A Black Flag Kid Wrote a Book of Poems
By now you've probably heard about the Black Flag reunion that everyone is creaming themselves over. What you might not have heard, however, is that Chuck Dukowski's stepdaughter, Mira Gonzalez, is publishing her first book of poetry, and it's the bee...
By now you've probably heard about the Black Flag reunion that everyone is creaming themselves over. Unfortunately, as of right now it looks like they’re only playing three shows, so you'll probably miss it, then tell everyone how bad you wanted to go and what bullshit it is that you couldn’t get tickets, before eventually just carrying on with your life. But there's this other Flag-related thing happening too. A truly interesting new publishing venture called Sorry House has surfaced and their first book is one of poetry (gay) from the strangely intriguing internet ghost Mira Gonzalez. I was going to make the headline for this article "Black Flag Offspring Does Poetry" because I thought she was Chuck Dukowski's actual spawn, but it turns out he's her stepfather, which is still fun.
The title of Mira's book is I will never be beautiful enough to make us beautiful together. But I'm not so sure about that. Have you ever seen yourself, Mira? I have a feeling a lot of boners with your name on them are out there. Hell, I've even got a small internet crush on you, and I'm a goddamn faggot who sucks fat guy dick and eats fat guy ass ON THE REG.
Maybe I'm overselling you. I should stop.
Tomorrow night Mira will be celebrating the launch of her new book with a reading at Housing Works bookstore in New York. In addition to Mira, Victor “Kool A.D.” Vazquez (the Das Racist guy), Melissa Broder (the Queen), Willis Plummer (he is too young to write as well as he does), Spencer Madsen (taking on despair toe to toe), Marshall Mallicoat (don't know her/him, but like his/her tweets), and myself (the worst) will be reading as well. There will be drinks.
I asked Mira some questions about some things.
VICE: Who is your dad?
Mira: My daddy is a Mexican-Jewish businessman who I think is trying to kill me. My stepdad is Chuck Dukowski of Black Flag.
Not sure about the ages of the parties involved, but I'm assuming you were born after the Black Flag years?
I am 20; Black Flag is before my time. My mom and Chuck got married when I was a baby, and I've lived with both of them my whole life. I was always aware that he was in a band, but I didn't really understand how important that band was until high school when I met people who liked Black Flag.
Since I was young I have always heard Black Flag songs around the house, so it was difficult for me to get any distance from the music. As I grew older I understood the songs more and began to enjoy the music independently. I think Black Flag influenced my writing a lot, as well as my taste in music.
Chuck now plays in a band called The Chuck Dukowski SEXTET. Chuck plays bass, my mom sings, my brother plays guitar, and our family friend plays drums. They play a cover of the Black Flag song “My War” at the end of their set. It’s fun to hear my mom scream “fuck you!" at the audience. My brother is also a contortionist and bends himself in half while playing guitar during their set.
A lot of your poems’ titles sound like tweets. Were they?
I can only think of one title that was originally a tweet (the title is “McSweeney's Caused Global Warming”). Sometimes I write a tweet and save it because it would work better as a poem title, and other times I write a poem title and tweet it instead.
Usually titles are just recycled images from their poems, but I wanted to use titles as a place for actual content, instead of just pointing to what’s inside (it seems pointless to title a poem about bluebirds “Bluebird,” for example).
I view both Twitter and writing as a way to identify with people. If someone reads my Twitter feed and doesn't immediately think I'm a massive shit head, then I probably want to be friends with that person. If someone reads my Twitter feed and does think that I'm a massive shit head, then I probably want to have sex with that person.
It feels really good when I think Rick Ross should sit on my face right now, then post it on Twitter and receive affirmation that I'm right.
I get the impression that you have worked at a marijuana dispensary. Is that true, or am I confused?
Yes, that is true. I had to quit, though, because I moved to New York. It was probably the best job I've ever had. I spent all day dropping pieces of weed onto a scale. Technically my title there was “budtender.” A lot of people came in and asked me to recommend strains of weed, which was difficult for me because I don't really smoke weed, so I just made shit up. I would say things like “the purple haze is more of a body high” and “yeah, the OG kush is a real face melter.”
A lot of young writers are unabashedly talking and writing about their drug use these days, yourself included. Do you ever feel that there's a very thin line between being honest about a certain type of lifestyle and stupid bragging about "partying"?
I'm not sure. I have felt negatively about people who seem like they are bragging about drug use in order to be perceived a certain way, but generally I feel more irritated by people who brag about their sobriety.
If I left drug use out of my writing, I would be hiding something about myself so that people wouldn't judge me.
I also don't feel like there is anything particularly “cool” about the way I do drugs. Most of the time I am taking various pills alone in my room. I like pills because they aren't demanding or inconsistent. I usually spend the first half of my drug binges desperately trying to become motivated enough to be productive, but eventually resign to staring at porn for three hours and feeling good about my inevitable death.
Does writing make you happy? In other words, what does writing do for you that makes you want to keep it up?
I feel capable of most accurately expressing my thoughts in writing. I often feel like if I don't write about something that happened to me, then it’s like that thing didn't actually happen. I think I write compulsively, to some degree. When I was younger I kept a lot of journals where I would write lists of things. I still do that. In high school I wrote multiple lists per day and I think it helped me feel like my thoughts were concrete and organized, which in turn felt comforting. I feel satisfied whenever I accurately express something in writing, like I untied a big knot or finally sneezed after having to sneeze for a long time.
You just moved to New York. Welcome. Are we treating you OK?
Thank you. I like it a lot so far. Seems extremely different from LA, but I'm not sure exactly how. I like that I don't have to drive here. I am also enjoying the cold weather (I saw snow for the first time about a week ago) but I'm sure I will get sick of it soon.
I don't remember most of my first two weeks here because I binged on drugs a lot and didn't sleep much. I think I had a good time though. I am currently sitting alone in my friend's apartment in Queens drinking beer and eating hummus with a spoon. I'm pretty sure the cat peed somewhere but I don't know where and am not motivated enough to get up and look for it.
Here are two poems (gay) from Mira's book.
“list of pornographic sub-genres”
I was romantically involved with a 29 year old who had a master’s degree in philosophy
he took me on a date and bought me dinner
after dinner we kissed and touched each other in the backseat of my car
he said ‘I’m gonna come on your stomach’ 15 to 20 times while
breathing heavily and putting his penis on different parts of my stomach
every time I attempted to touch his penis he moved my hand away
eventually I gave up on trying to interact with his penis
he never came on my stomach
also he was afraid of elevators
“the main purpose of the heart is to make heart sounds”
the next time you are driving your car
you will think about that day we had sex in my dad’s bed
when the bright sun was shining on us through white curtains
and we felt comforted by the inevitability of death
I know sometimes late at night we share the same thoughts
we think that we only have free will when we are alone
and that we don’t want to become better people
the newspaper said that the sun erupted tuesday evening
and that the higgs boson particle created a ripple in the space time continuum
and that beer is good for you
I will touch your face using my entire body
and we will recall a specific warm morning
when we felt numbness in the space between atoms
and our mouths tasted like the unattainable closeness of years prior
You can buy a copy of Mira's book here. I urge you to do so. Sorry House is something worthy of your support.
See you Thursday.
Giancarlo DiTrapano is the publisher of New York Tyrant. For more information click here.