live in perpetual twilight. The eternal forces of the universe are being channeled through the vessel which is my body while I cruise the ether searching for your stupid dog.
Sister: It must also be said that the Senate will celebrate International Women's Day by talking about vaginal gels, creams and other products.
Mom: And catnapping.
Do you have a celebrity crush?
Yes —the festering miasma of male-dominated conspiracy theorists. The fetid, stinking morass of fat, ugly, ill-natured headcases with pretty wives who share bloggy fantasies of fighting heroically against "The Big Career in Academia" while siphoning off the scarce intellectual capital therein originally intended for poor countries suffering from underdeveloped meta-logos. In other words, the shrieking monkeybunch of middle-aged, squid-fisting dirtbags fully invested in their own muscular dystopia of extremism, child molestation, and halitosis.
What was your most embarrassing moment:
Accidentally creating tension between Elton John and Celine Dion with my vajayjay. It was so embarrassing!
So you raised your hand to answer a question and it was wrong?
Not only that — I said "poopy" when the answer was "Etruscan"!
You probably haven't raised your hand since?
Not since the indeterminate abyss eclipsed the brute and unmediated encounter.
"A Unicorn Boner for Humanity."
Scary kids scaring unicorns!
Film star you look up to/like to have a career like?
Why do you people idolize people that make and are actors in movies? All they do is spend the majority of their time wanting to be liked. I was born in South Africa, I used to play with sons of provincial presidents (like governors) and it wasn't like a big deal, it was just a job. We feed our faces with greasy fries while our ears are attached to a cell phone and our children are fat and stupid glued to a portable DVD watching The Lion King 10 because Disney has run out of original ideas. On the upside, our systems are dynamic and changeable.
Do you like Hilary's music?
Oh, like Barack has anything to do with this. Only Hillary has underwear snaps.
If you could work with any other actor/actress who?
Miley Cyrus, out of those two choices.
Would you think you'd died and gone to heaven if you got a part in an Ashton Kutcher/Lindsay Lohan movie?
When President Ashton Kutcher/Lindsay Lohan was shot moments after his/her arrival in Spain, I thought I'd died and gone to both heaven and hell.
Something you can't live without:
Bobby Brown, Paulie Shore, NBA & NFL Superstars, Gene Simmons.
Play video games?
What's up with the serious discussion? OK, so there aren’t dolphin-speaking lumberjacks in Flagstaff. But in San Diego, there is a lumberjack specially trained to speak dolphin. Dolphin social skills and street cred can lead to them being isolated. The shock of seeing a huge dolphin coming up at you with a mouth open to bite is not a pleasant or normal experience. Mom reminded me that the Bedouin fear dolphins.
Who's someone you look up to?
I guess my Mom, I don't know.
Because she's pretty and she reminded me that the Bedouin fear dolphins.