No, No, No

Today was a banner day. I received not one, not two, but three rejections. Rather disheartening, especially for the short story that was only submitted four days ago. Rejection form letters, or as it’s done these days emails, assure us writers that each and every submission is read completely and with care, yet when a nearly 2,700 word story returns so quickly, one cannot help but wonder. And become dejected.

I received two of the rejections while I was still at art school this afternoon, but I kept the news to myself. One rejection was, dare I say it, expected. Each week Rattle publishes a poem based on that week’s news. I sometimes submit but have yet to be published there. Writing on the week’s news is an interesting exercise. The news these days certainly provides much fodder for contemplation and reaction. Yet, writing quickly for a weekly, Friday night deadline is tough. Sometimes, the poem is a bit raw. This week’s poem has promise but was not quite ready–particularly in finding a title. I was not surprised, yet still disappointed.

The second rejection was harder. It was another poem that had originally been written for Rattle’s Poet’s Respond, but this one was a week or so old, and therefore, I have had time to do some revising. I think it is a good poem. But, alas, this site I sent it to, only four days ago has (foolishly, in my opinion) decided it is not for them. This was disheartening for me because I debated with myself at length whether or not to even submit to this market as it is a non-paying market. Usually, I don’t submit to non-paying markets; if I’m not going to be paid for my poetry, I’ll publish it here. Yet, this particular site notes on their “About” page that the editors are volunteers. That swayed my opinion towards giving them a shot.

Then, there was the third rejection, the short story. As I was driving home, my phone chimed that a new message came in, but, of course, I did not look at it. Yet, then once I parked, I called my husband to help me with the packages, and while I waited for him, I succumbed to opening the email. Dismay.

I cannot say that I did not get discouraged. I did. For a fleeting moment, I thought, why do I do it? But that moment passed, and I got back on the horse, as they say. This evening, I did some revising and then sent out three new submissions: the short story, the poem from this week’s Poet’s Respond, and other poems. Back to crossing my fingers and wishing on a star. Send your good thoughts my way, and to my prospective editors!!

And now to a new story…

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A Foolish Act?

Scaramucci, Scaramucci, can you do the fandango?

A lively three-step, him then you then him again,

The castanets tweet out the rhythm.

Will this couples dance take the spice

Out of the daily press briefings?

Only time will tell, but for now

Money talks.

 

I just read the article about Sean Spicer resigning as White House Press Secretary and Anthony Scaramucci, a financier, being named his replacement. (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/sean_spicer_resigns_as_white_house_press_secretary_20170721) The first thought that popped into my head was the first line of this poem. Then, there is that wonderful word fandango which means both a Spanish dance in triple metre, and a foolish or useless act or thing. Unfortunately, both apply to the position these days. I couldn’t resist the rest. Enjoy.

Sleeping with Poetry

I give my students packets of poems

With the publication data: cover pages, copyright, pages with the

Poems themselves;

Poems printed off the Internet too,

With URLs and website info and even where

They were first printed.

And they studiously flip the pages, scouring them

For every tidbit of information they need to create

A Works Cited page–properly formatted and informationally complete.

And when they finish, they put their heads down

On the desks, exhausted, and bored.  Some

Stare off into space; others twiddle their thumbs, waiting

For the packets to be collected. So they can do something else:

Read a book, doodle a drawing, study for the next final exam.

What they do not do,

What they do not even think to do,

Is read the poems.

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Of One Accord

–With Apologies to Walt Whitman, on this,  the anniversary of his birth —

 

Out of the classroom,  endlessly grading, essays, quizzes, tests, projects,

Students querying, teachers conferring, adminstrators requesting,

My world seems harried with

Deadlines, disagreements, discernment, and classroom dissonance, but

I go forth once more into the dusk, the light of the day having passed me by, yet

The twilight is enchanting as I enter the park in search of

Leaves of grass and blooms on the trees to turn this urban jungle

Into nature’s bounty.  And the park is crowded, I am not alone, now

That the sun has been shining and the skies turned blue.

The runners in their teams,  stretching before the race,  gathering in their teal t-shirts,

The casual joggers getting their exercise glance lightly as they saunter by,

The tourists with their cameras capturing Bethesda fountain, the buskers singing

Lennon around the Imagine mosaic adorned with flowers,

The artists, masseuses, and psychics hawking their wares,

The policemen watching it all, hearing the buskers’ songs

And the people talking in English, French, Spanish, German, Hindi, Farsi, Mandarin,

And so many more, melding into one giant song,  a harmony of humanity,

One day, one moment, when the mass of man – and woman – kind

Coexists, lives side by side, enjoying the evening and

The leaves of  grass.

And these days, these moments,  quietly stack themselves

One after another in peaceful concord without

Notice,  until order is broken and dissonance

Reigns, convincing us all that strife and discord are

The Way of the World and the Solution to whatever

Problem arises.  Return, oh friends, to Strawberry Fields,

Hear the songs of peace,  feel the sun on your face,

Lie in the grass, listen to the gurgle of the fountain, hold

Hands with your neighbor and form a bond that

Knows no bounds and admits no disorder.

Pad 30: The Red

The Red.

What I see is red. 

But why do you wear

Red?

For blood perhaps.

But then which blood?

That which you don’t

Want to see,  menstrual?

Which means that you’ve

Failed. 

Or that which you do,  

Childbirth?

Do you really

Want that child though, 

Who is not yours

Though you gave birth to

Her? Him?

And what if she’s a she?

What of this world you’ve

Birthed her into?

Where will she fit?

How will she be used?

And if a he? 

What,  how will he

Grow up to be?

An oppressor? A user? A savior? 

But not an equal.

Not in this world. 
And in our world?

What then?

(PAD 30 prompt: The _____. Fill in the blank, make that your title,  and go.  I wrote this poem in response to seeing an art installation on The Handmaid’s Tale. )

PAD 28

How can a smell be warm?

Or welcoming? or comforting?

Or loving?

But on a rainy Saturday morning,

When you are snuggled up

Under the covers

Stretching awake, yet

Reluctant to get out of bed,

That first cup of coffee

Brought to you in bed

By your sweetheart

Smells like love.

 

(PAD 28 prompt: write a smell poem. Help me title this one!)

PAD 27: A Ramble Through the Park

A cool spring evening–

The trees festooned with buds–

A new season beginning–

New life, new hope, new love–

Off you go, to ramble

Through the park

Amid the green and pink and purple and yellow

The white and red–

The cracks in the pavement

Showing signs of winter’s stress

Are but a small hiccup to the

Peace of the day, of the season–

Don’t let the pests of spring blind you

And cause you to wince

And miss the beauty of the world

Waking up to a new day.

 

PAD prompt for April 27, 2017: use at least three of these six words in your poem:

  • pest
  • crack
  • ramble
  • hiccup
  • wince
  • festoon

 

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PAD 14: Quality Time

The implication is that quality

Transcends quantity.

Why go for a lot

When you can go for the best?

But when, really,

Did quality and quantity

Become enemies?

I want a quantity of

Quality time

With you.

 

(PAD prompt for April 14, 2017: Pick a popular saying, make it the title of your poem, and go.)