What started you writing? How long have you been writing for?
I started writing when I was 15, I was deeply in love with music and emotion. I love having emotions so much, I love to feel and feel and feel. I wasn’t very good at guitar, I don’t have the ear for it. I didn’t really like movies or television, I’ve never enjoyed the world of ‘famous’ which is why I chose fiction and not TV or movie writing. So I chose writing fiction because fiction writers never get into the ‘famous world.’
What themes did you use to write about when you began, and how has this changed?
I have always written about humiliation and the failure of expectations, it has never changed. This is why I am not famous, because the world finds these two themes annoying to their sensibilities.
Are there any topics you would like to write about more, or that peak your interest most?
Life provides an endless amount of humiliation and failure of expectations. The humiliation might take place with a son and mom, a prisoner, a stripper or business owner, maybe even a dog. Life offers so much humiliation, there is an endless supply of it.
Which genres do you prefer, or styles, or themes, when you are writing?
I really like Dostoevsky, Jean Rhys, Richard Yates, and Richard Wright, they are consumed with the idea that this might all be pointless, and that life is a battle between those who know it is all pointless and those convinced of some crazy idea that gives life some stupid irrational point.
How do you describe your personal style of poetry? of prose?
I would describe it as Western existentialism but mixed with Zen. I didn’t know it was zen though till lately, I’ve always tried to avoid unification, as in the book having at the end a unifying idea, which is Western literature often does. In Buddhism, there is an attempt at a non unifying image, like in Dogen, “A fish swims in the ocean, and no matter how far it swims there is no end to the water. “ The sentence is an attempt at destroying unification, the human mind, I assume all mammal minds when they interact with reality are constantly unifying, as in you are reading right now, and your mind is unifying the symbols to make words and then to make meanings instantly, boom, words meaning. But reality isn’t actually unified, but I can’t explain that, just keep saying that Dogen sentence to yourself, over and over again, and it’ll come.
What’s a regular day like for you… and… How do you describe your creative process?
On a day off I may go hiking in the mountains in the desert outside of Las Vegas, I like to go to Starbucks by my house and answer emails and write articles. I live with a 65-year-old woman, she is dying slowly of a liver problem, I get to stay there for free. I take her to the doctor and do her shopping at a grocery store. I read on my couch for about two a day.
What role does the world around you play in your writing?
When I lived in Ohio the world around me played a major role, because Ohio was basically all I knew. I had lived in Oregon, Arizona and California for short periods of time, but not enough to know how to write about them. I ended up writing about Ohio a lot. But since 2012 I’ve lived in Seoul, South Korea and in Arizona, Oregon and Nevada. I’ve become more ‘worldly’ so now my writing is taking on new directions. I honestly never think about Ohio anymore, it just seems over in my mind.
Do socio-economic news and current conflicts appear on your work?
Until about two years ago I watched the news and read books on politics, I’ve read about 10 feet of political philosophy and five feet of international history, I’ve read so much European history and a good amount of Asian, but one day it died, I just stopped caring. I don’t think I care anymore about the world and its problems, I think it hit me that 95% of the problems discussed in the news are rich people problems. Wars are fought between two groups of rich people who cares, I’m not rich, let them fight. And normal people for the most part just want power and guns and murder and racism. I basically hide in this world, like a ninja, I am poor and I don’t want to be bothered.
Which writers have influenced you? Books you recommend?
Recently for Bipolar Cowboy Asian writers influenced me, Tang Dynasty poets, basically the 300 poems collection, Du Fu and Li Bo being my favorites. I also love Han Shan, the Cold Mountain poet. While I writing the poems I was reading the Shijing. I also read many Korean poets from the Brother Anthony website, Brother Anthony is a guy who translated a lot of Korean poets. I read a lot of ancient Korean poems too. Bipolar Cowboy is really post reading a massive amount of Asian poetry, but funneled through my stupid American brain.
Contemporary writers you’d like to work with or whose work has impacted you
I really like Kate Durbin and Lara Glenum, both of them have created truly 21st Century works of literature. Most writers are so stuck in the 20st Century, of Modernism and Derrida, but these two, they take it somewhere new, it is still unknown where they have gone.
What kind of poetry do you prefer, is there a specific style you enjoy reading most?
I prefer in terms of dead poets, Asian. Right now poets like Lara Glenum, Jamison Crabtree, Laura Mullen are amazing to me.
What influence has poetry had in your life? or writing, in general?
I am a bag boy at a grocery store, I am happy, I am happy because I believe in poetry.
Is there anything else you would rather be than a writer?
How can you describe the process of being a writer, the decisions that lead to it, and are there any tips or suggestions for people following the same path?
I am not a writer, I am just some guy. Some guy.
I have no idea how to be a writer, I think for sure, you have to know what people are doing, you have to make an extreme effort to find out about the world of writing and who’s who and what is going on. Most people don’t know shit about the world of writing and they go to MFA programs and realize the world of writing actually takes work and effort and begin to hate writing.
