Monday, June 13, 2016

BLOG OF THE WEEK ~ AN UPDATE WITH BUDDAH MOSKOWITZ

Buckle up, kids, because today we are chatting with one of our long-time members of Poets United, Buddah Moskowitz, of  I Hate Poetry: The Buddah Moskowitz Archive. You are in for a fun ride, as our friend has a lot of energy and humor. He has shared some wonderful poems with us, and photos from his happy life. Let's not waste another minute. Let's dive in!





Frasier, Phillipe and Buddah
Moskowitz


Sherry: Hi kiddo, it is nice to be chatting with you again. Nice curls, by the way! I went back and read our first interview in 2012, which was such fun. I had more brain cells back then, and only hope I can do you justice this time around. Would you bring us up to date with your life today, so our newer members can get to know you better?

Mosk: Nice to be asked back.  Things are roughly the same as before, when we last spoke.  I’ve been trying to keep writing and refining whatever I can call my technique.   I realize that in my quest to write in an unadorned (and presumably, unpretentious) style, that my writing can tend to be somewhat prosaic.  I’ve even added as a tag to some of my works #fuckyouthisisntpoetry as a pre-emptive strike to anyone who would (justifiably) question my credentials as a [ahem] poet. 

Sherry: Oh my. You are a poet in our books, kiddo! And "prosaic" is not a word I would associate with you. Are you still firmly rooted in southern California? Still working in academia? How is your family doing?

Mosk: Yes, very much rooted in California.  It’s the land of my people. Seriously, I did one of those DNA Ancestry tests where you spit in a vial and send it to their labs and they tell you where your DNA shows up around the world.  Surprise! Surprise! My DNA shows up here most in the Americas (North, Central and South Americas).  A little bit of my DNA is also found in the Iberian Peninsula and a similarly small proportion of my DNA was found in Greece/Italy.  

What does this mean?  Mostly, it confirms what I had long assumed: I come from a long line of indigenous people and a wee bit of (I’m assuming) Spanish explorers.  I told my kids when they bought it for me as a Christmas present, they probably wasted their money as I *knew* I was going to be part of that long continuum of Mexican lineage.   Either way, it was good to get the confirmation.

Mosk at two


Sherry: How cool to know your lineage exactly. I would love to have indigenous ancestry (and hope that I do!) - people who know how to live with and upon the land.

Mosk: I’m still an educational researcher at a southern California community college.  I’m getting to the age where I’m seeing many of my colleagues retiring and I want to join them!  By my estimate, I have about seven more years here before I can retire, so I’m trying to make the best out of this time.  Don’t get me wrong. I love my job, but there are many other things I’d like to do with my time, like watch my grandchildren, of which I don’t have any yet.  However, I’m betting at least one of my childbearing-aged children will pop out a unit in the coming years, and I’ll get to be Pop-o to the next generation.  



Wedding Blur


In the meanwhile, I still live with my beautiful bride, Anita, my son, who’s an emergency room nurse, and my younger daughter, Sarah, who attends the local college.  

My older daughter, Rachel, just moved out and is working and going to school. I’m very proud of all of them.   Since we last spoke, I think some of the animals have moved on (how’s that for a death euphemism?), so now we have Magnolia and Mona Lisa the Yorkies, Sadie the Cat, and Frasier and Phillipe, the cockatiels. My house is nothing if not lived-in and noisy.

Sherry: Oh, it sounds glorious! But wait a minute! Are you seriously trying to sneak a WEDDING past me? Spill the beans! When did this happen? Everyone looks so beautiful and happy. And congratulations! 

Mosk: The wedding pic is from 2002. All those kids are adults now. Now, I'm older and grayer!




Magnolia Moskowitz


Mona Lisa Moskowitz


Sherry: The wedding looks wonderful, and you have a beautiful wife. You began writing poetry in high school. What was it that drew you to poetry as your means of creative expression, rather than prose? What do you love about poetry? What keeps you writing it?

Mosk: I gravitate to poetry because it’s a brief form (for me at least). I don’t have the best sense of concentration, and I can’t sustain interest for too long in any one subject.  

