People From Real Life People #1: Meg Freitag & Daniel Woody
If you travel and do stuff—play shows, read poems—you tend to meet a lot of people who do a good job. If we are here, we’re here with. It’s good to remember that. It’s good to remember them. Even on the internet. Here are two:
I read with Meg in Austin. The bar was dark, but Meg’s poems had eaten enough carrots to see through it. You could see how smart and funny the poems were by how calmly Meg listened to people laugh at a line like “Mercury must be in Gatorade.” You could hear all the surprises in her poems when she got through them, but don’t worry: they will be there when you catch up.
Magic Baby Goats
The night we met I saw half a shooting star
Horsey across the sky like a hurt animal.
It felt really meaningful, you know?
We lay down in the dirt and he
Said he likes a girl who’s not afraid to lie
Down in the dirt. At that age, my heart was a house
Cat: fat, grey, super bummed-out sometimes.
I learned quickly that his heart was the black
Box of an airplane shot down from the sky.
The stars fell into the river, hissing, and
Rusted. Something inside me opossumed.
He went to his car and brought back
A large wooden box, made a motion with his hand
For me to crawl inside. The moon started bouncing
Up and down along the horizon, like the white dot
That shows you when to sing the words in karaoke.
Mercury must be in Gatorade, he said
As he sawed me in half right below the ribs.
Everyone clapped. Then he pulled me whole
Again from the sleeve of his coat. I became
A long colorful thing with a silk face
That showed all its feelings at once, even the ones
That no one’s supposed to see. He was embarrassed
And tried to stuff some of the feelings back
Into his coat sleeve but it was like trying
To put toothpaste back into its tube. It just made
A mess. But then again I’ve always been the kind
Of person who can wear three or four different feelings
At once and still fit inside a suitcase or a department store
Jewelry display case. And I can really bring
Something fresh—something “me”—to it.
I can also hold my breath until I pass out,
Like sad dolphins have been known to do.
I’ve been told it’s rare. I have another trick
That’s not ready yet in which I turn my fears
Of abandonment into baby goats. In the name of magic
They will follow me around and I will feed them
Oats and let them lick my open palms
Whenever the lonely in my face gets too big.
The life expectancy of a goat is fifteen
To eighteen years, but these magic baby goats
Won’t ever get any older. They won’t ever be able to reach
The stovetop, to make their own lunch.
Meg Freitag was born in Maine and now lives in Austin, Texas. Her poems have appeared in Boston Review, Tin House, Narrative, and Smoking Glue Gun.
I read with Daniel in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He said he was nervous about mixing genres, then he proceeded to read the most amazing and heartbreaking piece about his great-grandmother. Everyone already knew Daniel, and they were sad that he lived so far away in Chicago now, but we felt emotional to hear him read about even bigger distances. We hung out for the rest of the night. I think at one point we talked about Spiderman.
inside this guy’s car on a tour of poverty it was nice outside but he had the windows up & the air conditioning on i was cold cos i liked him & it wasn’t hot to look for homeless kids
he tells me one in something gay boys end up homeless cos parents find diaries-porn-dildos-penis pumps-etc & then the whole oh-my-god-get-out-of-my-house-you-are-not-my-son business happens
i felt so comfortable with him that i asked what time it was as if to say i had other things to do it was two o’clock he said if this were a date i’d have to tell him i was too young for him but his car had heated seats
he said look up
look at the tents
on the roof of the mall
they sleep in those tents
when they get hungry
they come down
i give them food
i looked up he smiled put his hand on my thigh his skin rough nice romantic even
Daniel Woody is a candidate for the MFA in Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His poetry has appeared in The Volta and Word Riot.
Did you meet someone in real life? Did they do a good job? Tell me 2 to 4 sentences about them, and ask them for something to go up (like one poem, one story, one essay, one song). Email me these things: mikeayoung AT gmail DOT com. It’ll go up here is where it might go up.