interviewed by the tender, young, virile writer

DeWitt Brinson

DeWitt Brinson: A cold day you dressed too warmly for 

Michael Martin Shea: On Tuesday there was snow on the mountains outside of Las Vegas—a most glorious vision, o powder, o geodes, o light! Of course, this is not a rare occurrence, exactly, but I have not lived in Vegas long enough for the relative rarity of the event to mean anything to me, nor for the sight of Vegas’s surrounding ambient in any condition to wholly bore me, nor for the development of any precise metric with which to gauge the fluctuations in temperature common to the area, and in my astonishment I made a careless mistake, donning far too many of my delicate and expensive sweaters. And o it was hot in the valley-o.

DB: A moth eating your grandmother's coat

Michael Martin Shea: Grandmother made out of matchboxes. Grandmother pouring the sherry. Grandmother stuffing the windpipes and grandmother forgetting the sausage and grandmother turning the fireplace on in July. Grandmother gussied on oxygen tanks. Grandmother with a hole in her best shoe. Grandmother was a tough lady grandmother knew how to throw macaroni at the ceiling grandmother queen of the portraiture arts. I’ve never forgotten her hallways. 

DB: Lube on a nickel 

Michael Martin Shea: That’s a money shot. 

DB: Waking from a forgotten dream

Michael Martin Shea: There were cops cars and a high school and the St. Louis Rams were inside. All five of them. We had to buy our pumpkins quickly. There are no boundaries in this new sort of football.

DB: Birds sleeping on your roof

Michael Martin Shea: Why is it my roof? Why are they my birds? Why does the shit come out of our bodies, John Wayne? 

DB: Meeting a poet who's having a bad day

Michael Martin Shea: The poet Dave Smith seems to be perpetually having a bad day on account of things like continental theory or women being treated as sentient persons, both of which run counter to his nature.

DB: Tripping in front of a dog

Michael Martin Shea: The softest indignities, the largest of feet.

DB: Clouds n shit

Michael Martin Shea: I don’t understand the proverbial cloud, as the children say. Smog is good food for a sunset.

DB: The last time you were anxious 

Michael Martin Shea: Writing this email. Writing any email. 

DB: Peter Pan

Michael Martin Shea: My dear friend Zach A. Harris is a full-time Peter Pan imitator in Chicago. He performs solely in winters, and the performance is a sort of spiritual cocoon, nestled inside the larger and more indomitable cocoon of Chicago, nestled inside the larger and more gregarious cocoon of Illinois, a state with the highest per-capita water birthings in the nation. My friends and I, we live in fear of the fabled tripartite birthing. But there is always pizza and beer.

Michael Martin Shea was born in Maryland, raised in Florida, and now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Colorado Review, Indiana Review, jubilat, Pleiades, RealPoetik, Similar:Peaks, and elsewhere. Currently, he is on a Fulbright Fellowship to Argentina, where he teaches English and translates contemporary poetry from the Spanish.