Mike Sikkema Gives Us Answers!


What is your favorite breakfast food?

My current favorite breakfast food is grits with goat cheese and foraged lion’s mane mushroom. It’s a little processed, a little wild, and probably a little cruel, like the rest of us. The fact that the mushroom is a neural regenerative is pretty cool, and makes the meal a kind of meditation. Of course, we are always reborn through food, but eating foods that I foraged and prepared myself feels like a part of the immediate act of being human.

Tell us a bit about your work in REALITY BEACH.

The poems in Reality Beach were composed on notecards, for the occasion of reading in DC, for Tony Mancus and Meg Ronan. I knew that Rod Smith was going to be in the audience as well as other DC poets who I am both intimidated and impressed by so I wrote some poems specifically for that audience, and that performance.

What is your creative process?

My creative process consists of being open to all the voices that I hear, and then paring them down. Cutting the punch line, or stacking the punch lines, or listing dialogue without context, or providing commentary on parts that have been deleted all make the poem (the big poem) seem honest and realistic and candid to me. I try to hold back more than I give, and I want people to lean in, to meet me more than half way.

Where would you like to be at the end of the universe?

Since there is no end of the universe, I’m happy right here, learning about how our planet works, and how its individual subjects work, and trying to foster a healthy habitat for all of that. The universe is born and reborn and we suffer and celebrate our spring times too, some in more rapid succession than others.

What is your favorite part about being human?

My favorite part of being human is being beautifully incomplete and ignorant. There is so much I don’t know about the most basic things. Wind, rain, the hidden worlds under that first half inch of earth we all walk over, etc. I’m studying and trying to learn all the time and it’s such a delight to know that I will die having solved almost none of the mystery.

What do you rule over?

I’m not sure I rule. I think I weather. I experience, I collaborate. I’m slowly becoming a better cook. I’m proud of that.

How can we support you and buy more of your work?

You can buy my first book here

You can buy my second and third books here

You will be able to buy a collab written by me and the strong, talented, beautiful, fierce, amazing Elisabeth Workman, soon from Pity Milk Press.

What is your daily motivation?

My daily motivation is to try to grow some, to help, to undo some of the devastation that happens everyday.

Anything coming up in the near future?

Right now I have no forthcoming work, which feels weird to type, but not in a bad way. We begin, and begin again. My press, Shirt Pocket Press, will be releasing great work by Jessie Askinazi, and mIEKAL aND soon.

Who is your alter ego?

I’m trying to whittle down the ego, alter and otherwise, but I do find myself thinking through the lens of Swamp Thing quite a bit.

Be sure to read Mike’s work in Issue Three!