• About Heavy Hands Ink

Interview with Michael Frissore

I sent a questionnaire over to Michael Frissore to ask him about his new chap. What came back was an interview that was much like the chapbook itself: wildly entertaining. Do enjoy!

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What should we, the readers, know about Michael Frissore the man?

When I told my wife my first poetry chapbook was going to be published, she said, “But you’re not even a poet.”

I glared at her and said, “In the words of Spandau Ballet, ‘This much is true.’ But I am a black ninja.” Then I karate kicked the cup of tea right out of her dainty little hands.

So that’s the only thing – that I’m a black ninja.


Who are some of your favorite writers?

Bill Shakespeare, Jonnie Swift, Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Stephen Crane, James Joyce, S.J. Perelman, Ernest Hemingway, Groucho Marx, W.C. Fields, Donald Barthelme, Bob Dylan, Sylvia Plath, John Lennon, John Kennedy Toole, Phillip Roth, Joseph Heller, Woody Allen, George Carlin, Anthony Burgess, John Cleese, Carl Hiassen, Ann Coulter (I’m kidding. Calm down, you bloody lib.), Rik Mayall, Bill Hicks, Quentin Tarantino, Chuck Palahniuk, Christopher Moore, Marc Brown, Larry David, Michael J. Nelson, Arthur Bradford, David Sedaris, Jeffrey Ross, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Hillenburg, Augusten Burroughs, George Saunders, Charlie Kaufman, Louis CK, Jules Feiffer, Katie Schwartz, Dan Yaccarino, Jim Norton, Chris Jericho, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the guy who wrote that Rebecca Black song, Lanny Poffo, Charlie Sheen, and my buddy Rick in Massachusetts.


Describe the typical process you go through when writing a poem.

There’s nothing typical or remotely process-based other than it’s always ridiculous. Just looking at the poems in LBB, they came from me thinking about episodes of Cheers and The Young Ones; finding a disgusting, chewed up dog toy in the backyard of our new house; a stupid political bumper sticker; and ill-followed sore throat advice received from an obnoxious radio personality. So poetry, for me, comes from the dumbest places imaginable, and sometimes I write it in my car on the way to work. I think it’s safer than texting in general, and sexting in particular, which I also do while driving. Other times I’ll write while looking at a sunset and ramming a fork into my head repeatedly. Still driving, by the way.

I had a poem in my first chapbook that’s still online somewhere. Here’s how I wrote it: Back in 2001-2002 I used to record parts of The Opie and Anthony Show off the radio, and I would write on the tape jacket what was on each cassette. About five years ago I found those tapes and decided I was going to take every topic I’d written on the jackets and throw them all into one, stupid, nonsensical poem. And it’s out there. It’s called “This Poem is a Disaster (“It Stinks, and I Don’t Like It”). Everything in that poem is something O&A discussed circa 2001-2002, and the parenthetical part in the title comes from a line in the first Spiderman movie. So that’s how poetry can be created, as an imbecilic “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”


Would you say that there is a certain theme to this chapbook? If so, what is it?

Yes. Betrayal, alienation, man’s struggle against nature. It’s also a pop-up book. Aside from that, it’s not much in terms of being a concept album. Or maybe it is. Maybe the theme is poetries. Maybe the theme is “Treat this book like an album by Floyd or Yes or Joe Dolce, and read it frontwards and backwards.” Backmask that sumbitch and listen to what it is telling you, which is that the boomerang isn’t blue. It isn’t even long, but it is coming back and hitting you in the face. Or maybe it’s not coming back at all. Maybe there never was a boomerang. Stick that in your bong and smoke it.


What are your favorite unpublished pieces in this collection?

My two favorites are the ones about my son, “Alexander” and “On Being Hit on the Nose with a Toy Train.” Those might be just for me and my wife. Or maybe not. Maybe if you don’t like those poems, you’re nothing but a bully. A big cyberbully bullying my little boy. Hope you’re happy, cyberbully.

I also like “Stiff,” because a.) I’m a sick man, and b.) It sums up my poetry career nicely. And I like “Love Haiku,” again because of the “sick man” part.

How is this chapbook different from your others?

It isn’t. It’s exactly the same as the others, except there are more graphic sex scenes in this one.

Actually, versus Poetry is Dead, these poems are more polished. Not hugely so, but at least somewhat. I don’t think I’ll read these poems two years from now and cringe like I do now with PiD. But we’ll see, eh?

Versus The Gingerbread Gang, it’s totally different. GBG is a chapbook, but it’s neither a book, nor is it very chap, honestly. It just kind of sits on this one Web site, like so many of my other writings. It’s also prose, GBG is. Really fantastic and funny prose, but it isn’t as poignant and rad and gnarley as being down with LBB.

What is it that made you want to do this chapbook through Heavy Hands Ink?

Heavy Hands Ink? Those bastards. They’re publishing this?

(I keed.)

Let me make another list for you: Barry Orton, “Cowboy” Bob Orton, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, King Kong Bundy, “Leaping” Lanny Poffo, Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart, the Ultimate Warrior, the Honky Tonk Man, Jake “the Snake” Roberts, Hulk Hogan, Owen Hart (twice), El Gigante/Giant Gonzalez, Ric Flair, the Undertaker, Andre the Giant, Haystacks Calhoun, and half the alleged Russian wrestlers from when I was a kid, including my favorite, the lying “Russian Nightmare” Nikita Koloff, AKA Scott Simpson from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

These are all wrestlers who I reference in this book of poetry. So, a publisher called Heavy Hands Ink, despite the connection more to boxing than to wrestling, is absolutely perfect, much like “Mr. Perfect” Curt Henning until he died from an overdose of cocaine, steroids and various painkillers.

Both of us are pro wrestling fans. Who is your favorite pro wrestler of all time?

If I can be serious for a moment, all of my favorite wrestlers are DEAD!!! Okay, not all. Some, amazingly, still live, like Shawn Michaels and Rob Van Dam. Others roam the planet as zombies, such as Sabu and the Dynamite Kid. But imagine growing up a baseball fan and everyone you watched play, from Dwight Evans and Jim Rice to Dane and Garth Iorg was DEAD!!!

Guys I idolized as a kid: Eddie Gilbert, dead in 1995 at age 33; Brian Pillman dead in ’97 at age 35; Louie Spicolli, dead in ’98 at age 27. And it didn’t stop! 1999: Rick Wilson shoots himself in the bean, Rick Rude ODs, Owen Hart plummets to his death. The 2000s were like World War II for wrestling, a Dead Wrestlers Society (Google that phrase for a wonderful read, by the way), culminating in the Benoit tragedy in 2007. In May 2007 I might have listed Benoit as one of my favorites, but now that’s like saying Gacy’s your favorite clown.

So, to answer your question: Either Shawn Michaels or Rob Van Dam.
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I seriously can’t wait for all of you guys to read this. May 7! BE READY~!

-Heavy Hands Ink editor,
Maxwell Baumbach