An introduction written for Lee Gerstmann’s book Campus Quest, February 24, 2001.
Here I am writing the introduction to this book…and maybe an introduction of you to Lee…and maybe of Lee to you…especially if you are a woman who lives outside of the NORMAL yourself…or at least are not fulfilled by THE NORMAL. Lee is shy.
I don’t usually do this. The reason I am doing this is because Lee is one of my favorite poets. He writes, reads, exists in a “strange” state of purity, innocence, and an indirect directness which is fueled by a child-like passion. This state is not normal. It is very close to madness, to out-of-control homeless raging which threatens to destroy everything. But Lee’s reality isn’t madness. It is what a lot of artists and poets try to fake. Lee is real. I hope you bought this book from Lee after you heard him read/perform. Then you know what I mean. You probably also feel the warmth, the softness/gentleness, and the vulnerability that is the core of the planet Lee lives on. So get on stage and hold his hand…hold him like you would hold a scared puppy struggling to get away. This is why Lee writes poetry. This is the quest, hoping a woman out of uniform will hold him like this.
If you haven’t been around Lee physically, if you just came across this book…well, before reading the rest of the book…take off all your clothes, lie down on your bathroom floor, kick your legs and flap your arms for five minutes at least…then read Lee’s poems aloud, very loud, in the voice you would read Poe or Lovecraft with. Then you will have most…but not all…of Lee’s intensity.
You don’t need to do this to “get” these poems…especially if you are an outsider, a watcher looking in…not really wanting to be absorbed into THE REAL WORLD…just wishing to meet somebody to touch. I spent many years watching, on campus, on the sidewalk…unseen…desiring. If you have ever been an outsider, you are always an outsider, no matter what your outside “reality” presently is. Lee is the voice of us outsiders!
From the book Frankly Speaking: A Collection of Essays, Writings & Rants by Frank Moore.