The name of his spaceship is Robert Gonzalez, and he has been appearing at venues around the world as a ridiculously un-structured and disheveled angst-ridden artist, to share his work solely for the sheer joy of connecting art with strangers to Something Far Greater. He comes in peace. – RG
We meet at Venti’s in south Salem and chat over pizza and beer.
Salem Writes: Okay Rob, I’m recording you, so that we can get you in your own spontaneous voice. So, why do you do poetry? And why do you do it the way you do it?
Rob Gonzalez: My first poem was in second grade, for Mother’s Day. I could feel and hear it when I did it right. And then as a teenager I tried to use poetry as a vehicle to talk to girls, because I’m really shy. Then I started using it as a vehicle for social justice. And so I tried to explain it to other people! Yes, in poetry! That’s when I first heard Keith Berry do poetry in a way I’d never seen before, a lot more energy, a lot more dynamic. I was blown away by it, I couldn’t believe it, it was amaaazing. Then I could recognize, oh! the whole person becomes part of the poem.
SW: Your poetic delivery, Rob, is it acting or self-expression?
RG: I mean it’s a little of both. The whole idea is that I’m trying to transmit this thing inside of me over to you, but there’s this un-fathomable distance between us. You could never get to my perspective. I could never get to your perspective no matter what, it’s impossible. We’re out to bridge this un-fathomable distance. Somehow. And I use whatever bandwidth I can. The whole point is to get the thing you’re doing to carry information. So you add intensity, you add… the whole body. You try to give substance to the words. Each word is like boom! You have to let me do that, and I have to be able to do that.
I’m not dead yet, but death is coming for me.
Entropy follows with a cop-like tenacity.
I can reload poems, lock words in the saddle
Pre-order verbs and watch
the chance barrier shatter
but the GM knows,
I’m up a tree without a paddle.
Rules we’re told: there is a creek,
you have no ladder.
I got X number of hours
to rock the mic like a mortal
Watch my face and my body succumb
to the coil of gravity…
Rob’s hands move freely. The bartender leans in to listen.
To hear and see his poetry, go to youtube > pogokero, and come to the Salem Poetry Project, Thursday evenings at 7:00 at the Barrel & Keg.
Interview by Vere McCarty.