A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Margaret Viboolsittiseri aka Maggs Vibo

Thanks to Maggs for designing our Q9 Logos

with Maggs Vibo

Q1: When did you start writing/art and first influences?

Maggs: My Grandma used to call me an old soul during our conversations. She said that adults enjoyed my stories and songs. For learning, she advised wandering outside and listening to the teachings of nature. My Mom advised burning sage and handed me a paintbrush to deal with problems. My Dad advised defying dogma and looking to the cosmos for purpose. My influencers were artists because my parents loved art. Music filled our home and pondered war, art, feminism, drugs, and the government. Artists provided lyrical inspiration for the big and small questions in life. My childhood was a time of exploration and imagination. I suppose nowadays society calls this a free-range childhood. A sense of freedom is my earliest recollection of poetry and art.

Dad playing fiddle

Q2: Who has inspired or helped you the most with writing?

Maggs: All the great crafters of lore… especially Niki de Saint Phalle. I’ve always admired the way she morphed storytelling her trauma into an art triumph.

Niki de Saint Phalle at Atlanta, GA (2006)

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art?

Maggs: My family lived on farms in the Heartland of the United States. It was an excellent opportunity to observe the natural world. Folklore is embedded in art because of oral storytelling traditions. Today we use memes and other technologies, but it is just a continuation of ancient stories told in new ways with new methods. Everything I learned about animals and the countryside, along with old fables and tales, influences my art today.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced work/describe?

Maggs: My first trip abroad was for a Nanny gig in Canberra, Australia. I’ve deployed as a GWOT soldier. Additionally, military assignments took my spouse (a soldier) and me (his spouse) to Europe, Asia and Hawaii. I feel privileged to write about these multicultural experiences. I never take for granted the circumstances (wars) which led to the opportunities.

Maggs Vibo and CW4 Wattana Viboolsittiseri aboard USS Missouri, 2017

Q5: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Maggs: My work in the military community over the past two decades is the most meaningful. It started with art I contributed to events commemorating the fallen. Later, I wrote an article about an Army staff sergeant named Daniel A. Bader. In 2004, a college literary journal published a poem I wrote about an experience during one of my convoys near what was known as Tallil Air Base (located in Nasiriyah, Iraq). I created pieces for the Veterans Writing Project (including a journal written by all women and an anthology covering 2012-2017). In 2018, I collaborated with Jerri Bell and Tracy Crow on women warrior history programs for the National Park Service. In 2020, Oxford Brookes University invited me to a poetry workshop facilitated by Niall Munro, Susie Campbell, and Jane Potter. It was an intimate gathering of women veterans from the US and UK which studied war and poetry. From this workshop, and other veterans’ poetry workshops, the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre published ‘My teeth don’t chew on shrapnel’: an anthology of poetry by military veterans (a free pdf available for download at: https://www.brookes.ac.uk/poetry-centre/veterans–poetry-workshops/). This meaningful work led to many collaborative projects outside the military community. Nowadays, I try to engage at least once a quarter in programs which help bridge the civilian and military divide.

Women’s History Program at Prince George County Regional Heritage Center, L to R: Jerri Bell, Reinetta VanEendenburg, Ranger Maggs Vibo and Tracy Crow, 2018.

Q6: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be an artist/poet?

Maggs: All throughout my childhood I was regarded as a nerdy thespian. I sang songs, danced poorly, walked around with paint under my fingernails and boasted my participation in art and drama club. The death of my grandpa had a big impact on my writing. I wrote a short story which discussed his leg amputation and mobility challenges. In the essay, I talked about his alcohol abuse, use of painkillers and how addiction led to his downward health spiral. My short story placed at state competition. I was invited to a soiree where my parents and friends watched me receive a plaque. This was my first recognition for writing. More than anything, I remember how telling my truth helped my family process our collective grief. The essay is stored inside a cedar chest Dad crafted for safekeeping all of my Mom’s favorite things.

Q7: Favorite activities to relax?

Maggs: I like to cycle the Virginia Capital Trail to the marina to have a local brew, catch the sun on the water and cycle back home to spend time with my two dogs. If it involves being outside in nature (or staring lovingly at my dogs) I regard it as true bliss.

Q8: One of your favorite lines from your poem/song, or favorite piece of art of photograph.

Maggs: Favorite line from a poet is Walt Whitman’s “Do I contradict myself?” As a Park Ranger, I gave battlefield interpretive tours out at Petersburg National Battlefield. Each tour discussed the ways contradiction exists in telling the stories of the American Civil War… and all the other conflicts throughout history. Favorite singer: Neil Finn. Favorite book: Black Elk Speaks. Favorite art: ancient art. Favorite movie: Paprika (2006 film). Favorite photograph: NASA image of boot print on the lunar soil.

