FangO moved into my neighborhood in 2009. Through mutual friends, we’d actually been to Las Vegas together when I was in my 20s and still willing to act like a jackass in public. FangO was the perfect person to Vegas with: a ballsy gambler, an expert at liquor, a protective badass, and full of stories. He was like the pariah older brother whose main regret was leaving you behind when he left home.
By the time he, Alice and Lili moved down the street from me, Eugene O’Donnell had settled down a little (please don’t tell him I told you his birth name). Having worked stints as an exhibition fighter, a cowpoke, a carny, a disc jockey, a motorcycle repairman, a florist, a stuntman, a stripper, a smuggler, a lobster fisherman, a fine artist, and a prostitute—at least and in no particular order—he finally landed on truck driver. Maybe it was C.W. McCall’s “Convoy,” or the William Carlos Williams lines, “I am lonely, lonely. / I was born to be lonely, / I am best so!” Either way, the long stretches of think time translate to poems for FangO.
Now that Lili, Alice’s daughter, has moved out, Alice and FangO seem to have found more peace in their long-term, common-law, ostensibly open marriage. But there are times when their rocky past is still present. We hear their door slam and see Fang zoom shirtless and unshaven toward San Pablo Avenue on his Harley.
Soon after we reconnected here in Richmond, I found out Fang was dabbling in poetry. It's an interest of mine, so I reached out and have enjoyed his comical, block-shaped narratives ever since. But I think he’s most proud of the tiny poem published by Quatrain.fish:
As a motormouth,
just clearing my throat can
take eleven words.
P R O F E S S I O N A L B I O G R A P H Y
Poet laureate of Richmond, California, Daniel Ari produced the 2017 Richmond Anthology of Poetry, the city's first, representing its diverse voices. His own book One Way to Ask (Norfolk Press, 2016) combines original poems in a new 17-line form called queron with illustrations created and curated in collaboration with 67 artists including Roz Chast, R. Crumb, Henrik Drescher and Wayne White. The book won the Eric Hoffer da Vinci Eye Award for design. His writings have appeared in Poet's Market, Writer’s Digest, McSweeney's and many other places, but none so prestigious as the honorable mentions list of last year's Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. Daniel supports and fuels his poetic life through his career as a marketing copywriter where he has written haiku for Google. For pay.
The Final Last Straw
the iron, the damn iron, hits the wall two feet to the left
of my head and then it’s quiet and I’m thinking how good
it is that Alice and I can’t aim so well. As soon as we hear
each other panting, we both realize we’ve turned a corner.
Lord, we’ve turned The Corner. Always with us, we'd lose
calendar days to insatiate mutual wolf hunger, us two
consuming our bodies in an impossible physics like fire
burning fire. But that was always only after the high of
anger and the expensive wreckage. We needed a budget
for lovemaking, replacement cost for the broken lamps,
furniture and flatware, among the shards of which we’d
burn each other down. I know shit about enlightenment,
but someone once told me It has to do with persistent
concentration—doesn’t matter what you concentrate on.
There are saints who get to The Big Place by indulging
every last sensual body pleasure ‘til the third eye opens.
That’s how we got there, modulating our frequency so far
into airless zeniths and lightless nadirs that finally, with
an iron-shaped hole in the drywall, we realized the storm
was done, over, finished in that moment and forever, om.