OUTspoken: Chad Reichanadter’s 'Mouth Breather'

Chad

Chad Reichanadter is a Los Angeles-based poet and prosiest. He only functions highly caffeinated and spends his free time caring for an extensive houseplant collection. He's the author of two poetry books and is currently creating a visual poetry project. Inspired by the works of Jim Harrison, Reichanadter aims to preserve one’s life by focusing on the mundane.

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In celebration of National Poetry Month this April, OUT premieres today Reichanadter’s original poem, “Mouth Breather,” along with a discussion about the importance of queer writers and their ability to create emotions rather than products.

OUT: What is your main focus when writing poetry?

Chad Reichanadter: My main focus is the mundane. With the rise of social media, we split our lives into two categories, the boring or mundane, and the shareable—I write about the former. Riding the bus, inner thought processes, laying in a tub with a lover, or my anxieties. I find that the cache of emotions I draw from come in the form of small things.

Why is it important for queer poets to be heard?

Everything is visual. We crave photographs or videos. We want our music on vinyl, so we have a physical object we can hold. We want to touch. We want to see the art we consume. I think queer poets need to be heard because we create a different product. We create an emotion. We create something you can't hold or touch, but something familiar you've once felt. As people, we've been given a gift, and that gift is to be able to connect and understand something we can't hold up in front of our faces. We should utilize that gift as much as we possibly can.

What do you think is the future of queer poetry?

It could be anything. The beauty of the queer mind has always been its adaptability. I see queer artists in all forms, as the frontline for what is next. I see us paving the way for everything to come. I'm currently working on an immersive poetry project. I've been dissecting three of my major relationships in life—my first girlfriend, my first serious boyfriend and my relationship with myself—and trying to create a multidisciplinary art show out of them. Essentially a room of poetry. I'm confident in saying my peers are most likely just as eager to elevate their craft as I am. The future of queer poetry is exciting.

"Mouth Breather" by Chad Reichanadter

The breeze sweeps the hair on my arm in ripples like that time you threw a rock way out into the pond. It left your shoulder sore for at least two days afterward. I remember you saying something about the tendons tied to your bone, and how it felt they might snap at any moment. Popping like a rubber band pulled as far back as possible, snapping through your skin and splashing the walls with your platelets. A new paint coat we desperately need. It would cover up that crack that's been running from the ceiling towards the floor. That's been there ever since that heavy rain. Mom called me that night and said their basement flooded and to keep an eye on ours. You nodded as I repeated her words to you, and you pulled on those two rubber boots and stomped down the stairs. You shouted up at me that all was dry and I sighed a big one of relief. It never did flood, but mamma cleaned her basement for two weeks afterward. Those two weeks were awful, that's when you told me I was too much. So I put three t-shirts into a canvas tote bag and hopped on my bike to moms. I slugged sopping boxes up off the floor and every one of them held the weight of you. You always said you were too skinny, but those boxes tore my back up and I thought how silly you were and how untrue it all was. I take an ice bath still sometimes. To calm the ache of your weight. Funny you said I was too much when really it ended up being you. Really we never know anything at all. Like I never knew the pain of tendons snapping from bone, and you never knew the pain of solitude. But that crack is still there and sometimes when I lay in bed with my eyes open as you breathe out of your mouth I hope that your red sticky insides cover it all up. Cover up the mess that one big rain made.

Throughout National Poetry Month this April, OUT will be spotlighting our favorite OUTspoken queer poets and premiering exclusive new works.

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