interviewed by the tender, young, virile writer

DeWitt Brinson

DeWitt Brinson: Who have you been avoiding successfully these days?

Dalton Day: A wasp has come to the window & tried to get inside every day for the past week. Usually sometime in the late afternoon. I believe in glass & sunlight, even when I don’t. I know it’s the same wasp, because my fear has a memory like a crow. My fear lands in the yard & looks at its unshadow while the air disappears in a buzzing.

I’m sorry if I don’t text you back right away.

DB: Draw a single-line self portrait in the air with your finger. How do you feel about the state of your body versus your poetry

DD: My body competes with air. My body is hungry for light but never eats it. My body provides a space where the wordgarden echoes. My poetry draws the shape of my body, then erases it. 

DB: Whose poetry have you been reading? Give your favorite and least favorite lines from their work. 

DD: I have been reading Mathias Svalina’s book Wastoid & Carolina Cabrera’s chapbook Dear Sensitive Beard. 

My favorite Mathias line is: “I don’t remember my dreams, but once I was in the ocean & it was blue like what a bomb feels & above me two whales swam lazily & I could see how each muscle worked in their bigness & their singing was the biggest door creaking on the biggest rusty hinges & also the biggest & most beautiful boy sighing the biggest sighs of receipt.” Because it is true. 

My favorite Caroline line is: “These aren’t our sunflowers.” Because it is true. 

My least favorite Mathias line is: “It is fear that makes the world so solid.” Because it is true.

My least favorite Caroline line hasn’t happened yet. Because it is true.

DB: How many times have you stopped writing poetry forever?

DD: Twenty-four times. Never. For the time it takes to write a poem. While I tried to record a bird I didn’t recognize. Whenever I hear a banjo. I didn’t start.

DB: How would you like to improve your writing? What are some moments when you’ve felt yourself improve?

DD: I would like to listen to my wrists more. I would like to not be afraid of my afraid of my afraid. I would like to be okay when I’m just listening. 

I improve every time I have read a poem & loved it so much that I wished it didn’t exist, or that I didn’t exist, or that the poem was either the first thing or the last thing I ever read in this life. I improve every time I tell one of my poems that it wasn’t that good, but it said what I needed my face to reflect.

I improved when my grandmother told her doctor that what I do for a living is “make poetry.”

DB: Plug your works, media things, and other goodly pluggable things.

DD: I have a collection of poems inspired by the music // persona // force // cloud of St. Vincent, called Fake Knife, waiting to hatch from FreezeRay Press. I’m proud of it because I shattered so many windows & let in so many wasps while writing it.

I also have two manuscripts that are as of yet unaccepted & unpublished: To Breathe I’m Not Too Thin, a series of poems concerning gender & femininity & unthreading my particles. & Interglacials, a collection of love poems that are absurd & have no business experience but neither do dogs so there.

Right now I’m working on another manuscript called Tandem, in which two beams of light are heading towards each other, allowing me to fully embrace the knowledge of physics I do not possess. 

I help edit FreezeRay Poetry, which is such a dream. We love poems. We love culture. We love you. We love reading poems, especially if they sound like you care about what you’re writing about. 

DB: What do you lie to yourself about and do you care if you stop?

DD: I lie to myself about dying & cars & washing machines & air & asteroids & my thumbs & hamburgers & empty spider-webs & hardness. If I ever stopped I never will.

DB: Do you have set writing patterns? Do you have periods when you try to break those habits?

DD: I write in the morning. If I don’t write in the morning I can’t write. If I can’t write there is no morning. If there is no morning I forget about breakfast. If I forget about breakfast then somewhere a jukebox begins to play Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” & this is the only thing that could not possibly lead to catastrophe.

But sometimes I write at night & listen to whales go home.

DB: What do you look forward to?

CB: I look forward to seeing St. Vincent again in December. I look forward to going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter the next day. I look forward to people being okay. I look forward to being tender. I look forward to people not treating other people like not people. I look forward to gender & its many rivers & spines. I look forward to love being the space between a mountain & a sky. I look forward to listening when women speak. I look forward to not making someone’s time here the opposite of glowing. I look forward to all the dogs I am going to see. I look forward to hummingbirds. I look forward to sending my girlfriend the whale emoji every night. I look forward to dancing at drag shows until I become a rain. I look forward to lights changing color & not realizing it.

DB: Try to write a terrible poem. Try to write the worst piece of shit poem you can. You have to start writing immediately and you can’t delete or edit even if it turns out to be a pretty good poem or art.

Spill me.

Answer this?

DD: I wrote these poems going back & forth from waiting in hospitals. I wrote these poems going up & down a mountain. I wrote these poems while my grandmother slept. I wrote these poems while my mother didn’t. I wrote these poems while it snowed. I wrote these poems while I snowed. These poems are away from me & I feel like a porch when I read them now. I hope you enjoy them. I hope you are ok, & if not, I hope you soon will be.