Today boasts two birthdays—two artists who are important to me: Buster Keaton… & second is my subject, Los Angeles son Cliff Weber. Writer of American poetry, fiction, fiancé to an incredible artist Erin Dillon, an intellectual, & most rare: a friend. Cliff’s work is quite different from mine. We both deal in surfaces. I’m in the objective tradition where he’s subjective. There isn’t any right or wrong with these things. Style is the answer to everything, to quote one of Weber’s largest influences, Charles Bukowski.
Thinking back on my first reaction to reading Weber’s poems, I didn’t know him, first book of his I got was “Jack Defeats Ron 100-64,” immediately excited he was living in Los Angeles & that he was capable of sight & sound. His language was familiar.
“Her lack of interest never ceased to intrigue him.” – brief bliss
“I put on that face every week, sometimes it scratches at my smile.” – nights that end with ambient music
“I don’t actively seek the unfortunate, it’s just what I notice first.” – as the hour approaches midnight
“I feel honored to now play a part in what must be a life gone completely overlooked.” – passion play
If he & I were living in the same city, I’d have to meet this guy, this scruffy young gentleman photographed in black & white on the back of the book. I hunted him down, we met at La Poubelle, we talked writers & what we’d written up to that point. But when I learned he lived at the time on what was my favorite intersection, Franklin & Whitley, I thought… Interesting. When he said, “We have to write a cutup together,” I agreed happily. When he looked at mine & said, “That’s funny… Yours isn’t as bizarre as mine, it’s linear.” I thought again, interesting.
Some of my favorite of Weber’s work comes out of his many chapbooks:
“the gardener” & “the ladybug” – from NOT NOW!
“maybe her body followed” “every night” “los feliz” – from even if it takes all night
With each bundle of poems Cliff sends, with every chapbook he writes, pages to novels & great blazing tomes unfinished, I sit back to marvel at his ear & design. He’s one of the most motivated writers I know. He doesn’t limit himself to one operation. Reads an enormous amount. He writes in his kitchen. He knows how to hold his drink, for a young man that’s both impressive & terrifying. He’s up on pop culture. He has a magnificent personal life, for a young man that’s both impressive & terrifyingly rare.
“‘Weber for three,’ I said. The hostess looked up from the reservation book and into my eyes. I was fixated. We began working as one; planning, scheming, brewing up plans of destruction, plans of immortality. I followed her to the table convinced I could marry her, fuck her, touch her, complete her, provide everything she lacked, give her everything she needed. I imagined us as newlyweds; giddy and sexual, throwing our inhibitions out the hotel window, room service attendants bringing us breakfast in bed. Us, together. Dining by candlelight, expensive champagne and half-eaten appetizers. So innocent, so naïve. Tremendously caught in the moment, a frame of life, a mere splice. Rich desserts with two spoons, holding hands instinctively, oblivious to doubt and defeat… She handed me the menu as I sat down at the table, one minute older.” – “#1” from his Jack Defeats Ron
I’m happy to be his contemporary. I’m grateful to be considered a friend. I wish him a very exciting Birthday & inspired year. Follow him @wordmeds