More than that, originally, I started off being a songwriter.  The songs are similar to a form I call the poemonologue.  A poem, like a song, is like a little performance.  You can tell so much by the voice of the piece.  The poemonologue is meant to be read aloud. It’s a direct (confrontational) communication to the audience.  The poemonologue is mainly a monologue, with presumably more poetic flourishes.  I like writing in different voices, as if I were writing for characters in a play, but in this case, I am the sole actor.  (How’s that for narcissism?)   

Sherry: I like this idea; a poemonologue sounds fun. I am intrigued.

Mosk: I keep writing because in writing I have found the one form of therapy and amusement that works for me.  I also get a lot of my personal identity from being a writer.  I tire of writers who kvetch about not being inspired enough to write. That’s baloney! Keep writing!  You have to keep writing, and one day you’ll get lucky (not inspired, but lucky) and something will tumble out that’ll tickle the hell out of you. It’s mostly luck – the more you write, the better your chances at writing something good.

'My writing is my memoir.'


Sherry:  That is exactly right. I read in your interview at The Poet’s Corner, your statement “My writing is my memoir”. I love that! What do you try to capture, in your poems?

Mosk: I am really inspired by photography.  A photo taken by 65 different photographers can give 65 different perspectives – it’s all in how the photographer takes the picture.  I see my “memoir” poetry as my way of taking an emotional or spiritual snapshot of whatever I am documenting.  

I think if my poems resonate with readers at all, it’s because they’re recognizing something in themselves that I have also seen in myself, and felt validated. That’s usually how art affects me, as a doorway to validation.  Mostly, I think I am writing as a piecemeal way of documenting this life of mine. I like having all these stories, events and Ideas all collected together so that if anyone ever wanted to learn about me, then all they’d have to do is point their browser at http://ihatepoetry.blogspot.com and read on!

Sherry: Yes! Me, too. How has blogging impacted your writing?

Mosk: Blogging has given me an easy way to publish and distribute my writings. Also, it’s allowed me to share other writers I enjoy with my readers.  I used to have a site called virtualpoetryreading.com, and I would have writers read their poems into my Google Voice line and I’d post them because I liked hearing the voices. 

Now, there are many superbly talented writers that I read daily and I have no idea how they sound, or for that matter how they look, and in some democratic way I like that relative anonymity.  That’s why I’m very reticent to put any pictures of me on my websites.  I don’t want to bias anyone against me, if they didn’t like my looks. Or I didn’t want them to be in favor of me just because they liked my looks. 

Also, I have come to love the community of readers who generously comment on my works.  I like to say that it doesn’t matter if no one read my poetry, but I am writing for an audience.   I get a great sense of validation from my readers and I never, ever take their comments for granted.  There are a billion sites on the internet and somehow they found mine, and I am grateful for their patronage.  Also, I am fortunate to read some of the most talented and powerful writers, and blogging allows me to tell them to their face (as it were) how wonderful they are and how thankful I am for their talent.

Sherry: I feel the same way. It is such a privilege to belong to the poetry community, it is balm for the soul, and definitely keeps me writing much more than I would without it. 

You sometimes write about your long journey of recovery since 1990. That is a real accomplishment. Would you care to share anything about that journey?  I find that the poet’s journey is the real story, reflected in his writing. There is much for our readers to take inspiration from, if you wish to share.

Mosk: I’m still on the journey of recovery.  I don’t have any secrets, but rather the tiny bit of self-knowledge that while I can be very self-disciplined, I can also cave very easily into temptation. 

Here’s an example: in January, my daughter and I joined Weight Watchers, and I lost 20 pounds in 3 months.  It wasn’t as difficult as I remember, and I feel better now, my clothes fit better, and in all ways my health is better than ever.  But… ever since I lost the weight, I’ve been letting my two weaknesses creep back into my diet – cookies and candies.  I’ve still kept the weight off, but every day I vow to be strong, and every day I give in. Why?  I know it isn’t good for me!  Thankfully, it’s only sweet things that are my weaknesses, but with that knowledge of how easy it is to slip, I stay clear of the booze.  Ok, here’s a boozy-cutie:


The Lady Who Never Says No

The lady who never says no
whispers that no one will
ever know.

She's all dressed up
for the holidays
like a call-girl,
wearing her best
skin-tight
electro-amphetamine
frosting.

She knows how
to make that sound
with her perfectly
lipsticked
mouth
that makes even the
most innocent utterance
sound slutty
and tempting.

