Casey Mensing: Gipsy thoughts under the moon of longing and desire
Casey Mensing was born in a town called, Breese. His family was the restless sort, so he’s lived a few other places since then. Currently, he’s residing in Honolulu, HI. Mr. Mensing started out as a compulsive liar but switched to writing after discovering the works of Frederico Garcia Lorca and Lightnin’ Hopkins, which is why Casey describes his poetry as a blend of Duende and Mojo Hand. You can read selections of Casey’s newest writings at http://caseymensing.blogspot.com.
1) Would you do it all over again?
Yes. It’s been a interesting life, so far. I can only hope it continues to be.
2) Do your whereabouts influence your writing?
In the case of living in Honolulu. I’ve been here almost two years now and my lifestyle has taken a significant change. Instead of driving, I walk everywhere now. It’s slowed my pace of life down, and also made me more aware of my surroundings. More observant. I’ve brought this into the poetry I’ve been writing. I used to write really long, multi-page pieces, as if I was trying to capture everything I experienced in this kind of manic, speeding car, way. Lately, I’ve been writing these short, compact poems with that are held together with a few strong images.
3) How did you get published and why that choice
The opportunity had come up unexpectedly. Maybe three years ago I met a guy in a bookstore who had published a collection of short stories with Publish America. He gave me the rundown of how they worked. I inquired a couple of months later and they asked me to send a manuscript. Shortly after that, I had decided to move from Florida to Hawaii and that became my sole concern. About a year after my initial query they sent me a letter asking if I was ever going to send the manuscript. This time I did. I decided to go through Publish America mainly because they offered me complete creative control and unlike self publishing it didn’t cost me anything.
4) Few make a CD belonging to a book … what was your motivation and inspiration?
Doing the CD was like getting back to basics. When I started writing poetry, I knew very little about publishing and wasn’t really thinking in those terms. For me, it was all about the spoken word. Showcasing my talent live and in person. Myself, Carl Polgar, who I did the CD with and many others gave readings anywhere and everywhere. From coffee houses and bars to house parties and the back seats of cars. So when Carl came out to Hawaii he brought some recording equipment along with this project in mind. He recorded me reading excerpts from Love Is A Ghost Thing, then took it back to Nashville, TN with him and put together some fantastic music to compliment and enrich the poems and The March of The Tongue Brigade is the end result.
5) Who are your favourite authors and poets … what are your favourite books?
Roberto Bolano, both his poetry and novels. 2666 is incredible and he’s got this book of poetry entitled Romantic Dogs which is awesome. Etgar Keret, Kurt Vonnegut, Carson McCullers, Haruki Murakami, and Nelson Algren are a few others I’m into. As far as poets, Lorca, Rimbaud, and Dylan Thomas.
The poems: life inside-out
Fetishes tied together with stockings,
reduced to simplistic longings.
Big money fantasies,
replaced by the couple next door.
No worries my dear,
my heart still belongs to you.
hers are the elegant blades,
his are the wounds.
hers are the guilty pleasures,
his are the scars that won’t heal.
he never understood,
that dressing her in shame,
would lead to the cuts.
she never understood
that his pain wouldn’t heal her loneliness,
that salvation, is a cruel reality.
when carving the flesh, keep it quick, clean.
The water draws you in
deeper than you can stand.
to what you hope
is the surface.
Emerging to find
the night air,
cooler than you remembered.
madonna of the coast
I ran down the road,
ignoring smiles and regards.
Found myself kneeling in front of a door I didn’t know,
in a town that’s a burned out vision in a dream.
In her room, time is abstract,
there is just mutterings, requisitions.
The fluttering of eyelids.
Who is she to me?
I to her?
In the flash of weeks.
another time around
At the crossroads of the French Quarter
and the tomorrow that’s never gonna come,
is where you and I are entwined.
I looked into your eyes,
saw through the symbols and metaphors,
and with the tip of my thumb,
I traced the bones of your face.
Despite the fact that you were like water in the hand,
I clutched tighter,
hoping you’d feel near,
but you are a vision that was never real.
It’s been weeks
since I’ve laid eyes and pressed feet,
upon the street,
where as self conscious lovers we’d meet.
