1). After reading for a book prize, for a web prize, for entry into a residency, for a magazine, for an anthology, for a website, in a workshop, and in my own classrooms hundreds and hundreds of poems, I wrote on one of my notecards (now stained with coffee): Questions after Reading Poems, and followed this header with a list of four questions. The first question is “What do I like in poetry?” Imagery always come to mind first. I tell my students that all poetry must have imagery.

                                                                                                                 But that’s not true.

                                                                        I teach some poems without imagery.

                                                                                        What is it that I like?


I haven’t been able to answer it, hence my obsession.


2). Mendelssohn’s Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream. It has all these false cadences! You think shit’s going to end, but wait! There’s more! And it gets really quiet and jittery because there are fucking fairies. Fairies! It’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream! You know which line is Puck, then there is the braying of the donkey for Bottom, and it’s just so Romantic you want to cry while biting your fist. Dude, I listened to this over and over again in 2019. I’m listening now.


3). Detective Rosa Diaz. Yep, the character from “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” I don’t even care what her real name is or whether she is bi irl. I am obsessed with the character. She is perfect. We’ll leave it at that.


4). Idris Elba. This is an ongoing obsession and we’ll leave this, too, at that.


5). Hidden Express. What is that, you ask? It’s an online hidden object game where you have to find particular objects in a certain amount of time. The levels seem endless and I don’t know if the game is ever over. Maybe that’s why I’m obsessed? Or am I obsessed because I like looking through junk to find a treasure? Maybe it’s the hoarder in me. I don’t know what it is. I can’t stop playing.


6). My husband says that I listen to Modest Mouse when I’m really down, but what does he know? He’s probably right, but I listen to them when I’m up, too. Their first album, This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About, was on heavy rotation in my office in 2019. Even the album title is golden. It starts with “Dramamine,” which was poppy enough to get radio play, has that haunting somewhat love song “She Ionizes & Atomizes,” and goes into that mess of “Tundra/Desert” which is so noisy that I you have to listen to it as loud as possible. Then the last song, “Space Travel Is Boring,” is a perfect ending. What I love about this album is that every word seems true. What I love about Modest Mouse is that they haven’t lost the concept of concept album. Damn.


7). Let’s stay with albums. Xenia Rubinos’ Black Terry Cat is three years old and I’m still not over it. Some of my favorite driving music is on this LP. The song “Laugh Clown” in particular is just perfect for cruising. It starts with the lyrics, “I haven’t plucked my eyebrows since last month. / One of these days I’m going to let my mustache grow back in” sang a cappella. Then the simple two-note bass line comes in, setting the mood for the next few minutes. When she says, “Sometimes I feel like a clown and I laugh,” it’s so reminiscent of the Mexican grito and I get chills.


She’s out with two new songs now and I’m already obsessed. Not sure if I’ll call that 2019 or 2020 obsessed.


8). My daughters! Y’all, I am still not over that I have twin girls and they are ten-years-old, how am I this fortunate?! Arg! And they are beautiful, musical, funny, friendly, and wise. I love, love, love them so much!


9). My husband’s eyes and beard. I fall into them both daily.


10). Twitter. Not sure if it’s an addiction or an obsession. 




DeMisty is the author of “The Ballad of Frankie Baker” — a piece from our 2018 flash issue and, more importantly, a piece that was selected for Best Small Fictions 2019. We’re not sure about the whole Twitter thing either, but if you’re on there you should definitely follow DeMisty if you aren’t already.


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