One of the things I enjoy about National Poetry Writing Month (aka “NaPoWriMo”) is Gerald So’s “30 Days of the 5-2” Crime Poetry blog tour. He asks poets and readers to contribute something for a calendar day related to his journal of crime poetry. I’ve participated in the past (and I also published a new piece at the 5-2 just last month for “Pi Day”) but this time around I decided to do something different: conduct an interview.
As luck would have it, I knew one of the recent contributors to the journal, because she’s working with me as a horror writer presently enrolled in our MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction: Sara Tantlinger. We meet roughly once a month to talk shop, and so I took advantage of the opportunity to ask Sara about her “criminal” motivations as a writer, especially in a creepy love poem she placed in the journal last year, called “Love Me like a Murder Scene.”
LOVE ME LIKE A MURDER SCENE
You hold me like a ransom note
and love me the way a knife loves
a heart. The police tape is strewn
around us, yellow ribbons that scream
caution, caution, what have you done?
This murder scene love bleeds dark
rubies under my skin, and you can slice
into me all you like, but I remain viciously
tied to our passion crime, a wolf who refuses
to die by anything other than your mouth.
Your eyes, bruised with affection, promise
me forever, but I know that does not mean
golden sun and songbirds. Forever is cruel,
a chilled finality between us. I want it anyway
because I know you will meet me at the end.
Stop your shaking hands. Hold the knife against
our chests, grip me tight in your threatening
embrace, and I’ll promise to love you even when
your skin rots from your corpse. I will clutch your
bones to my heart and bid the world farewell.
— originally published in The Five-Two (8 June 2015)
Karen Petersen, a guest editor for the 5-2, called the poem “tantalizing”: “‘Love Me Like A Murder Scene’ immediately got my attention and kept it. The poet uses crime scene homicide metaphors with a creepy brilliance that captures the obsessive nature of intense passion.” Editor Gerald So liked it enough to submit it as one of his “Best of the Net” submissions for the year. And I, of course, find the seductive violence of the poem worth celebrating.
So, without further ado, here’s my interview with Sara J. Tantlinger (also posted to Soundcloud), where we analyze what the poem means to her, from the invention of the piece to its possible inspirations and meanings. Happy Days of the Five-Two:
- Learn more about Sara J. Tantlinger on her website, Muses and Madness, or keep up with her work on twitter.
- In addition to her poem in the 52 Crime Poetry Weekly and other published pieces, Sara placed a poem in the HWA Poetry Showcase Vol. II, a fantastic collection of dark poems published last year by the Horror Writers Association. (You can read other excerpts here)
- Visit the 52 Crime Poetry weekly weblog and celebrate National Poetry Month.
The 5-2 is an awesome journal and I hope you’ll check them out regularly, and support their ebooks (editor Gerald So will contribute the income to Academy of American Poets this month).