I Must Be Doing Something Right, Somewhere, Sometime, Maybe?

Since New Year’s Day, 24 publications have turned down my writing. Before that, I received ten rejections in December, which only tied my sixth worst monthly total for 2017! So yeah, I know the sting of rejection. Mostly it resembles a mosquito’s bite – a bit annoying, it disappears quickly. But one will occasionally strike like a scorpion – WHAM – and it swells and throbs for a while and I wonder why the hell I continue dallying with this odd thing we call poetry. I suppose it’s enough that from time to time a complete stranger will respond kindly, or an editor will ask to see a few pieces for consideration. Or a few poems get published in print…

My poetry has appeared in these print publications over the past year. Although much of my writing is published online, I’m still enamored with print. Something about the smell, the feel of paper. Ah, bliss.

And why do I continue writing? It’s the doing of it, the process. That is what really matters.

Thirty-Five Years Later, I Raise My Hand

Thirty-Five Years Later, I Raise My Hand

In spring 1983 I enrolled in a poetry writing course thinking it might help improve my short fiction. I was a history major by default, had never taken a course in poetry, but believed, with absolutely no evidence, that I could write fiction. At the time I would have been hard-pressed to name five contemporary poets, even counting my professor. To be honest, the class struggled to hold my attention. Only about a quarter of the students seemed interested in writing, and the instructor was a bit, uh, tired. But for the first time in my life I read, really read, poetry. I fell in love with Galway Kinnell, Ai, James Wright and Carolyn Forche, to name just a few of my early enthusiasms. I wanted to write like them. So I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. Most of it was laughably bad, but somehow I managed to win an undergraduate poetry contest, which suggested that hope existed. Maybe someday, I thought, one of my poems will be published. This radical idea had never occurred to me before. Publication seemed to be the privilege of special people, and a lifetime of gathered fact revealed that I was unequivocably nothing special.

Early on in the semester, perhaps even in the first class, the professor asked how many of us thought we’d still be writing poetry in twenty years. I didn’t raise my hand. I didn’t know where I’d be in six months, much less what I’d be doing in twenty years. Since I’d realized late in the game that teaching was not for me, I had no job prospects, and few marketable skills, despite experience in chugging beer, manning sound-powered phones on a ship’s helicopter tower, scraping barnacles and bending rules. The world was limited. The world was limitless.

Another gray day

dividing the old and young

Oh, this aching hip!

A song from that time:

Call for Submissions: Poems for Peace: Anthology

Some of you might be interested in submitting poems to this anthology. I know I am.

poems for peace: an anthology to uplift encourage & inspire

This anthology, poems for peace (forthcoming, fall 2018), is the love-child of a group of poets and listeners who have been gathering quarterly in San Antonio, Texas since Nov. 11, 2017 in association with the San Antonio peaceCENTER.  This anthology will be published as a peaceCENTERbook, with all proceeds going to support the CENTER.

While we are aware that many horrors occur in our world and that, as a people, we seem to be in turmoil and conflict on many fronts, our aim is to provide respite from the apparent problems and to purposefully turn our attention to the good, the Whole, the Holy, that which is full of peace and comfort.

For this inaugural issue of poems for peace, we seek work that is metaphysical, celebratory, fun, funny, lighthearted, playful, thoughtful, warm, tender, beautiful, compassionate, heart-opening, or spiritual without proselytizing, nostalgic without being overly sentimental, empowered without being politically charged and rich with imagery and story but not with graphic insensibility or dealing with overtly, hot topics that may trigger anxiety or anger in the listener (like abuse issues, natural disasters, or tragedy in general).

Rather, we seek work that uplifts, encourages and inspires.  We are especially interested in the metaphysically broad; we look for the profound, real, fearless, gender-inclusive, curious voice.

Guidelines:

Please send 3-5 previously unpublished poems of up to ten pages in length and in any form in a single Word document, making sure that no identifying information appears within the document.  Include a brief, bio (100 words or less) in your cover letter.  Submissions are being hosted by Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press via Submittable only (see link below).

The book will be perfect bound and available online through the  peaceCENTERbook link and other online venues plus locally in bookstores TBA.  Poets included in the anthology may be invited to participate in future poets for peace events.  For more information or to ask questions about poets for peace or submissions, look for us on Face Book, or send us a message here:  fb.me/poetsforpeaceSA

Deadline: August 1, 2018

Click here to submit: https://moonshadowsanctuarypress.submittable.com/submit

Runaway Bus

tickets

Here’s a recording of my poem “Runaway Bus,” which was featured on Postcard Poems and Prose Magazine in January and is included in my chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, available for order now via Amazon.com and Finishing Line Press.

 

Runaway Bus

Wishing for pristine airways
and unfeathered dreams, I lie
on my right side, and wait.

Again, the bellows flex and pump.

The relentless tickle, exploding,
another round of gasps and mucus retained,
one droplet among others,
spread across the night.

Comfort’s runaway bus never slows,
and I watch it pull away, shrinking in time.

Wait, wait, I say. I bought a ticket.

Publication of My Chapbook Has Been Delayed

From Every Moment a Second

Finishing Line Press has pushed back the publication date of my chapbook, From Every Moment a Second. It should be released in mid-November. If you haven’t ordered it but intend to, you may do so here.

Many, many thanks to the members of this blog community for supporting my writing.  I am truly grateful for your wisdom, advice, humor and willingness to help me traverse the strange and wonderful worlds of poetry and publication.

Last Day of Pre-Publication Sales for My Chapbook

From Every Moment a Second

Today is the final day of the pre-publication sales period for my new chapbook, From Every Moment a Second. If you intended to order a copy but haven’t yet (the dog ate your homework, you had to wash your hair, poetry? you’re kidding, right?), time’s running out. Order here.

Many, many thanks to the members of this blog community for supporting my writing.  I am truly grateful for your wisdom, advice, humor and willingness to help me traverse the strange and wonderful worlds of poetry and publication.

ICYMI, the Order Link for My New Chapbook is Still Up

From Every Moment a Second

We’ve entered the final week of the prepublication sales period for my new chapbook, From Every Moment a Second. If you intended to order during this period, but haven’t yet (the dog ate your homework, you had to wash your hair, poetry? you’re kidding, right?), time’s running out. Order here.

Many thanks to the members of this blog community for supporting my writing. I sit alone in my shack to write, but you are there with me, just a keyboard away. I am truly grateful for your wisdom, humor and willingness to help me traverse the strange and wonderful worlds of poetry and publication.