Pu’uloa Petroglyphs, Big Island, Hawaii, 2014

Q9 Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

I have a visual poetry piece on exhibition until the end of summer in Virginia. I also work forthcoming in 2 pubs from Paris and a journal from South Asia (all before the end of summer, 2021). I am thrilled to have 10 pieces in Experiment-0, Issue 14, Autumn 2021 Release. The rest is listed on Poemythology.com

Links:

Website: poemythology.com

Photography from Maggs Vibo : Lone Road on Island of Moloka’i I Don’t Need Anesthesia: Photo Art & Poetry by Maggs Vibo

Poem by Maggs Vibo : “Naked”

Fevers of the Mind Fog by Maggs Vibo (photography/art)

Juneteenth Morning by Maggs Vibo

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Maggs Vibo

Visual Poetry by Maggs Vibo : the Year of the Ox

New Collage Art by Maggs Vibo

Visual Poetry by Maggs Vibo: Drinking the Ash Pt 1 & 2

https://icefloepress.net/2020/11/15/half-breed-drive-a-visual-poem-by-maggs-vibo-pt-1-of-a-maggs-vibo-feature/

https://thepoetryquestion.com/2021/02/19/tpq5-maggs-vibo/

https://thewombwellrainbow.com/2020/11/20/nema-a-poetry-film-by-maggs-vibo/

https://radar.brookes.ac.uk/radar/items/dd9d92c2-a37c-4816-b409-5a911d2d88e1/1/

https://smallmachinetalks.com/index.php/tag/maggs-vibo/

https://tinyseedjournal.com/2020/11/03/eastern-tiger-swallowtail-caterpillar/

The Audrey Hepburn Poetry Challenge

Audrey Hepburn, 60'S Icon, Female Face

Audrey Hepburn Challenge!~

(c) Maggs Vibo Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Maggs Vibo
Some Things a Lady Just Wears Well  
Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Jennifer Patino

I am the Audrey
with the pink chucks at the party
wearing oversized shades at night
Scary thin, decked in
dazzling cubic zirconia,
coming down
from a med withdrawal
after my last psychotic episode
involving a Golden Hollywood
delusion & fear of having cancer

Some Gregory Peckerhead
bums my smokes when he
has a full pack in his pocket,
but my sweet meter is high,
like those fools at the makeshift
blackjack table with pixie stick dust
on their upper lips & caked
between their nasal strips
because their vice supplier
never bothered showing up

It should be Halloween, but it's too warm
& there aren't enough demons
on the dance floor
I let the moochy one lead me there
where there's an awkward
exchange of one liners
His Bogart impersonation is the worst,
but I know i'm falling in love
because impulsivity
is the new 'You Can Heal Your Life'
& dammit, he can really move

We're the clean up crew, sober at dawn
I'm Sabrina sweeping up glass
& scrubbing vomit from the floor
He's singing 'Get Me to the Church on Time'
because it's Sunday
& lapsed Catholicism is a topic
we discussed hours ago
before the kisses, before
the Moon River descent,
before the exchange of names

He's driving me home
in a minivan
His mamma's rosary
hangs on the rearview mirror,
catching the sun
causing disco prisms
& paparazzi bulbs
to sting my face
"Hey babe," he says
stroking his stubbly chin,
"How 'bout Breakfast at Taco Bell?"
It's no Roman Holiday,
but I'll call it a win,
except when we get there
it's not open

