A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with ps pirro

About – ps pirro

with ps pirro

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

ps: I‘ve been a writer since I was a kid. I published an “underground newspaper” when I was 12. It was printed using my school’s ditto machine (an old style copy machine that used inked pages for duplication.) Earliest influences included journalist Norman Solomon, who at the time I encountered him was writing for his high school free press. 

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

ps: I love the writers at The Sun. I found poet Alison Luterman there, and Poe Ballentine, and Sparrow. I also like the work of Chris LaTray, a Montana poet and member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

ps: Small town, western New York state, near Buffalo. Blue collar town, first and second generation Italian and Polish immigrants. I spent a lot of time walking in the woods there. I’ve lived in California and Colorado and Arizona, done a lot of cross-country travels. Everywhere you go is an influence

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far?

ps: My most meaningful work, most generous work, was the coffeehouse I started in 2000 after moving to Evansville, and then the pay-what-you-can cafe I ran from 2017 through 2019. At the coffeehouse we published an anthology of all the poets who read there during its first year in business. At the cafe I cooked a lot of food and fed a lot of people, which informed my writing, and gave me a lot to think about.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

ps: Seems like I knew as soon as I could read that I would be a writer

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

ps: I make art. I work in collage and reclaimed fabric. I read a lot, listen to podcasts, get together with a friend every week to play music. I still walk in the woods when I can.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you would like to promote?

ps: We’re all just coming back out into the world, aren’t we. I’ve been posting regularly on my two websites, pspirro.com and rag & feather. That’s about all the promotion I’m doing right now.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

ps: I created this art doll during the early weeks of the lockdown. I like her a lot: My Corona

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

ps: My readers, for sure. It’s good to write for someone, a real someone, not just an imaginary person in your head, and my readers let me know they’re reading, which makes me want to write truer work. It keeps me going.


3 poems from ps pirro from Fevers of the Mind Anthology & Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen



3 poems from ps pirro from Fevers of the Mind Anthology & Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen

(a previous version of this poem was included in The Breakup Poems, a collection ps pirro published in 2017)


It took so much longer than anyone expected,
by the time it happened we'd nearly forgotten,
our children are old now, and theirs older still.
I remember that fortune inside that cookie,
be like water it said, and you tore it in two,
because who has that kind of time?
The soles of your boots have worn away
at the place where the weight of the world
meets the road that carried us here.
All those footsteps, all that leather,
all those people we used to be, they cling
like shadows and hide when we turn.
Did you ever think, I ask, and no, you say,
you never did, and we blink like mole people,
emerging from darkness, blind in the light.
Both of us knowing we got it all wrong,
you with your gun, me with my bowl,
you with no bullets, me with no spoon.

Daylight Savings
I spent the night
with Leonard Cohen
we were birds on a wire,
we were drunks
in a midnight choir.
We lost sleep
but saved the daylight,
it was springtime,
we were so high.
We were coins tossed
beneath a concrete bridge,
a fire burning in an oil drum,
we stumbled through
the deep hours,
losing one to foolish whim,
six months will pass
before we find it again,
In the glint of a new-rising sun
we took the uptown train
from Manhattan to Berlin,
there was music
on Clinton Street and you
looked so much older
your raincoat hardly famous
at all, just misty now
like the faded morning sky.
Come home with me Leonard
and I will do unto you what you
have done unto others
I will tie you to my kitchen chair,
and keep for myself a lock
of your hair and feed you
tea and oranges that came
all the way from China,
and pour myself like honey
into this daylight
we have saved, you, and I.

I Was One of Those

I would have fallen for you had the geography been right,
and the decades, even though it took another woman
to sing your song, and others still pierce your heart,
and you had a type and I was not it, the fates would not align,
and (even though) I could not comprehend the tales you told
or the cadence like a missed step in your poetry, still,
I was one of those.

I found you on a shelf in the used bookstore, dark eyes
full of something like soul, or desire, I saw you in the face
of my high school crush who could have been your kin,
so much your image, but he too, loved another, and died
on prom night, a pixilated photograph of his mutilated
automobile on the front page (below the fold, have mercy)
the following day.

We can be selfish in our poems, this I learned from you,
our stories tipping like drunks in search of solace, I clipped
the photograph, tucked it away in a drawer, told myself
(and no one else) that had he taken me to that dance we
would have taken a different road, and he might have lived
to discover how good he looked at 60 in a rakish fedora
and a well-cut suit.

ps pirro lives in a place by the river and blogs with some infrequency at pspirro.com