About the Poems
by Dan Pinkerton
When the motel owners graciously admitted my poems for a week’s stay, I felt compelled to reexamine what I had written. The five o’clock shadows, the nicotine stains, the surly expressions surprised me. The poems, when lined up, seemed rattled by their companions, and some fisticuffs and general roughhousing ensued. These poems were the type of loners one pictures on Greyhound buses, the type who fall asleep in hotel rooms to the accompaniment of late-night TV movies. Basically, they were strangers to me. The truth is I’m not particularly sullen or restless in real life. I’ve never had a swimming pool or a dashboard hula girl, and I’ve never met an idiot savant, yet these things appear in my poems.
Awhile ago I discussed with a poet friend of mine, someone I greatly admire, the subject of honesty. I admitted I make things up.
"You should tell the truth in your poems," he said.
"I tell the emotional truth," I said.
"I don’t believe in emotional truth," he said.
I didn’t, either—I mean, really, what is that? So, without lapsing into manifesto mode, and in the spirit (if not the letter) of the truth, I’d say I try to mine the subconscious in my poems, try to surprise myself, try to amuse myself. The poems are self-indulgent, but not maliciously so. Beyond that, who can say?