(c) Maggs Vibo Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Maggs Vibo

Heartbreak by the Seashore by David L O’Nan

We met and departed by that same seashore house.
When you first looked at me, and laughed
in a shy, yet very conversational.
A slight flirtatious touch to my shoulder
and I was in love,  
the sun reflected blades of energy across
where my heart lit on fire, and my soul dropped to 
the sands for you to pickup, and take ownership.
In your ticklish grin, I could do nothing but be mesmerized
by your eyes.
We'd walk the sands, and one Sunday evening
as the glow of the moon shun on the waters
I said "You look just like a movie star from movies I've yet seen"
She said "Yeah, they say I look a little like Audrey, you know Audrey Hepburn?" In the most charming demure laugh I've ever heard.
I wasn't quite sure until I researched, and there they were
just like her,
and her eyes were dancing back to me.   
just like her,
her voice just swayed me away like a fool,
For some reason I felt if nothing was impossible, is this possible?
For hours and days on end
I could hear her music boxes playing
faeries and ballerinas, music notes in the air for me to grab
Was I living a myth?  
Was she the reincarnation of her, sitting by black and white dollhouses aligned by jasmine?
And the Summer faded, and so did the Fall,
the Winter was as gusty as ever, and Spring had its way with the flowers.  Creating new universes and felt bloodless, and used by the sins, and used by the lies, and abused by the skies.
In the rain, I picked the apples from the trees nearby
While in thought the lakes I would walk by were suddenly velvet
with rose petals stuffed in fairy tales, inside the polyphenols.
I would drink them in if I must, to make this last.
I began to chant her eyes in magical chants, offering gifts to the Gods to bring her my love, and her love to me.
I wait as she has married, I want to just see the eyes again.
Days later her reflection whips its way back to my soul.
A walk down the city sidewalk, and "I say hey,
do you remember me from my Summer getaway?"
She says "Of course, you're the one who didn't know about Audrey"
Suddenly I felt lost, dumb, and obviously not the only shy boy who was in love with her eyes.
I sat in love, by myself in thought.  
In my city, lost and wondering if i'd ever see her again.
Will I ever feel that touch to my shoulder, the smile that erased my feeling of failure for just a little while.
I saw her again, after a lover's spat.  She was alone , awaiting a reprieve she felt.  
No longer was she full of energy, but more like me
Depressed, confused and like me, lost.
in rain storms she was dressed more like a woman who left a fashion ball than living without a home under thundercracks.
We went back to my sorry 1-bedroom, and talked for the first real time about her, she spoke of a failed love back home, and 
she finally took the time to understand me, and I pretended not to understand everything about her that i've built up in my mind.
We were spinning jars on the floor, playing Miles Davis as the rain pellets smacked the window.
We were picnics in the park, I'd stare as the strawberry leaves her lips. Entranced by her eyes.
We were hand in hand watching the tiny finches flapping in the puddles.
Leaving soundwaves of songs in the ripples.
Praying hope into our souls.
We were watching the magnolias flatten by the sun rot, as we sat
on stacks of Alfalfa Hay.
I knew she had to get back home after the many days of finally knowing love.  She still had this Golden ring on her finger that began to shine like dishwater yellow to her.
How did the narcissism of the highway man, the traveling heart breaker not fall in love with the eyes, the smile, the gentle walks, the woman inside that fully understood the man I would become?
How did he get so lucky to have his fairy tale become true?
I hope to one day be back by that seashore and see her walk back
in a Holly Golightly divorcee cackle, and have arms ready for mine.
Even in the fog of her leaving, her eyes
The wailing of spirits from the ocean, her eyes
Sitting atop a reflection of an empty wineglass, and her eyes...
The secrecy of love note trails that lead to the top of her stairs,
while he was away.  
The same trails in which her tears would drop when someone wasn't looking as she took walks by herself, like I.
I await with the wind chimes.
I await in the milk white flowers that rest in the wind.
I await sitting the lonely mask in the corner of her eyes.
I plant her a garden, and believe in tomorrow. 
To share our black and white mirrorball.  I'm just a pebble wanting to be picked up to be swept away.
Forever in her palm, 
and forever her eyes.  

Wolfpack Contributor EIC Bios:  David L O’Nan & HilLesha O’Nan

Poem by DMB (Death Metal Buddha) 'Audrey  Hepburn'

An American icon, 
Setting the standard for Hollywood elegance;
Unique beauty and incredible talent 
Accompany her audiences and costars;
Wound and endowed with the resilient nature
Resplendent genus to cultural activity;
The ultimate girl to role model difference 
Fell in love with the Corps de ballet;
Smuggling secret messages in ballet slippers 
There is more than charity in her name;
A desire to make the world more beautiful
Sweet lil Academy Award winner,
And she did. 







Juneteenth Morning by Maggs Vibo

Juneteenth Morning

I slept
wet, drenched, dripping
splashed into a pool of hot water
boiling
Had to feel the bubbles
rising
from the bottom
hot waterbed
head towards
‘A look’ but not the sense to know
slow dreams
(on my own) clock
stop time
not wrinkles or
Father Time, but appreciation
(these words are mine)
I’ve learned enough to know
Jack Crap
and that’s a fact
check these turning words into
Poetry…give thanks and glory
to Hughes, Angelou and Gorman
for this

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Maggs Vibo

I Don’t Need Anesthesia: Photo Art & Poetry by Maggs Vibo

I don’t need anesthesia

He pushes a button and
the chair slowly                          mechanically moves  
leans back pushes me                open
w i d e                                         W I D E R
I’ve got the whole world             in my mouth
my goggles 
fog 
seeing trauma                            in my jaw
a root/canal                                a partial?
a date                                         I can't recall
and the conversation
morphs to                                  my sleep
                                                   meds and
allergies                                      latex
But I stop talking once
sirens blare
I don't reach for it
Keep my fists under                  my lap
clutched                                    clenched
I no longer search                     drill
or load ammo                            Suck,
breathe, clear 
I think the steps as he's             covering my mouth
                                                   backwards
counting
from 12, 11, 10...
Drifting
            Tumbling
                         6, 5...canvas        duffeling
                                                     falling
camels   Fucking                           punching
the sand
my guts spill                                 out of 
poetry

At least these days,                     my mind
I know the difference
between a 
memory
and a mind trick 

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Maggs Vibo