Awful Interview: Tom Cheshire

18 Aug
Tom Cheshire has pockets lined with his own words. That’s pretty nice, isn’t it? If only all of our pockets could be so lucky. He finds dogs more inspirational than cats. You can find him in and around Atlanta, writing on pizza boxes and napkins. He is surrounded by words, smiles, and good beer. His first chapbook , Just A Little Piece of Heartburn, is coming out from Safety Third Enterprises this week. To celebrate PURGEATL and Safety Third Enterprises are hosting a reading at Youngblood Gallery this Sunday, August 21st at 6:30pm. While you are there you should buy him a Stella. Preferably of the canned persuasion. I’m going to.
So Tom, your last name is Cheshire, like the cat. Would you say that correlation has influenced your life or work in any way?

I was called The Cheshire Cat for a minute when I was a kid. I was always smiling and laughing and had I guess you could say, a Cheshire Grin. Then people started calling me Tom Cat. I’m just glad my middle name isn’t Alley.

It hasn’t influenced me in any way though. I think I’ve looked to dogs more for inspiration.

How have dogs inspired you? Do you have any dogs? If so, what kind?

I think I’ve always wanted the life of a dog. I like to lay around and I enjoy when people pet me. I had a poodle named “Muffin” when I was a boy but she had an annoying bark. I used to walk by all of the gas station dogs in my neighborhood in Queens and just feel bad for them because they weren’t getting  the proper love and attention that they deserved. They had grease and oil all over them and they always looked lost and hungry.

I don’t have a dog right now because I am never home and that just wouldn’t be fair. I see myself getting a dog when I am older. I will either get a BIG ONE or a small one, a Shepherd or a Pug.

Your chapbook will be printed in your handwriting, and features a couple pages with ‘water stains’ on them. Where do you write your poetry and on what kind of surface? I hope you keep a lot of bar napkins with poems in your pockets.

I do keep a lot of bar napkins and random pieces of paper in my pocket. The last poem in the book is called “PANTS POCKET” and it pretty much sums it all up. You see someone that you once shared a life with. They walk away. You want to laugh, you want to cry, so why not go write something pretty down. We go through all kinds of emotions through out the day so why not document them on whatever you have near you. Inspiration struck me once and I wrote a song on a pizza box.

I write sitting down in bars. I write laying down in bed late at night. I write sitting on a park bench. I write in the shower and I write when I am riding my bicycle.

So basically I write things down, poems, short stories and songs on pieces of tissue and cardboard and just stuff them in my pants.

I’m guessing you didn’t keep the pizza box in your pocket. That would make it difficult to walk around. How do you decide how to order all of these rag-tag poems? Also, have you ever lost a poem? I lose a lot of things that I keep in my pockets.

I folded the pizza box up and put it under my hat. I couldn’t let that one get away. I really don’t know how I decide to put these groups of words in order, I think they kind of just, fall in place. You write them, you read them, you put them away for a minute, then you read them again. Then they just appear in the order they should be.

I have been pretty fortunate with keeping paper in my pocket. I don’t think I have lost too many. When I moved last year, I realized I had 9 boxes of just random thoughts and writings on the strangest pieces of paper.

What’s your favorite kind of beer?

I drink Stella to put me in a good mood. It is like Manna from Heaven. That is my first choice always. When I am low on cash, a Tecate with salt and lime, will do.

Have you had Stella in a can yet? It’s amazing.

No, where can you get it? I can’t wait to try it.

I get them at Green’s, they are sold in ten-packs. It is somehow even more delicious in a can.
Are you excited for your reading? Have you been practicing? What is your reading persona like?

I will be going to Green’s later. Thank you much, for the tip.

I am very excited for the reading. I have practiced reading the poems aloud in front of the mirror twice and that is it. I am done. I will do a run through of the poems the morning of.  

I don’t know if I have a style or persona. I like the idea of the the poems coming across as songs that tell stories. There are some that I will speak and some that I will sing.  

It’s going to be a really great event. Is there anything you would like to say to anyone who is considering going but is too wimpy to commit to it?

For those of you who don’t like poetry readings there will be music and for those of you who don’t like music there will be reading. It will be a really special night in a room full of joy and celebration. There will be something there for everyone. I don’t take myself too seriously and want to have a good time with this. And I want everyone there to have a great night and be part of the event. I am very proud of this book and think it would look good on any coffee table in the world.

I would also like to sincerely thank Matt at Safety Third Enterprises and Tim with Purge ATL for believing in me and this project. It took a lot of hands to make this possible. It takes team work to make a dream work baby. I want to thank Brian Manley and Fun With Robots, Marlow Sanchez for recording  the audio, the lovely ladies at Young Blood for hosting and you kind folks at Vouched Books.

It’s going to be a great night. Bring it. Cheers.

2 Responses to “Awful Interview: Tom Cheshire”


  1. Just A Little Piece Of Heartburn by Tom Cheshire « Safety Third Enterprises - August 18, 2011

    […] Outsider Writers: Review Vouched Books: Review Creative Loafing: Interview Vouched Books: Awful Interview […]

  2. [Vouched Atlanta] Awful Interview: Tom Cheshire | Kill Your Darlings ATL - August 21, 2011

    […] (Full story) […]

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