Merisdy Florexile is the co-founder of Xiledflower, a Brooklyn-based startup specializing in ready-to-wear and custom-made accessories. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University at Albany with a bachelor’s degree in English, Merisdy earned a master’s in education while teaching at a high school in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. She would continue to nurture her passion for working with youth throughout New York City, teaching and mentoring in Manhattan, Queens, the South Bronx, and Harlem. In August 2017, Merisdy earned a master’s degree in nonprofit leadership from Fordham University. Find Merisdy’s poetry in the latest great weather for MEDIA anthology, Suitcase of Chrysanthemums.
Merisdy reads at our NYC fall book party at KGB Red Room on Tuesday November 13th.
Thomas Fucaloro: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your connection to poetry? What lead you to put pen to page and create?
Merisdy Florexile: Brooklynite with a taste for the fanciful, macabre, and self-emancipatory. As a child, I read Greek and Norse mythology, old Barron’s Regents books, and horror stories. Being an only child helped to fertilize my imagination with unbiased creativity. Adult me is unpeeling the layers of conditioned reality and rectifying my mis-education by asking more questions and knowing absolutely nothing. My connection to poetry began when I was about seven. My uncle would bring home old text books from the street and one day he brought home a Harcourt Brace textbook called Reading Literature: Orange Level. I read that text book from its Table of Contents to its Reference Pages. There were short stories, myths, art, and most favorable, poetry. I fell in love with Sarah Teasdale’s “Faces,” A.E. Houseman’s “When I Was One and Twenty,” and Langston Hughes’ “I Too am America” to name a few. It’s been over twenty-five years and that book still brings a smile to my face. What finally brought pen to paper was writing creatively. My cousin gave me a word processor when I was ten and I found joy in writing poems and short stories when alone. By sophomore year of high school, I had a diary in which I wrote poetry for fun; it’s been a favorite hobby since.
TF: Your poem in the book, "Oh!" is a beautiful six-lined poem that feels like it rises from the body and then finds solace. Can you talk a little bit about the creation of this poem and what you were hoping the reader would get from it?
MF: “Oh!” was written to paint a picture of suppressed sexuality. Growing up, sex was not a topic of conversation; it was an adult thing that no adult ever talked about. As an adult, I struggled with being open—even with myself about my sexuality. A “cemetery for orgasms” is hidden in plain slight; swirling with mystery, ambiguity, and fear, orgasms cannot thrive. They die to survive in the psyche since their physical manifestation could never be. The utterance of “Oh!” is a paradoxical expression of sexual ecstasy and the anticlimactic realization of sexual repression. It’s like an explosion under water. Oh! 😊
TF: I know your poem in the book doesn't really have a title, I just called it "Oh!" because the first line is, "Oh!". If you had to title this piece, what would be some of the titles you would come up with? Just for funsies.
MF: Phantom phallus
TF: You have a blog and a fashion site called Xiled Exodus, would you care to talk about these sites and what you hope to accomplish with them?
MF: Xiled Exodus is still in its infancy. It was intended to serve as a platform for social commentary, cultural critique, and fashion exploration. At this time, my focus has shifted more to my initial blog, Merisdyologyx. My work with great weather for MEDIA, as brief as it has been, has reignited my passion for creative writing. I am focused on transitioning the blog into an actual self-published book with original illustrations. It is an abstract memoir structured as “Lessons” I’ve learned, unlearned, and relearned throughout my life; Merisdyologyx is probably my important collection of writing to date. I hope to publish this collection by collaborating with illustrators who can capture the works artistically and truthfully.
TF: What’s next for you? What are you hoping to accomplish in 2019?
MF: 2019 is a big year! I am working on a personal project for native Kreyol speakers and anticipate working on a poetry book. I also plan to transform Merisdyologyx from a blog to a published book.