Where our devotions, spoken softly,
were concise and clear,
but left us with desire and want,
obvious to all that we’re near.
Why is it so hard to move on,
when even the scent of you,
was created in my mind?
Unable to break the habit of peeking through her keyhole,
down upon my knees, praying for a glimpse of flesh.
Aroused, hoping she aches for me as I ache for her.
My angels always have fire behind their eyes.
Standing along the road that leads
to the room where she dwells
alone, me on her mind,
honey the flesh,
fate the enemy.
My sun kissed lover
stretches and bends,
making her way through the trees.
the beautiful face
she saw in the moon.
an approximation of roses
An approximation of roses
The repetition of love affairs,
The blessing of a bum has become a quest for a home.
No roads lead off this rock,
and tomorrow is a long time away.
Guilt is an undertakers sigh,
and has no place in a love that has
no regrets, no apologies.
Another summer moves through.
My hat is hung on the day after tomorrow,
and what’s behind a locked gate that has no key.
devoid of form
I’ve built a shrine for an imagined body
The manifestation of my desire,
your heart pounding beneath my lips.
I turn, you are standing there,
dressed in silk, barefoot, long, wild hair.
Slowly raise your dress.
Your knees, the morning
Your thighs, shades of the afternoon.
flesh capable of cauterizing wounds,
My hands firmly caress you before the mirror
until you become a tempest.
Her first thoughts were of pleasure,
sacrament of adoration.
I read her words before she could make them disappear.
There is a partition of black lace to hide her from eye.
I am eager witness to silhouette and shadow shows.
Her awkwardness. Desire.
Lust and punishment. Salvation in every orgasm.
She tries to condemn me, cast me into exile.
She tries to curse what she has inspired.
of devil and flame
This road I’m on is littered with desire signs.
Temptations in the words of all night girls,
beautiful, naked, and near.
Visions I have of a woman
I’ve only muttered small talk through a wall to.
You stare out the window, biting your thumb,
wishing that just once a parade would pass your way.
I’m in the desert trying to figure out,
why it is I know what your body feels like when you come.
I’m fighting impulse and nature,
bound to cross the line.
My innocence is postured,
devious from the first utterance.
The night is still.
Memories, long and flooding, glow with a heavenly flame.
I’m fighting with an illusion
who took me once, to her bed
leaving me to wonder if it could be any other way.
Soft to the touch, a milky gray.
The morning I wished to never come.
She looks to heaven for answers, because she doesn’t trust anyone
Makes one last deal to be a forsaken beauty who must love everyone.
where you are
Injured in an empty room,
my eye on the travels of the moon.
No need to show your hand
I know all your tells.
Your sleight of hand, mystical tricks.
I see you amongst the stars,
as I kneel beside the river.
My reflection drifts to yours,
coming together where it is too deep to stand.
And I remain here, through the night, into the dawn.
Thinking of you,
staring into the sun,
hoping to burn you from my mind.
My paramour, my muse.
The scent of vanilla and oranges clings to her.
The shadows recede in front of me,
growing menacing again, on the edge of my heel.
Dawn is closer than I want.
I return to her eyes, light and distant.
In them I see more than I’ll ever betray
I am raw nerves,
slipping in and out of identities.
longing for the warmth of her body.
She wants the lash,
my lips upon her wounds.
Romantic notions and kamikaze daydreams,
The moon is wider than the sky.
For a moment, your eyes looked into mine . . .
For a moment, we fantasied about casting our lots,
riding off together,
symbols woven into violent prose.
© Casey Mensing
Casey has been steadily publishing poems, stories, and essays for a few years now. In 2008 his book of poetry, Love Is A Ghost Thing, was published. In 2009 Casey and long time friend Carl Polgar of the band Paris Street, released an 8-track album, entitled The March of The Tongue Brigade, named after a little-known group of Civil War soldiers who met an unfortunate fate atop Lookout Mountain in Tennessee. The album is a companion piece to Love Is A Ghost Thing and incorporates a wide range of instruments keys, mandolin, trumpet, melodica, voice, plastic bags, guitar, manipulated loops and samples of various sounds, including sneezes, snow shovels, and even an orgasm. The main focus throughout, though, are Casey’s words. You can read selections of Casey’s newest writings at http://caseymensing.blogspot.com.