DO Fiction Podcast: Melissa Kerman reads “Untitled” by Andy Anderson Transcript

{Transcript by Andy Anderson

Length: 18:11}

{theme music plays?Take Me Higher by Jahzzar}

Robert: Hello and welcome to the Deep Overstock Fiction Podcast where we invite a writer published in the Deep Overstock Literary Journal to read and discuss a piece from our archives. 

Yes, this is the exact structure as the New Yorker Fiction Podcast, thank you Deborah Treisman. Hello, I am your host Robert Eversmann and this week we have Melissa Kerman on the show reading a poem published in the Paranormal Romance issue, “Untitled,” by Andy Anderson. 


“And together we collapse 

Into bed

The wood creaks

Our breath constricts

Heartbeats quicken

Reality pauses as my chest heaves.”

Robert: This story was chosen by Melissa Kerman and was published in the New Arrivals issue of Deep Overstock.* Melissa Kerman is a writer from New York. She loves poetry, prose, and coffee. So, Melissa Kerman, thank you very much for coming onto the show. I just wanted to say uh welcome to the Deep Overstock Fiction Podcast. 

Melissa: Thank you. The pleasure is mine. 

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Robert: Melissa, so this is really exciting to talk to you. I’m hoping that you might do some interviews later too. But This is our first one together. You have published excellent fiction writing in many, many, many journals and we’ve been fortunate enough to publish you and this is exciting to talk about poetry for the first time with DO Fiction Podcast. 

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Melissa: Yes

Robert: It’s wonderful and this was your idea and I’m very happy that we’ve gotten it going. We need to talk about these poems… so today we are reading an untitled piece by Andy Anderson. And I wanted to ask, What are your kind of impressions of this story? What do you like?

Melissa: I liked it because… I had to read it a few times to understand it because I interpreted it one way and then I read it again and I interpreted it a different way. And also the thing about poetry is that it’s very visual so even though this is a podcast, I do recommend that you all read it because its very long, like narrowly written but that was the style that he was going for and it means that each phrase stands alone, so when I read it out loud, they are not going to get that impression. 

Robert: Hmmm… that’s a good point. Yeah, Okay, so that’s a very good point. So maybe listen to Melissa read it while looking at the story, 

Melissa: Mmhmm

Robert: Yeah, Andy is really interesting and they published a book called “Hello, My Name is Andy.” I was really, I got to work on that project with Andy, very cool, and does a lot of kind of this almost concrete poetry, where there is, it’s a very, like you were saying, you kind of miss some of it just hearing it. Looking at it, they’ve put a lot of work into the way it looks on the page which is very cool. 

Melissa: Yeah, poetry is very visual. Are you familiar with e.e. cummings?

Robert: Yeah, yeah.

Melissa: He’s like… a lot. I mean even for me sometimes… like the way he would do it, it would be, it would just be like all over the  page, very random, but yeah it’s just an example. 

Robert: Yeah and so Andy has a really interesting piece called I think it’s Etch A Sketch, “Ode to My Etch A Sketch” and either we published that or its in that book, “Hello, My name is Andy,” which is still on sale at Powell’s, and you get that kind of feeling of, you know the e.e. cummings kind of feeling of the words being on the page but It’s Etch A Sketch so the words are also kind of disappearing off the page. 

Melissa: Ooh, I like that. No, That’s very cool. I like how that visual aspect can involve the poems content. It reminds me of e.e. cummings, he has this poem called, like, A Leaf. It’s like a leaf blowing in the winds and it’s shaped like a leaf…

Robert: Ohhhh

Melissa: … Pretty famous one. 

Robert: Andy might have some poems like that too where it gets really into concrete poetry. This one I also really like.. Looks great on the page but it also if you read it too fast,  if you listen to it too fast, you kind of miss images that pop, really intensely.

Melissa: Yes.

