D. Scot Miller is a Bay Area writer, visual artist, teacher and curator. He sits on the board of directors of nocturnes review, and is a regular contributor to The East Bay Express, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Popmatters, and Mosaic Magazine. He is currently completing a book of poems (cool), his Afro-surreal novel, Knot Frum Hear, and has recently published his old fashioned manifesto simply titled: AfroSurreal. I asked him about how Oakland has influenced his creative process and what he's working on. “I'd been living in Oakland, talking care of my newborn son, when I finally found the peace and the community I needed to start writing poetry again. At the time, I was neighbors with Marc Bamuthi Joseph, right down the street from giovanni singleton, and would see Victor LaValle or Ishmael Reed walking around The Lake. There was something about the schedule (Early bedtimes, consistent meals, plenty of fresh air) that seemed anathema to the “poetic process” of my younger days in San Francisco (which was just the opposite). There were actually more places to read my work in Oakland, and more people who “got me” when I did. I began to produce serious, internal works along with “out-loud” pieces. Right now, I'm looking for more places to read my work and seeking collaborators (co-conspirators?) for public pieces in larger spaces: theaters, studios, galleries…oh, and an agent. man, I need an agent!” 1 mari mac all drestin blaktwist dove bodytil he neck snapput bird beako’er my teethforced to sayjust words of peace All The Copper Alone or clusteredin gutterson cornersaround payphones.I pick up penniestails or heads upshining or covered in muck.Resting in my handfrom forty-five years agobeginning, becomingin supple brownalmost like chocolate.Almost like wood,but redrustedcorpuscles passed alongdaily inAmerica’s veinsThe penny is the only copper coin here.I line it up next to a nickel, a dime, a quarteron my cluttered desk.Next to the white metalsI recall its names:brown-backawaiting an imminent parcel lunged from a truck bedbody braced, buckle-kneed from the weight that is and will benigger-headSpat out of our memory like the gnarled southern drawlthat spat it inthe aftertaste is a disgust and shamethat lingersleaving forty-nine pennies on a garbage can Old Abe Unshaven and thinFacing east while the othersclean shaven and plumpface westI rub my chincopper wire whiskersbeginning, becomingI brush the coinsinto my Bazooka Joe tintake them to the grocery storeand cash them in.I buy potato chipsa pack of smokesa bottle of wineI sit on the stoopsmoking and drinkingwatching the cars go bylike an inventoryof my umber worth. Afro-surreal GenerationToday,The energy went to building Tupac and Biggie SmallsPez dispensers,Sun Ra and Henry Dumas facing each otheron a palette of twilight,Derby hats, burkas and masks.And remember its throngedseduction.The pressing of face and corpuscular beat. The rushto connect to those eyes,that coat, those sandals, tattooed knuckles.Wonder how much done for loveHow much done forlack of. Woodshed Her father washer husband. He’d call before he’d visit.‘cause I’m a black boy kissingher pink face, flushed.I’d hide in the atticin my boxers.I had no idea what damage I was doingto myself.His furrowed voiceSherlockin’, the smell of our sexwaftingup,as walls filled with muffled new moans reverberatedinconclusive evidence.I did not know who was getting screwed or why.He’d leave andshe andher mother andme would laugh atthe cuckolddaddy.Once a week,for years,I’d fall in love with revenge.Skewered on thepicket fence. AfterGraph Awakened brother catatonicdeified expletiveflayed gargoyleheathen iconjack-of-all-trades jaded jalouse jargonjejune jewelry jiggle joker jockeyjouissance journeyman juvenile joyridejubilee juke jump juncture juxtaposekarmakennel lefthandedleitmotifmachismomania nabobnarcosisobtuse patinaquirky razor satyrtightlipped ushervillage wandXenophobe Y Zerosumgame MAGNA-VOXAlign with the single starboxed in the mighty voicejackpot spills in orbs and cubesinto black cashmere sacks with glowingblue brimswe remove the mirrored funnel,open the beaten and stamped packagewrapped in copper.smear cobalt across our palms.snippets of paper crinklesfeet shuffling sand, on wood,on granite,a guttural wailof shuddering light rails withteeth mashing.What worlds exist throughthe pinhole?Did you ever place your pupilflat the screen?That dot of light,on the television,right after youturn itoff.It’s just your memory now. http://dscotmiller.blogspot.com/ For more information on the poet. Oakland Poets is our weekly feature highlighting The Town's talented wordsmiths. If you know someone we should feature or would like your work considered, emailKwan@oaklandlocal.com.