An Interview with Extraordinary Poet – Juan Antonio Polanco
Maybe the reason you are the last thought I have before bed
And the first I have in the morning, is because,
I am totally and Madly insane.
Is there another way to love?
Is there a better way to go crazy?
Tell me a little bit about yourself
I was born in the Dominican Republic to a beautiful girl called Michelle. I was raised in Brooklyn and although I have fallen madly in love with New York, I have never found a place I call home. I like hot chocolate, hate that I’m not a vegetarian, I love dancing and kissing girls. I am a man. I love poetry, sex, music and I want to travel the world and if possible, step on the moon.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since the age of four. I would hide in the bathroom and scribble down stories for hours on end. Stories of damsels in distress and dragons and ninjas. Words are the only thing that come easy to me. It’s as easy as breathing.
In the early days of my life, I used books and poetry to escape my reality. I was a lonely boy living in the loudest city in the world. I became infatuated with art. It was my cure-all.
What drew you to poetry as a medium?
Pablo Neruda. Pablo played a big role in my upbringing. I have always been a romantic (I blame my mother for this) and Pablo opened up a world of so many possibilities. A world where passion lives. His book 100 Love Sonnets dedicated to his wife, Matilde Urrutia de Neruda, was the first book I read. When I finished, I read it again. To this day, those poems in that book, own bits and pieces of my heart.
If I had one wish, it would be to celebrate a moment in time with Pablo Neruda. A man long gone, a man who is dust in the wind at this point. So that is why I choose poetry. Because like love, it chose me.
What is it like to be a poet in this crazy, messed up world of ours?
Don’t call me a poet. I don’t know what that means. I love words, so I write them. I love poetry. I love it more than my taste buds. I could do without taste but I cannot do without poetry. This messed up world is easy to love. I am aware of all the calamities. I like to hang out with Shakespeare, or Poe, or Neruda, or John Keats, Whitman and so many more. I dance with them. I talk to them. But most of all, I listen to them. And, for a moment in time, across whatever distance there is between us, I feel them.
Who is your muse?
Ariela. Ariela. Ariela. She is my muse. The saddest part of my life, is not my horrible upbringing, it is the fact I have fallen desperately in love with a girl who is far away. She is the reason I am writing these lines to you. So that you can lead her back to me. I hope everything leads her back to me; the stars, the moon, the wind, gravity, tomorrow, everything. This breath. I hope I am her home. For she is mine. She is my everything.
I find it incredibly painful and liberating to write. Is it similar for you?
I love writing. It liberates my soul. It allows my thoughts to mingle with those who linger in the depths of my dreaming. Words are like a person to love. You must be devoted to them. Words take away the darkness. With all my faith and with a pinch of hope, maybe one day, writing will free me from poverty and mediocrity. Maybe one day, I will have enough boxers to last me more than just a week.
Do you use emotion? What is your inspiration?
This goes back to the muse question. But other than a sweet, sweet girl, music inspires me a great deal. The sadness of the world also inspires me.
Where do you go in your mind when you write?
I go nowhere. I sit and feel. I never try to be clever or smart. I simply put down what I am feeling at the time. I pen my soul and my heart. I must write before I lose sight of my emotions and become stale and boring.