💀✨ ruth awad ✨💀
bitch city is an interview series centering female and non-binary badasses.
to start off the series and the new year, i interviewed poet and ethereal goddess ruth awad. nepotism is good when it benefits women, but full disclosure, ruth and i are romantically involved in that she is prob my wife.
we met in columbus when ruth opened her home and heart to me while i visisting for two dollar radio's flyover fest. actual footage of our meeting:
i love to tell people about how we met. how it was one of those rare moments when you meet someone with the same soul as you and know you've met someone who will be a big part of your life forever.
more than this, i like to tell people about the time ruth was telling a group of poets about how we met and just as she began her story of our love her husband bit into a hot dog and juice from a sport pepper spuirted with tremendous force out of the hot dog and onto ruth's perfect face. it was sick. men are disgusting!!
ruth is a brilliant poet, talented tattoo artist, makeup aficionado, d&d enthusiast, lovely badass babe who will take you to the renaissance faire to buy knives. she owns so many knives. please enjoy and be sure to buy her book and paypal her lots of money. ✨
diddle: eggs are a reoccurring theme in my life. when i was younger, my sister put an egg in a sock and hid it in a drawer for weeks. when my mom found it, they fought over the egg and it cracked. the stench was horrible. my son likes to crack eggs into a bowl when i am not looking so i had to start buying pre-cracked egg mixture. have you ever had an egg experience in your life?
ruth: My first grade class incubated eggs and when those babies hatched, I somehow conned my poor single father into writing a letter to my teacher that said I could take a chick home and raise it as my own. Thus began my deep love affair with eggs. Maybe they would all become chicks! Mine bloomed into a goddamn rooster and this was when we lived in a one-story rental beside a gas station along the only highway that ran through Bluffton, Indiana, and my rooster would make a jail break every night and waddle through the car wash at 4 am and the gas station attendant would call my dad and be like, “Sir, is this your fucking rooster and can you get it please?” And my dad would chase our rooster down and carry him home and probably hate his life and question every decision that brought him to that moment, but hey. Love will make a rooster bounty hunter out of you.
My dad later made the executive decision to give our rooster away and when he broke the news to us over dinner, my older sister Mariam looked at the roasted chicken on her plate and said knowingly to me, “We’re probably eating him.”
d: from age 19-25 i was married to a man. i wish i had a time machine so i could reclaim my youth. what would you do if you had a time machine?
r: On the last day of my dog’s life, I spent most of the day cleaning the house. So I would go back in time and treasure the extra hours I could’ve had with her.
d: one of my favorite things about you is how shiny your hair is. it’s so silky and you are also multi-talented and a genius. what kind of shampoo do you use?
r: Compliments from you are like stepping into sunlight. I use OGX, which isn’t great but I only wash my hair once a week, so that’s my real pro tip: embrace laziness and skip washing your hair as much as possible. On non-wash days, I use Lulu Organics Hair Powder and it is magic. A small thing of it lasts forever. I also use Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s hair gloss (the honey scented one), which gives my hair some luster and makes it smell like candy.
d: what’s the best advice you’ve ever given someone and do you think people should be drug tested to receive food stamps?
r: I think food should be free, and drug testing for food stamp eligibility is cruel, unusual, and a waste of money that could go toward, you know, feeding people.
I once talked to a literary publishing class and told them to not send out work that will embarrass them in five years, so I think that’s pretty solid advice.
d: the last time you were in chicago you won an apple watch from a holiday work party. that same night, we met up to exchange christmas presents. you made everyone necklaces, gorgeous precious jewels, and they are so lovely. in a horrifying turn of events, my son kept slinging his necklace around and around in the air like a lasso and shouting, “i’m going to use this to kill horses.” he would not stop doing this. how long have you been vegan?
r: In Iggy’s defense, that necklace is a good whip. I’ve been a vegan for 11 years now and can make pretty much any vegan dessert but can only cook one vegan entree because my priorities are in order.
d: let’s not beat around the bush: you have dogs.
r: I have two living dogs, Bowie (10 years old) and Winnie (1 year old). Bowie had a near-fatal reaction to her topical flea & heartworm medicine about five years ago and came back from the other side a little weird and now she does handstands and walks like a show pony and I hope she lives forever. Winnie’s dark power is that everyone who meets her falls so in love they let her lick their face when the truth is this dog eats poop like it’s her damn job. My ghost dog Pete died about a year ago and I miss her every day and want her to haunt me.
Their love has made me less of a garbage person so my life is orchestrated to maximize their comfort and happiness. Literally the least I can do!
d: you saw me squeeze a tear out of your dog’s eye once. i didn’t mean for you to see it’s just that i do this literally all the time with my chihuahua. i squeeze his tears out and then catch them on my finger tip and feed it to him. he licks it up every time. have you ever done anything embarrassing?
r: Dear reader, please understand Diddle performed this feat with such nonchalance, it made me do a double take like an actual cartoon. I do embarrassing shit all the time, but perhaps my most recent bout of shame came the last time I was in Chicago and I made the foul rookie mistake of putting my luggage through a turnstile. Halfway through the turn, I tried to course correct and send my legs on through. And that is how I got stuck straddling a turnstile for several cruel moments while the attendant looked on like nothing, not even her considerable pity, could save me.
d: i will kill that attendant.
the same trip that i squeezed a tear out of your dog’s eye, you gave me a tattoo! a severed head on a platter as an homage to my chiweenie, salome. we sat in your kitchen listening to one direction and took frequent breaks to eat oreos and peanut butter cups. the line work is fucking crisp and i love the tattoo. i posted a photo thanking you for the fresh hot ink and a man on the internet managed to make it about him. can you recall a time a man ruined something for you?
This one guy in my undergrad poetry workshop regularly submitted poems that he wrote about me and everyone knew it. He’d read them out loud while giving me meaningful looks and it made me feel on display in a way nothing else quite has and he ruined an entire semester of learning for me.
d: one thing we have in common is that at one point in time you and my dog both lived in indiana. haha! what’s your paypal address and tell us where we can get your book?
Ruth Awad is a Lebanese-American poet and the author of Set to Music a Wildfire (Southern Indiana Review Press, 2017), which won the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize. She is the recipient of a 2016 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Republic, The Missouri Review Poem of the Week, BOAAT Journal, Sixth Finch, CALYX, Diode, The Adroit Journal, Vinyl Poetry, Nashville Review, and in the anthologies The Hundred Years' War: Modern War Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2014), New Poetry from the Midwest 2014 (New American Press, 2015), and Poets on Growth (Math Paper Press, 2015). She won the 2012 and 2013 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the 2011 Copper Nickel Poetry Contest. She has an MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and she lives in Columbus, Ohio. Learn more about her work at www.ruthawadpoetry.com.