Question & Answer 3 – Cooper Wilhelm

Question 3

I invented a language
and made three words
to signify a boat:

Övvurbåt – when a boat is on top of the water
Ündderbåt – when a boat is below the water
Båt – when a boat is not on water.

But really, Cooper, what is a boat
when it isn’t on water?
Surely it isn’t still a boat?

It’s not a wreck either,
because that is ündderbåt
[and so are submarines

…………………………..which basically are floating,
…………………………..shipwrecks as a form of
…………………………..transport and nuclear

destruction]. I guess it is still a vessel
like my body will still have blood vessels
when I’ve dried up. And neither boat

nor blood will serve it’s purpose.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 3

I think of boats as the hardened gelatin
that makes pills from piles
and makes sure sailors aren’t dissolved
until they’ve gotten where they’re going safe.

Do you know those pill capsules
are made from what rises to the surface of the water
in which you boil bones?
It’s like if your coffin were an exoskeleton
protecting you from the earth until

it sent tendrils through the rot
and your body made it well again.

Though thinking this makes me wonder if the purpose of blood
and bodies and talking to your friends
were not a kind of drug thing:
the earth deprives its body of ourselves
so it can get first tension then release.

And you are an individual, with your own name to put on a ticket
to sit forever on a manifest (which I assume ships have
so that there is a sense of revelation
when the dead will all rise saved)

and when you board your coffin
and those who love you send it on its way,
it looks like sinking
but is really just a body
letting in a pill, a mouth swallowing the specific
word it made.

– Cooper Wilhelm


Question & Answer 2 – Cooper Wilhelm

Question 2

I call them ladybirds,
but ladybug is fine,
it’s your shit
and you deal with
it however you want.

(but birds eat bugs)

I read about moon
viewing festivals
in Japan, and proceeded
to write terrible poetry
while looking at a cloud-covered
sky. It never rains here,
but it does flood.

If you were to write a poem
about watching the moon,
what would it look like?

My daughter was born two
weeks ago, and now I have less
lunar time than ever before
and I’m kind of grateful
because she has made me
appreciate my sleep.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

I worry about people in boats
because I think they’ll be like me.
They’ll get nervous that there’s nothing over the water
to protect them from being seen, they’ll reach
out to the moon and its rockwall grip of cloud
to steady themselves and that
‘s what makes them drown.

But you have to trust people you can’t see not to drown.
And trust people to love you forever right
up until they don’t.
And trust yourself to survive
days when no one wants you, not even you.

Like how in a specific district called Kamigata
they have complex pails replete with many foods
they take with them to watch new flowers.

And when they’re done with flowers

………………………………….they smash the pails. The cloud
…………….in front of the moon
…………….is not the moon.
……..The cloud is you

because you see from where no one
else could be at this exact moment.

You are the pail, and you are the watcher of new flowers,
and you are the flowers every second
falling out of bloom.

And we can all be the way people talk about the moon
when they miss someone: same moon millions of miles away
from each other


how each moon swells big with the next moon
which looks just like it
and will share the earth
with even more people
and turn their eyes into little moons
and make them beautiful.

– Cooper Wilhelm

Question & Answer 1 – Cooper Wilhelm

Question 1

The night time but with the moon
as an anchor
plummeting to Earth.
Two sailors and a pack of cigarettes
swigging rum
on the pack of an apostrophe
[read: catastrophe].

A children’s birthday party but the balloons
are made of skulls
and all the candy is buried
eighty feet below ground.
Blood-covered hands digging for sugar.

A cinema chain but all the chairs are toenails
and the screen
is made of broken dishes.
The projectionist
tries to screen a film –
The Truman Show –
but it’s not in the script.

What does your world
look like, Cooper?

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

A lady bug alights at the top of a femor like a first bud of spring.
No one notices one small bird reassuring another small bird
as they perch above a ship’s plump sail.
I feel like I should be human sometimes when all I want
to be is the air passing through my lungs
the way I’ll travel through a train station without getting off the train
watching the doors open and close for nothing.
Boys growing up want to be whatever lightless rock
smashed into the earth and made the moon.
They want to be buckets of protein and chum.
They want to sweat like John Cena.
It’s easiest crying in the park
because the trees shushing you with their leaves
would be doing that anyway
so you can feel less guilty for having feelings.
I’m back in town if you want to get a drink
or just wave back at me at this gas station
not sure who I could be.

– Cooper Wilhelm