Robert: And a lot of that pop is because of you are identifying with the narrator and each pop is kind of like a vulta or a turn but its also a turn for the, not just for the poem, where we are shifting the images, but we are really shifting about how this narrator feels about their body. 

Melissa: Yes.

Robert: I like this one line, “a cave to my hibernation.” It says “My body, a cave to my hibernation.” So we have this narrator in the poem, this “I,” who is talking about whether or not they feel at home in their body and I like that “a cave to my hibernation.” So, its almost like there is a, someone, an I, who is trapped in their own body and its a cave that they are kind of forced to sleep in. They can’t get out of it and be themselves. And I think that’s a lot of what Andy’s work was in that “Hello, My Name is Andy” piece. THis is one of my favorite lines. What sticks out to you, Melissa?

Melissa: Uhm, I would say, what you just said is, one of the largest themes because I mean I don’t wanna ruin it because I’ll probably read it, but towards the second half of the poem, they write about this “she” and at first I was like is the she a person? Uhm, and they also say “together” a lot. So I think it is ambiguous but I mean my interpretation ultimately I think it is just Andy, alone, or I guess the narrator imagining, you know, that them, and their body are separate entities.

Robert: Okay, so we are looking at Andy changing, Andy being alone or feeling isolated because of a relationship with their body but what do you think, Melissa, how ‘bout we read the poem now and then we’ll come back and dive a little deeper. 

Melissa: Yes, let’s do that. 

Robert: Okay, now, here is Melissa Kerman reading “Untitled” by Andy Anderson.


“Seasons are changing

Temperatures dropping 

The last stick of incense burns on my altar

Smoke fills the room slowly

Like a spell

But this story isn’t about magic

But bodies

My body

A cave to my hibernation 

Insecurity floating toward balance

My hair growing out

I am growing out

Of this body

I prepare 

Count my blessings 

Count my friends 

Pull in the harvest of the garden 

And embrace me 

This body

Our appointment arrives 

She changes her clothes 

A red gown 

She has been bitten 

And so I will too 

Everything happens 

Yet Nothing happens 

She suffocates me 

Chokes me 

Darkness in the night 

And together we collapse

Into bed 

The wood creaks 

Our breath constricts 

Heartbeats quicken

Reality pauses as my chest heaves 

We lay in wake all night 

Wounds bound 

This old body and

Her fresh bloody body 


We rest all day

In dreams 

As the warmth wanes 

Our preparation for the trauma was enough 

The blood and the love now together 

Self-love and nourishment that came with

The heat 

The fruit 

The symptoms 


Together we came 

With the 



With the bite

The equinox arrives 

And this gathering 

This night, the

Marks on our necks 

Yours a celebration 

Mine an awakening

Our coven solidifies and 

Like Mabon we wait to be reborn 

Dreams discern into signs 

An abundant harvest

Just like that

My chest heaves 

And my eyes open 

The sun has set

The smoke has gone

The sheets white 

The ghosts are all that’s left 

I thirst 

Feel my neck 

My bites no longer wounds 

I ask

Are vampires even real? 

am I even real?”

Robert: Wow, great reading, Melissa. I get chills hearing this poem. It’s one of the first poems that we, we published. It’s in Issue 3, Paranormal Romance and you know we published it, Andy is my friend, and I was like Oh yea you know it’s a pretty good poem and when you brought it back up and wanted to read it this time, I read it many times and realized how brilliant, how moving this poem is. So, I’m very happy that you chose this.

Melissa: Maybe because the first time, you know, you just skimmed it, you know you just read it quickly..

Robert: That could be..

Melissa: This time you really sat down and gave it the read that it deserves!

Robert: Oh, yes! And this deserves, definitely deserves a read, ya I really recommend everyone to like you said look at it and listen to this.

Melissa: Yeah, I tried to uhm pause between the lines so hopefully it’s clear that, you know, how short each line is. 

