continued Q: How influenced are you by the actual Romantics, the English poets from the end of the 18th Century and the beginning of the 19th Century?
A: In feeling, I am influenced by poets such as Robert Burns, William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, and John Keats. It's almost a spiritual affinity. However, I do not use the same forms. Form, unlike sensation, changes. I prefer free verse; though, when I'm composing for a lady, rhyme seems to do her a better service.
Q: The Romantics -- Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge, for instance -- certainly took flights of fancy and were seduced by idealism, fantasy, the "long ago and far away." But their poetry was also political, in that it used a language and heroes more in keeping with the time's vernacular. It sought to shrug off the irrelevance of classical poetry and classical heroes. Does your poetry attempt a similar conversation with its time? Is it political?
A: Absolutely! I have a chivalric nature and love an old chivalric tale, but I deal with the heroes and issues of our time. For instance, I wrote a poem about the O.J. Simpson trial called "O.J and Vodka." Can't wait till that one makes the headlines! It borders on the absurd. O.J. is the hero, but like the heroes in Byron's plays, is he innocent, or does he suffer from some guilt? Then again, was O.J. on trial, or was it justice?
Q: Liberty is a theme that pops up in your poems. Your poem "Highway 101," for instance, opens with imagery that recalls the Beats, on the road and all that. But it closes with the narrator driving away from a bum, blowing a plume of smoke in his face. Is liberty a privilege or a right in this poem?
A: It is a modern "flight of fancy." I'm sure Burns or Wordsworth would have loved to have been in my jeep the day I stripped it and took flight down one of the most scenic drives in the world. It's all part of that carpe diem spirit. However, neither my jeep nor the 101 were around then. Liberation? Well, liberation is one of those few moments, a spiritual thing. You can argue that it's a right or a privilege, but then again, some people who have the right or the privilege -- which their forefathers sweated and toiled for -- seldom use it. So many people spend their lives in front of a television, isn't that a form of imprisonment?
Q: In the poem "Battle Amour" you write, "Carpe diem, you dull fuckers/ To your mundane, dug-in ways!/ If those spinster mines don't toast me/ Then my blare will never fade!" What are you blaring against? I think I know what you mean by a "spinster mine," but can you give me an example?
A: I'm fighting for love. Let me put it this way, I realized some time ago that my affection was my strength. In the words of Gandhi, "A coward is incapable of exhibiting love, it is a prerogative of the brave." If we were to replace "love" with "affection" -- I'm sure Gandhi wouldn't mind -- we can begin to see my point. Generally speaking, in this day and age, affection in a man is viewed as a weakness. Bollocks!! When in battle, the heart carries a man much farther than rationale. If only some women didn't view love as a weakness --the "spinster mine" -- a man could go a lot farther in love. With the heart, I'm blaring against such barrenness in a charge to find true love.
Q: Do you covet the past, or do you prefer coloring the present with its highlights?
A: When I write, I write in reflection of something. That is a romantic's tool; it adds more color. I don't covet the past, though. I wrote a poem about this called "A Recollection of My Future." It basically calls on the reader not to live in the past, but to only learn from it:
If God wanted us to constantly say,
"Remember the good old days!"
Our eyes would be turned to face our dark memories.
I ask you a question; are these memories dark because our eyes are turned round, or is it otherwise?
Q: You have said that the "heart has a youthful nature." Can you tell me what you mean by that?
A: That's the spiritual heart. One who lives for this heart is constantly rejuvenated -- returning us to a youthful nature. For example, when I fell in love last summer, I did the famous coast-to-coast walk across England. The walk was almost 200 miles, but that was of no significance. I was in love! I would have run back if the young lady were waiting at the starting point. You see, I wasn't walking with my legs....
Q: You call yourself San Diego's finest poet. Do you really believe that? What makes your poetry better than other poems?
A: Yes, I do! I have not seen any better. Then again, this is my life and these are my poems. I can't wear someone else's, only my own.
Q: So what's the key? How do we get romance, and how do we keep it?
A: Hmmm. I could go on for hours! I do think a woman should be adored, perhaps even worshipped. A woman should feel the beauty on the inside when a man looks on her. Too often, men are after one thing, they miss the beauty. If I see a woman that I find attractive, I can simply look at her for hours. Spontaneity -- there is nothing like spontaneity: doing something exciting on the spur of the moment. So many relationships grow stale from just sitting around and talking about doing something. Bloody well do it!!
You know, I looked up the word "romance" in a dictionary once. Did you know, a "romance" does not include married couples according to definition?