Please tell us about an anecdote or milestone, a memory in your life that happened because of poetry… yours or somebody else’s.
My first real, like, moment, when I just felt blown away, like my head was spinning was when I read Rimbaud’s line, “I have called for executioners; I want to perish chewing on their gun butts. I have called for plagues, to suffocate in sand and blood. Unhappiness has been my god. I have lain down in the mud, and dried myself off in the crime-infested air. I have played the fool to the point of madness.” OH MY GOD that blew me away, I just had to write after that, I HAD TO WRITE!!! There was no other choice but to write and be a writer and devote everything I had to the art of writing.
Apart from writing, how do you like to spend your time?
I barely ever write physically, I write in my head all the time, I’ve done it since I was little. My brain just makes stories and plays with ideas all day. I spend my extra time hiking the desert or National Parks, sometimes I go to downtown Las Vegas and walk around, drink some beer, stare at the tourists. I really like Downtown Las Vegas, it is a fun place. I exercise and tan, I tan a lot because I have psoriasis. The Vitamin D from the sun makes it go away, I found tanning calming. I don’t listen to music when I tan, I just listen to the shaking of the palm tree leaves and the children playing in the pool, sometimes I fall asleep I become so relaxed.
What are your current goals or projects?
My current project is writing a nonfiction book called Being and Buddhism, I have done a lot of research and planned out a book, I don’t know if I’ll write it, I always think I’m going to write books and then I don’t write them. It is silly.
Are you currently involved with poetry collectives, or currently collaborating with other writers, and if so, could you tell us more about it? Any other friends, collectives, projects or artists you’d like to share with us?
I never collaborate with anyone, lol.
Yeah, read Lara Glenum, Kate Durbin, Anna Joy Springer, Gabby Bess, Sam Pink, Juliet Escoria and Scott McClanahan.
Is there any quote or message you’d like to include or is there anything you’d like to share with our readers?
That day you realize
You loved a ninja
We are all ninjas
disappearing into the night
“Where did the ninja go?”
“She jumped off that roof onto that tree and then (long pause) gone.”
“What did the ninja steal?”
“The ninja left everything, the only thing missing, is the ninja.”
Poems by Noah Cicero:
A Way Somehow
I don’t know, at times,
if you are really people, I
know you are people, I mean,
you aren’t walking on fours, and you
wear clothes. (But sometimes, when
you’re naked, I don’t know if you are human,
and get confused, that’s why I don’t
go to strip joints anymore, or have sex)
How did you all become people? How did
you get so good at showing up on time for work,
and doing what your manager says, how did you
get so good at being detailed oriented. There
is an ad on craigslist for a processor, that says, ‘We are
looking for someone seriously ready to start a career
and care about the work they do every day.’
Seriously the article doesn’t even state what the
company produces? How the fuck can you people,
care about some unknown something, will you even care
after you get the job?
How do you become a person?
Usually, instead of trying to get a job,
I listen to music on youtube, instead of being
a person, I try to become the notes of songs,
the chord structure of ‘Will you still love me tomorrow’
covered by Amy Winehouse, I want to become that song, I learned
the song on guitar and strum it on my adobe porch thing,
trying to become non-human, sometimes I try to become
the taste of a Carls Jr. cheeseburger, I want to be
that delicious, that bad for you.
Sometimes I listen to Amitabha Chants,
Navajo Chants, even old
Kentucky Old Regular Baptists call out chants, I
want to be a pure feeling, that may lead to heaven,
but instead I am Noah Cicero, sometimes I scream, I
can’t be controlled, I can’t be tamed, because I
don’t know what to be-
When you see a pronghorn antelope from your car, high up
north in Nevada, by the Walker River Rez. I don’t know
what to be, the antelope, the person seeing the antelope, the grass
that the antelope is eating, the feeling the person gets from
seeing the antelope, the feeling the antelope has while
eating the grass, so I try to be all things, then I realize,
I’m just wind, swirling and swirling, and it is okay, and
it isn’t okay,
and all will work itself out, something is taking its course, but
it never works out, and all all all it comes, and the wind
shaking the leaves of the palm tree, the hum of bugs, and
me trying to find a job on craigslist
Say it to me Now
I sent her an email,
it said, ‘Call at 8pm, your time
today. and read these sentences
to me, don’t even wait for me to say
hello, just start reading-
Noah, you will never see me again.
Noah, you will never hold me again.
Noah, if we are in the same room, we cannot
kiss, we cannot touch, we cannot do
anything physical together, because
I have a new boyfriend.
At night or when I’m bored at work, I will
remember sitting with you
next to The Cuyahoga and Han River.
I will even remember the
river in Santa Fe that had no water.’
Then in a peaceful voice, say-
She never called that day. He received
an email four days later stating, ‘Noah,
get it together, its been a year. Watch
some Greta Gerwig movies, and get