Robert: Yeah, I think that you did a good job with that and it really speaks to, well shows what’s going on in this poem. 

Melissa: Yeah, and its important because certain parts have different like double meanings. For example, “Together we came” thats one line. Like, You know thats, innuendo. But then, afterwards they go

“With the”

That’s another line. 


Another Line. 


I mean I guess, now we can dissect the poem, but I’ll tell you my interpretation is that there is this, its a dream that might be a sex dream, but also its pain and pleasure at the same time. 

Robert: Very true

Melissa: Because fruits is always a symbol for enjoyment, self-love, and nourishment but then trauma contrasts with that, so yeah this is all one dream. What do you think?

Robert: I think, yeah, I think it cold be a dream and I hadn’t really thought about the emphasis of the pain and pleasure here. That’s really interesting. And the nature of the vampires coming in at the end, we don’t really get anything about vampires until the end, we get hints, where it says and “This gathering, this night, the marks on our necks” and it does bring up the Paranormal Romance element of this. This is published in Paranormal Romance. And it to me, it sounds like to me, it sounds like someone coming to terms with or changing their body but then I realize it may be not just one person, it might actually be two people.

Melissa: I think its one person and the reason I think that it is a dream, both pain and pleasure, is because they are growing out of their old body and entering their new body and the line specifically says, you know, “Like Mabon, we wait to be reborn.” So there’s that rebirth. And then the line following that is “Dreams discern into signs, an abundant harvest” and harvest is positive. “And just like that, my chest heaves and my eyes open.” So they are awake now. 

Robert: So it could be going to sleep. Let’s see, “Our coven solidifies, this night, the marks on our necks, together we bite.” But then when I was reading up above “Our appointment arrives” It says, “This body. Our appointment arrives. She changes her clothes. Her red gown. She has been bitten.” So that does sound like it could be a part of a dream. But I was also thinking Is this someone going to see a doctor? To like change their body? Or is it someone who is sleeping and a vampire is coming?

Melissa: Well also in the end, that, one of the last lines, “the bites no longer wounds,” so I feel, that, I think that does imply it was all a dream. 

Robert: Well, thats true. Or you become a vampire, and now the bites are not wounds, they’re just scars that could have formed over now that you’ve had this regenerative thing; you are a vampire. 

Melissa: What do you think Andy meant in the last two lines, “Are vampires even real? Am I even real?” What do you think about that?

Robert: Vampires are thrown into doubt then everything above has been thrown into doubt and the narrator is now maybe unreal. If this experience could be real, the narrator believes in it, does that cancel out the narrator?

Melissa: Well, I think it has to tie into the beginning. Because the beginning is about their body. It literally says “like a spell. But this story isn’t about magic, but bodies, my body.” So maybe when they say “Am I even real?” They mean their body, like maybe they feel like so detached from it. 

Robert: They feel so detached from their body, like the hibernation thing, the body is a cave, where this person hibernates in so living in the body they are no longer who they want to be so they don’t feel real. 

Melissa: Maybe. The first mention of the she is the line “this body. Our appointment arrives. She changes her clothes.” So suddenly there is a she. “She has been bitten and so I will too.” So is, do you think that’s a real person or do you think it’s figurative?

Robert.: I, the way I imagined it was a real person bitting back but then to be figurative, I couldn’t, I thought maybe it could be, but I couldn’t figure out what that would be representing. To be biting back? What is the metaphor going on there?

Melissa: I think that the poem is very clever because uhm then Andy says “She suffocates me, chokes me, together we collapse, into bed, the wood creaks, our breathe constricts, heartbeats quicken,” like these are all very uhm, you know, sexual descriptions but it could be pleasure but it could also be pain because there is biting so thats why I think it’s deliberately ambiguous and could go both ways. 