She's giving me that
"Take Me into
That Darkened Corner
and Do Whatever
You Want" look

and she's right
no one will ever know,

but I know me.

And one time
will tumble into 20,
then into a hundred,

and we'll go at it
cheap and angry
in my car
in the far end of
the Wal-Mart parking lot,

and then I'll be
sucking down mouthwash
before coming home,

and I probably
will only stop
when the red and blue lights
stop me,
and I lose my license
for a year.

Then,
everyone will know.

Fuck,
just keep on walking.

For Christ's sake,
it's just one aisle in the grocery store.

After 26 years,
ain't you got over her yet?


Sherry: Smiles. I love the self-talk going on in this poem! Would you choose three more of your poems to share with us? And tell us something about each?

Mosk: The first one is pure documentary.  Happened in August 1994.  I was 30 and still young and naïve  and horny – a bad combination at least.


Be Careful What You Ask God For

I asked God
to give me an experience
to write about,

one to illustrate
the human condition,
visceral and exciting,
to make my writing
sail through the blank pages.

Be careful what you ask God for.

So when
the hell broke out,
and Lauren left me
for another man,
I asked God for
something
to take away the pain,
and along came Kim,
and with
a giggling acquiescence
without a struggle,
she disrobed,
and climbed upon
the dessert cart,
naked and splay-legged,
and invited me
to partake.

And take I did.

Be careful what you ask God for.

I thought I could
talk my way out of it.

If her husband
ever found out,
I'd just deny it.

(yes,
I know, I know.)

But when he called,
three months later
screaming and blood
furious,
(she told him
I raped her)
telling me he was
going to shoot
my balls off
and he knew where
I lived,

the police told
me to go into hiding
until they could
calm him down
and I could get
a restraining order.

So, as I began
recounting
this sordid tale
I realized,
that I was writing about
the human condition,
visceral and exciting,
I just never guessed
it'd be for
a police report.

Be careful what you ask God for.



Sherry: Yes, be careful indeed! Wow!

Mosk; This next poem is somewhat autobiographical, but written mostly for middle aged men, as they transform from the hunter to the invisible.

Sherry: Oh, women become invisible too! Even more so! Trust me, I know these things!



Grandpa Dracula

He used to be sexy
with his slim figure and
sharpened fangs.

His cool demeanor
and sartorial elegance
mesmerized women
into breathlessly
offering up their necks
as prelude to
their pulsating
sweet
essence.

These flowers with
thick eyelashes,
shiny red lips
and pendulous curves
would avoid his gaze
for fear they’d be tempted
past the point
of redemption.

But now,
he’s Grandpa Dracula,
fat, toothless
and domesticated.

They look
straight into his eyes,
and chat with him easily,
and it is
worse
than being invisible:

he is deemed
cute and harmless.

The eternal life
he coveted,
remains forever elusive,
as he replays his memories,
which mock him
like an endless stream
of Viagra commercials.



Sherry: Ouch! "Worse than being invisible". It gets easier by the time you're my age, kiddo. Smiles. One grows accustomed to being benign, like a shrub. Cackle.

Mosk: Finally, here’s a brief poem about my religious beliefs:


The Big Picture, IMHO

No dogma,
no apologetics,
no complicated legalism:

only Love,

and if that’s too abstract,
then try Jesus.

Not the Bible,
not the church,

just Jesus.



Sherry: I love this one, kiddo. Simple and profound. I see you published a book some time back. Congrats on that! 





Mosk: Thanks, I think my e-book is still on amazon.com  here
I published that 5 years ago.  Where did the time go?

Sherry: You mentioned in your interview at Poet’s Corner that your second collection would feature Christian-Universalist-Humanist poems. Is this collection still in the works?

Mosk: Well, that hasn’t materialized, but I do have a new way to describe my religious beliefs : post-theistic, Christian existentialist. It’s taken me a long time to be able to state where I am in my relation to God.  That label comes close.  I’ve only been a Christian 9 years.

Sherry: That is a way cool description. I understand one of your other creative interests is creating digital music. Might you have a link to your music, that we can include here?



Mosk at 13


Mosk: Well, I have a site at soundcloud.com, 
https://soundcloud.com/noisytherapy, but it only has a few snippets of ideas, some remixes, mashups, etc..  Although I anticipate making more music, as I have been creating a studio in in my closet where I can make my noisy therapy.  

