Lots of people read my poems and think that I just write about going kaki, masturbating, peeing, or picking a booger. They think that I’m just doing it for the shock value. And of course I am. But for me, it’s much much more than that. These materials make up my life, both in reality and in metaphor. These are the things I’m constantly thinking about, talking about, joking about. These are the things that always help me make connections with all kinds of people. They ground me. They make me and other people laugh. They are the materials that bind us all.
I feel compelled to say all of this because since I started posting my poems on Facebook, I’ve been getting many similar comments about these so-called “gross” poems. Of course, I should expect reactions like this, especially because a lot of the readers have not been exposed to poetry. But I’ve been even getting comments from well-read people. My good friend of 50 years greeted me, saying, “Hey Buddy, when are you going to stop with the potty mouth poems?” I was taken aback and kind of hurt. It happened a month ago and I’m still thinking about it.

What do people want me to write about? Would it be better if I wrote about chrysanthemums, sunsets, and falling in love? These subjects are not compelling to me. Also, every other person in the world, poet and non-poet, writes about this stuff. So why should I? To me, it feels like a huge self-denial to write about such banality. As a Jew and a cripple, I feel a great affinity for shit, piss…These are the things that are discarded and considered disgusting; things not to be examined; too uncomfortable to be talked about, even though they are things we see everyday, all the time, everywhere.

I feel like I’m always being told to stay home, don’t talk, don’t move, don’t exist. I think exactly because of this, I feel the urgent need to intrude myself; to shout, to move, to go to places where I’m not wanted. What better paints could be suited for me? I use the discarded, the unwanted, the disgusting. I try to make something beautiful out of them, and then I force it into people’s faces and say, “Look! This is us.” It’s all us.