The First Line from Answers to Questions by Terry Gross 

A Found Poem by Ron Riekki

​​​Well, I see it very much as a performance.

Well, yeah, I had to learn publicly through trial and error.

Well, once I went down to Christopher Street, and there was a guy selling remote-control

          cars for fifty bucks, and I said, “Let me see that.”

Well, I’m not a violent guy.

Well, I was exposed to the movie Nasferatu at a very early age because my father was

          teaching film.

Well, no.

Well, I made a choice early on in the rehearsal process that I wasn’t going to play him

          depressed, because I always felt that there’s nothing sadder than a person  

          a sad situation and doesn’t know it.

Well, he picked up the way I tend to elongate my words when I talk, sort of like, “There’s

          a glass aahbject that I’m really interested in baahying, Jaahn.”

Well, I don’t think anything’s taboo.

Well, I wouldn’t call it critical.

Well, I didn’t know that I had that manner of speaking, but now I do, so now when I hear

          myself, I’m thinking, “My God, am I becoming a caricature of myself?”

Well, it was Halloween 1984, and I had broken up with my girlfriend, and I felt like I had

          to do something radical.

Well, I’m just interpreting.

Well, thanks.

Well, you know, the money’s on the line.

Well, I don’t know.

Well, that is their point.

Well, a song stylist takes an old folk song like “Delia’s Gone” and does a modern, white

          man’s version of it.

Well, the first thing I ever did was a ventriloquist act called “Danny and Dave,” which

          was basically the world’s worst ventriloquist.

Well, I got married and moved to Memphis after I finished the air force in 1954.

Well, I started playing concerts from Memphis to Arkansas to Louisiana and Tennessee.

Well, I don’t know whether it’s sex, per se, or it’s just addictive behavior.

Well, I had a song called “Folsom Prison Blues” that was a hit just before “I Walk the


Well, it was okay.

Well, there’s something about families singing together that is just better than any other

          groups you can pick up or make.

Well, I was brought up with melodies all my life—even before I was two years old when

          I started singing on my parents’ radio show every day.

Well, the culture doesn’t have a language for girls being sexual at this age.

Well, it was not in his will at all.

Well, it was a cold winter night.

Well, I’d been waiting a long time to get out of there and I came out with a bang.

Child porn.

That’s right.



About The Writer

​​Ron Riekki wrote the novel U.P. (Ghost Road Press) and edited The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works. You can follow him on twitter at @RonRiekki.