Also, I plan on making more videos for the Moskowitz Media Machine at https://www.youtube.com/user/ihatepoetry I have poems there about Richard Pryor and Love.  Check them out. Maybe it’ll inspire/irritate someone enough they’ll make better art to show what a collection of dreck mine is.

Sherry: Smiles. Again, "dreck" is another word I wouldn't use in connection with your work. But I do like the humility.  In closing, is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United? You were away for a while, and it is lovely to see your name popping up again at Mr. Linky. What brought you back??

Mosk: Thank you to everyone who has stopped by to read my writing. It always makes me smile to see any comments. What brought me back?  I just fell off the writing scene for like six months, and when I came back I saw that a lot of my favorite writers were active on your site, so I decided to join back up.  Seriously, the community of writers that I have been lucky enough to read are a constant source of inspiration, encouragement and creativity and I hope I bring them at least a little of the happiness they bring me.

Sherry: Thanks, kiddo. We are so happy to have you back at PU! It has been fun chatting with you, and we look forward to enjoying much more of your work in the months to come.

Wasn't this fun, kids? I enjoy Mosk's humor so much. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


19 comments:

  1. I do love to learn more about you Mosk... I so enjoy the way you tell a narrative, and even if all things are different I share what you write about being a middle-aged man...

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  2. Thanks Sherry for updating me. :) Thanks also, Brudberg for your kind words.

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    1. It was my pleasure, kiddo. Thanks for saying yes! I think your poet photo is one of my all-time faves!

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  3. Sherry and Mosk this was interesting and fun to get to know you Mosk as I have only been here such a short time really!

    Your, The Big Picture, IMHO is sheer perfection!

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  4. Love the pics! I came all the way over here to see them especially.

    ;-)

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  5. This is a great interview. I so enjoy learning more about the person behind the poetry. Every writer has a voice, and Mosk I love yours. Keep it up!!

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  6. This is a great interview. I so enjoy learning more about the person behind the poetry. Every writer has a voice, and Mosk I love yours. Keep it up!!

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  7. Thanks for the kind comments. I feel so loved.

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  8. This was such a fun interview! I too am glad Mosk is back amongst us. The poems you've shared are just wonderful, each one. (Though I think the best line of all belongs to Sherry: 'benign, like a shrub' – more cackles over here.)

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    1. LOL, if I made you cackle, my job here is done. Smiles.

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  9. This is the first interview I'm reading between you and Sherry. Happy to know so much about you Mosk

    Much love.

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  10. This was a fun interview to read. I have read some of Mosk poems. I checked out your sound cloud and saved it so I can listen when I have a bit more time. I had to smile about the birds on your head. I have a cockatiel as well so nice to meet another bird lover. She brings great joy into my life.

    Thanks Sherry for another entertaining interview into the life of a poet. I'll be seeing you around Mosk

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  11. The heart of a songwriter and a story teller. This was a blast.

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  12. Sherry and Mosk, every word of this fun chat went straight into the heart. ...at first i was a bit disappointed to see your blurred version but you have your reason, i do honor that, moreover your words are a clear and beautiful mirror of you, Mosk...and what to say of the poem "The Big Picture, IMHO", i truly believe all religions are as simple and complex as this...simple concept but razor's edge path to reach there..the poem shines and so full of light..thank you Sherry and Mosk...

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  13. Mosk, really enjoyed your interview.....which is as real and down-to-earth as your poetry is! Really appreciate your style of writing. You write about things that people can identify with. Appreciated your poem about invisibility...it happens to all. And, yup, 'The Big Picture" is right on target! Keep writing...

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  14. I enjoyed this interview so much. Mosk, I love your honesty, which reflects your soul searching, your spiritual quest. I think you definitely get the "Big Picture." Thanks Sherry for such a fun interview.

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  15. Great interview Sherry and Mosk...love the openness and conversational tone of your poetry. Keeps it all very real. Thank you!

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  16. What a cool interview! Sherry and Mosk- thanks for sharing. I learned a lot about you from this, B. Always loved your poetry, but never knew about the musical Mosk. Keep on writing!

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  17. What a delightful interview and laugh of course at your teasing sexy poetry Mosk. How important it is to be able to laugh at ourselves and the world in poetry like this. Thank you both for making my afternoon.

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