Jill once dreamed that we shared a hotel room which is something we also did in real life. I remember waking up in that hotel room (in real life) and telling her about a dream involving her, Bruce Covey and stuffed monkeys. Jill may have had other dreams involving me, but hasn’t told me about them. Probably because they involve a penis.
Reb Livingston is author of Your Ten Favorite Words, Pterodactyls Soar Again and co-author (with Ravi Shankar) of Wanton Textiles. With Molly Arden she co-edits the Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel anthology series. She’s the editor of No Tell Motel and publisher of No Tell Books. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and incredibly good-looking son.
Jill: Congrats! You've just been made chairwoman of the NEA. Appropriate funds!
Reb: Before there’s any fund appropriating I will request a constitutional amendment to change the title of the office to Poetry Czarina. Once that important task is accomplished I will inform the administration that the entire NEA budget will be used to cover my travel and to commission the focus group of all focus groups to figure out why nobody fucking cares about poetry. Of course it will be a sham focus group and the reports will be written by myself from my hotel room paid by your tax dollars after a night of heavy drinking at one of those exclusive VIP AWP parties. Unbeknownst to most in the government (a Top Peanut Butter & Jelly Poet clearance will be required) the funds will be diverted into the construction of a massive underground city called RebbiePoHoville. Any poet who signs his/her allegiance and commissions a (flattering) mural of my image (no smaller than 50x75’) will be permitted to live in this city. When the massive asteroid of 2042 hits the Earth, only the freedom and Czarina-loving U.S. poets will survive. After 1000 years when the atmosphere once again becomes sustainable for human life, the descendants of these poets will emerge to the surface and repopulate.
Reb: I’ve given this a lot of thought. For it to be done right, I would personally have to play all the major characters because they each represent a part of myself. I am Buffy and I will stake you. I am Giles and book-smart. I am Willow and wicked. I am Xander and loyal. I am Tara and pure. I am Oz and turn beastly that time of the month. I am Angel and how I suffer. I am Faith and took the wrong path. I am Anya and too blunt. I am Riley and the marrying type. I am Dawn and annoying. I am Spike and in love with Buffy (myself).
I would give guest roles as vampires and demons to all the poets who do me wrong so I could fight them without going to jail.
Jill: My Lord, woman! Not only do you write poetry but you publish it as well! WHY? Ain't no one READING it....
Reb: Because it further alienates me from the rest of humanity. Because it allows me to live a life of leisure and spend my days tending to my lollipop garden. Because as I child I lisped. Because I wasn’t breastfed. Because I had braces. Because nobody considered me for homecoming queen. Because I enjoy being an anonymous martyr that nobody would miss. Because fiction is for people who want to be rock stars but have no musical talent. Because nonfiction is for people with no imagination. Because I like to make fun of people and not have them realize it. Because I’m angry but don’t know kung fu. Because I like disappointing people who expect better things from me. Because I enjoy being mocked to my face. Because it keeps the riff raff away.