We insist on having fun at the most inopportune times

In the work that I get paid for (content) I often get to work for people who are a lot smarter than me, and a good deal more accomplished in their fields than I am. I’m fortunate that I live in a metropolitan area where there are lots of really smart people so I almost never lack for work.

My clients are really smart and they really know what they're doing; they have received accolades and praise, awards and rewards for it. But sometimes I find myself having a conversation where I have to put it to them like this: “Do you want to be admired or do you want to be hired?” Not that I want to dumb things down but personality is as important as expertise otherwise instead of hiring a consultant I’d buy a book.

Likewise in my creative work I'm fortunate that the work attracts a pretty smart crowd. In my Washington DC poetry gang I have found, again, people smarter than me and confident enough that I can take my shot and trust that they will figure it out for themselves. Not just in DC, too. 

I’m thankful for the dumb luck that I get to meet people whose taste is for something other and it is most certainly something other that I am in the business of making, as a poet.

In my own creative work there are four major themes: alienation, intoxication, addiction, and recovery. Heavy stuff, I guess. The poem has its content, and it has its sound and its look. I tend to focus all my attention on the latter two, because I’m confident that you, reader, can pick up the slack when it comes to the first.

There’s a little phrase of Frank O’Hara’s: “love’s life-giving vulgarity.” Sometimes I like to flip it around, “life’s love-giving vulgarity.” I like for the sonics to sweep you up. The specific visual appearance speaks to a basic sense I have about reality, that things never really match up exactly, that’s there’s no such thing as a 50-50 split, and there is always some little bit that remains after it has all been divvied up and sorted out.

And this wouldn't be a good piece of online content if it didn't end with a clear call to action. I’m proud to be asked to write this or something like it for Annulet. If you’re reading it that means I got through to at least one person, and I hope you will read on and support them. That’s my little ask. My big ask is to engage with you beyond this, to get you in my contacts, get you on my mailing list, to count you in that number of my gang.

I am probably the most easily found person in America. You can get in touch, get poems by postcard, sticker, or voicemail, and what the hell, buy a book, it’s not like you never, I mean you’re reading this. Buckdowns.com, SPDBooks, or Amazon even. Thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing from you.

Buck D

Buck Downs creates poems as postcards, stickers, voicemail, and other author-published ephemera. In 2017, Furniture Press Books published a selected poems, Unintended Empire. A native of Jones County Miss., he lives in Washington, DC.