Robert: Hmm.. Yeah. And it could be that too, with the pleasure part, it does almost sound like two people together but it almost sounds like the pain part would be suffering in your own body, not being able to express yourself. So, the pain, is the dream feels like a sexual experience, or maybe it is a really a sexual experience, and the pain, feeling like the body you are inside of is choking your actual existence, the body that you are inside of is uhm, harming you in some way. 

Melissa: That’s a good point. That’s a good way to look at it and I think this pleasure/pain dichotomy, the line specifically, “the blood and the love, now together.” That reinforces it. 

Robert: Yeah

Melissa: The blood, I guess being the pain.

Robert: Yeah. “The blood and the love now together.” 

Melissa: And that’s when I said we see the more contrasting— “the fruit, the symptoms.” The fruit is always known like, the fruits of your labor, thats the good things of your work, efforts, but then afterwards, the symptoms. 

Robert: What would the symptoms be here I wonder (“the heat, the fruit, the symptoms”)? Is it just the…

Melissa: Maybe the insecurity that they mentioned? 

Robert: Ahhh, okay.

Melissa: The trauma, the trauma in the previous line. 

Robert: Yeah, “our preparation for the trauma was enough.”

Melissa: I think uh something else that makes sense is that I think this poem is about death and rebirth, and sex is often a symbol of that because one term for orgasm in French it’s “Petite Mort” and that literally translates to “Little Death.” So, I think thats why after the sexual encounter whether it’s, you know, figurative, I think its figurative, they feel reborn. It’s called that because its that brief loss or weakening of consciousness.

Robert: Ah, and that’s definitely what’s going on here it seems like with the character going to sleep, waking up, seeing light outside, that’s very true. So what do you think? Uh if you wanted, Would you want a follow up to this poem? Often in the fiction podcast we talk about well would you expand it?

Melissa: I think it would be cool to, sorry not to interrupt you, I think it would be cool to talk to Andy afterwards and see if our interpretations are correct and see what they were going for because I think it is ambiguous so I would like to know uhm how exactly Andy wanted people to understand it and if we are close. 

Robert: That’s a good idea. So, maybe, when you interview Andy, when Andy picks a piece.

Melissa: I think we should. 

Robert: I think so too, Yeah, ask Andy. Are we on the?… Are we getting close or are we far away? Andy is a great writer. Uh, We’ve got a few poems by Andy in.. 

Melissa: Yeah, I’m gonna have to read more on…you know, I can type in the archive, type in their name. 

Robert: oh yeah, Yeah, Andy is in the Dreams issue, the Paranormal Romance issue, you know, a very talented poet, and the Fairytales, Folktales, and Fables issue, and maybe even the first one too so Melissa, I’m excited to hear your interview with Andy. Excited to hear what Andy picks too. Okay! Well, that’s it for “Untitled” by Andy Anderson. Uh, again, excellent poem. Find Hello, My Name is Andy on** and thank you very much to Melissa Kerman for being on the show. 

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Robert: Melissa are there any plugs you want to give? Anything you are working on? You wanna promote? 

Melissa: Uhm, you can keep up with my sub stack. It is I think you can just type in Melissa Kerman Substack. I forgot what the actual URL is. And follow me on Instagram, Melissa Kerman. 

Robert: Perfect, yeah I think the power of googling. Just type in, yeah it’ll be fine. Okay well thank you very much Melissa. 

Melissa: Thank you. 


That was Melissa Kerman reading and discussing “Untitled” by Andy Anderson from our Paranormal Romance issue, issue 3, published in November 2018 with cover art by Ariel Kusby. You’ve been listening to the Deep Overstock Fiction Podcast, our theme music is the song Take Me Higher by Jahzzar. Join us again in two weeks and don’t forget to submit to our next issue, Beekeeping before May 31st. Visit for specific guidelines. 

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Post Production Notes:

* Untitled is found in DO Issue #3 Paranormal Romance (Not New Arrivals Issue)

** Andy’s book Hello, My Name is Andy is no longer available at Instead you can find it at this link:

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